The Biopolitics of Interface Design

Gabi Schaffzin // This week I read two pieces which had me thinking about the ways that our bodies are controlled via an often overlooked field in the health humanities: interface design. The first, Mark Paterson’s 2018 essay, “The Biopolitics of Sensation, Techniques of Quantification, and the Production of a ‘New’ Sensorium,” was sent to…

(Un)fashionable Illness

Lesley Thulin // When VICE Magazine published a fashion spread that depicted reenactments of famous women writers’ suicides in its 2013 Women in Fiction issue, it was met with outrage. Some critics described “Last Words” as “almost breathtakingly tasteless,” while others chalked it up to “slouching indifference and sloppiness.” VICE’s own last words on the…

Open Heart

By Bennett Kuhn // Open Heart (2019) is an original essay-album composed at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and on Long Island during May 2019. It is available to stream below via Soundcloud pending its digital release on Astro Nautico in July. Bennett Kuhn – Open Heart (2019) 01 Awash In (0:37)02 A…

Byron’s Pharmacopoeia

Lesley Thulin // In his 17-canto opus Don Juan (1819-24), Lord Byron adapts the epic form to modernity. The Horatian epigraph, “Difficile est proprie communia dicere,” announces that he will speak of common things, presaging the poem’s engagement with the ordinary. Byron takes up family conflict, courtship, and ritualized reading, for instance, and rejects the…

The Empathy Chamber

Bennett Kuhn // Around us were dusty stacks of forgotten hardcover books and crowd members circulating in the now-defunct Beaumont Warehouse venue in West Philly. The three-night immersive multimedia art project called Going There was in full swing, and a short queue led up to the table where I sat with two synthesizers welcoming strangers…

Pen to Paper

Gabi Schaffzin // Elsewhere, I’ve written about Henry Dreyfuss’s The Measure of Man and the Humanscale Manual, which came along soon after. Briefly, The Measure of Man is a guide for industrial designers, complete with scores of anthropometric data points. It features hundreds, if not thousands, of meticulously calculated measurements of various human bodies. To the industrial designer, engineer,…

After diagnosis: releasing cdr_ (2013-2019)

Bennett Kuhn  //  Artist Alfred Darlington (p.k.a. Daedelus) recently tweeted What’s that thing you are still working on, that could already be considered done, but you haven’t quit on trying to perfect it, even though there is no standard to compare it against; remaining undone and no end in sight? I encountered Alfred’s words at…