Currently teaching a course on media and everyday life. Right now we’re early on in the course and covering basic ideas about the everyday. Students seem to be enjoying it. But reading and teaching about such things always gets me reflecting on everyday practices, naturally enough.
We read Mauss’s “Techniques of the Body” which got me reflecting on when and where people walk around clasping their hands behind their backs (it’s either very formal, like in school or a form of attention, or quite informal—a stroll, though the latter seems to be a generational thing; do people do this anymore?).
The other somewhat random thought came up when the A/C system kicked on a bit earlier today. The thermostat is programmed by time of day and day of the week, so you can set it to your habits, or the habits of the household. When we first moved into this house years ago, it was set to someone else’s everyday. There was the preferred temperature (and preferred nighttime temp, daytime temp, etc.). But also the timer gives a clue to the schedule of the house: when it first kicks on (people are waking up), kicks back off (people have gone to school or work; or perhaps it doesn’t kick back off if they stay at home), back on in the afternoon (when expected home from school or work), and back off in the evening (when we go to bed); with different patterns for the weekend (does it shut off Sunday morning when you’re not expected to be at home?). Until I figured out how to change the programming, we were living in a house set for another family, continually overriding their everyday. It’s about the ways the everyday accretes in technologies and spaces.
A place for antiheroic technology
3 days ago