Overview, policies, requirements, and course structure. Enrollment logistics and questionnaire.
Why science/speculative fiction? Why “Future Lives”?

09.11 // Introductory screenings & discussion


Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
~ Aldous Huxley


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818) – recommended // novel
e Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) by Georges Méliès (1902) // film
Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1929) // film
The Heat Death of the Universe by Pamela Zoline (1967) // short story
The Star by Arthur C. Clarke (1955) // short story

equipment, production management, & granoff policies

{Exercise 1} Briefly describe 5 different futures in which life as we know it is drastically altered. A paragraph for each future is fine. Feel free to explore both possible and impossible futures. Utopias, dystopias, parallel, absurd, scientifically precise, irrational, mystical, critical, subtle, epic, etc.

09.18 {SCREENING} Alphaville by Godard

The Politics of Pre-political Godard by Ryan Babula (optional)
Alphaville and the Age of Resistance by Prabarna Ganguly


Nine Lives by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969) – Short Story – link / Wesleyan Anthology
Aye, and Gomorrah… by Samuel Delany (1967) – Short Story – pdf / Wesleyan Anthology
When It Changed by Joanna Russ (1972) – Short Story
Jodorowsky’s Dune by Frank Pavich (2013) – Film (optional)

{Exercise 2Translate one of your future scenarios into another (non linguistic or differently linguistic) medium. ‘Faking’ is acceptable, probably even necessary. The goal is to explore the speculative possibilities of a medium you are comfortable working within.


Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation. ~ William Gibson, Neuromancer

09.25 // Exercise 2 Discussion / Intro to MMORGs


Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984) or Red Spider White Web (1999) by Misha – novels
Pretty Boy Crossover by Pat Cadigan (1986) – short story

{Exercise 3Research and join a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that you will play with/in for the next 3+ weeks.  Choose from the list of games (see link), or propose a game/virtual community/networked social situation not on the list. Be ready to discuss the reasons for choosing your game and any tactics or methods you are planning to employ.

10.02 {SCREENING} 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clark (1948)

10.06 // LIFE IN A CAVE

Tour of the CAVE (Computer Assisted Virtual Environment) with John Cayley.

Discuss 2001: A Space Odyssey

10.09 // Oculus Workshop

10.13 // NO CLASS

10.16 // Attend Chris Novello talk at the Design Office


It’s the real world—only better ~ Qualcomm

Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert. ~ Haraway

10.20 // CYBORGS

{Exercise 4} Create documentation of/about/around your virtual life in a time-based medium—no more than 5 minutes long. The content, style, and complexity is entirely up to you. Film, machinima, audio, comic, play, reading, game are all acceptable outputs.

The Allegory of the Cave by Plato (recommended)
Body Ritual Among the Nacirema (recommended)
Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany – novel

10.23  Conversation with Chris Novello


final project proposals due

The Story of Your Life (2000) by Ted Chiang
Watch Pumzi (2010) by Wanuri Kahiu

10.30 {SCREENING} Music/videos by Sun Ra, P-Funk, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Janelle Monáe


Understand” and “The Evolution of Human Science” by Ted Chiang
The images and mythologies of Rammellzee, Moebius, Wangechi Mutu


I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that. ~ HAL

The Sublimely Affective “Effect”: The alien spaceship not as wonderfully functional, but as functionally wonderful—a merry-go-round of light, color, and music. ~ Vivian Sobchack

11.06 {work session}

11.10 // CYBORGS

Visit and Conversation with BrainGate researchers

Bladerunner (1982) – film
Cyborgs at Large” an interview with Donna Haraway (recommended)

11.13 {Project Due}

Using the Granoff Center as your site, make a piece that reimagines, confronts, plays with, amplifies, accelerates, or reframes a current mythology. Let’s broadly define mythology as “a way in which customs, histories, or natures are explained”. If stuck, think about the way Delany rewrites myths (define myth as “mythology in story/narrative form”) to point to strange, arbitrary, and repetitive (innate?) aspects of human culture. As always, your intervention does not need to be literal or direct (it can be!) but think about the those systems, protocols, engagements that we take for granted, and see if you can twist them a bit.

11.17 // Collective Intelligence

Guest : Ed Osborn

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov – short story
“I, Borg” Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992) – tv episode
The Lifecycle of Software Objects (2010) by Ted Chiang – novella


Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they—and all of us—have to be able to think about a world that works differently. ~ Delany

11.20 {SCREENING} The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky or Alien (1979) by Ridley Scott

11.24 // CONVERSATION: Hunter Hargraves on “Communality and Queer Futurisms”

You will find the readings and contexts here
Selected Stories
 by Octavia Butler
The Faggots & their Friends between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell & Ned Asta

11.27 // NO CLASSES