Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Student Thinkers

In reading Burgin’s essay on “Jenni’s Room” I questioned the status of critical thinking on new media objects. Professor Chun mentioned in her lecture on Monday that Brown students are being trained to think critically. Burgin makes this explicitly clear in his essay when he makes the distinction (footnote 8) that he is analyzing the character Jenni broadcasted online and not Jenny the girl behind the camera. By positing himself as a critical thinker, our reading of Burgin trains us in this critical method. Yet Jenni is a human, two people are living for a year in cubicles in “1 Year Performance Video,” and I am wondering where humanity plays in our critical thinking. Burgin leaves Jenni as merely a signifier for us thinkers. Virilio mentions the ethics involved in looking about media, but his discussion focuses on military and political realities. Thinking about the youtube video shown in class on Monday, my question is how our work as critical thinkers in school is controlled? How we change as members of society by being critical thinkers? Is resistance to academia freeing or are we unable to break out of this commodified, technological, academic system.

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