Syllabus for Media in Cars

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Syllabus for Media in Cars

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Media are becoming less like TV sets and more like intelligent environments. This is less sci-fi than it sounds. In fact, there is one nearly century-old example of this sort of transformation of media-in-the-built-environment, the automobile. Radios were installed in cars during the 1920s. But it was the post-war period when a long line of more advanced and better-integrated media came to be an essential part of cars – and the experience of automotive travel. Today, this seems perfectly normal. But it was not at all inevitable. Today’s cars go a step further, being highly digitalized environments whose most extreme version will be the self-driving or autonomous automobile. This advanced seminar will explore the history of media in cars, partly as a means of envisioning a future sometimes called the internet of things, a world of embedded and interconnected media.
Our inquiry will revolve around three sets of general questions:
(1) how did the growing presence of media in cars alter the social experience of automobility,
(2) what were the car interior design considerations (aesthetic and ergonomic) necessary to accommodate evermore integrated media and
(3) what does the history of media in cars reveal about potential future interface-relationship behavior in a material world of dispersed and embedded media?

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