A Monumental Day
Today I begin teaching at Parsons. I'm teaching an MFA thesis class in their Communication Design & Technology department. I usually post my syllabus here on the first day of every class I teach, but this semester I'm waiting to meet the students and hear about their projects before finalizing the reading list. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I feel compelled to say something about the fact that today is the 5th anniversary of 9/11--mostly because I can't believe we're still in this stupid sham of a war. Somehow, I've always associated Parsons with 9/11. A couple days after the attack, I had a residency at the Banff Centre and I met Scott Paterson at a New Media Institute seminar on 'Emotional Architecture.' We all put everything on hold to talk about 9/11 and Scott said that he was teaching a class at Parsons that morning. He said that someone dragged a tv into the room and even though they could see the towers very clearly from the classroom windows, they could not remove their eyes from the tv. I've probably thought about this anecdote every day for the last five years. I feel like many of us take comfort in representations--even horrific ones, because there is the possibility that they aren't real. It's sort of the opposite (yet semiotic equal) of Freud's 'wish fulfillment.' But I also feel like the Hollywoodizing of terrorism and even the YouTube aggrandizing of the war in Iraq are keeping us in an imaginary make believe state about the disgusting things happening in our own country and as a result of our country's policies. So while I'm excited about teaching at Parsons, on a day like today, I must admit that I feel weird taking on a new position of authority when all I can think about is our public responsibility to question authority.