Notes for "A Historical Primer of Political Artifacts" by Joshua Kaufman 2: When Andrew asked me about a presentation topic, I was reading some of my old university literature and came across this book by Langdon Winner, in which he explores that political, social and philosophical implications of technology. It’s a great read! Chapter 2 is titled “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” I thought it would make for good discussion at conference like this. I also liked the idea of presenting something that I wasn’t completely comfortable with - something that I didn’t normally think or write about that much - to move myself out of my comfort area a bit. 3: This is a small subset of the things that Matt Ward just spoke about. It’s short and sweet. All of these examples are NOT directly related to interaction design But they’re very good at giving you something to think about 4: Winner argues that artifacts can have political properties in two ways: - We design stuff and sometimes that stuff has significant impact on the community. Designing the way you interact with a photo on the web isn’t political, but designing an online service that allows citizens to interact with their government representatives is political. - These are things like atom bombs; they’re political no matter what. 6: Robert Moses was a civil engineer in NYC. The low overpasses are almost invisible yet there for a reason Designed to discourage the presence of buses on the parkways Moses had social class bias and racial prejudice and wanted allow automobile owning whites to drive on the parkways How did he accomplish this through the design of this artifact? By making them low, which prohibited the twelve foot buses from using them This - like many public works - will continue to shape the city for generations 7: Designed by Barron Haussmann at the direction of Louis Napoleon to prevent street fighting that took place during the revolution of 1848. 8: Constructed during the late 1960s and early 1970s to defuse student demonstrations. 10: Before the Industrial Revolution, most iron molding was done by skill laborers. During the Industrial Revolution, McCorrmick was battling the National Union of Iron Molders and saw the machines as an opportunity to “weed out the bad element among men.” The machines, manned by unskilled laborers actually produced inferior moldings at a higher cost. They were abanded three years after their introduction, but by that time they had served their purpose - the destruction of the union. 12: Robert Moses’s bridges were used to carry automobiles; Cyrus McCorrmick’s machines were used to make moldings. But they both encompassed purposes far beyond their immediate use. 14: The organized movement of many handicapped people in the 1970s pointed out how machines, instruments and artifacts of common use made it impossible for handicapped persons to move freely about. 15: Another design that Winner gives which embodies political artifacts... Developed in the 1940s at the University of California To accommodate the rough movement of the harvesters, tomatoes were made harder and sturdier - and consequently less tasty It reduced costs $5 - 7 per ton, but resulted in the loss of 32,000 jobs 16: One of the main consequences of political artifacts is that they change the distribution of power within a community. Reasons for and against a design choice can be as important as those for the adaption of a new law. The second point leads to the the real issue with the tomato harvester. The machine didn’t actually harvest tomatoes much faster than workers. However, the addition of an electronic sorter dramatically increased the speed at which tomatoes were harvested and sorted. The addition of an electronic sorters had huge affects on the balance of power. 17: In conclusion, artifacts are ways of building order within a community. WE have the ability to CHOOSE which designs we use is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.