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Charles and Ray Eames’s Multiscreen Exhibitions: Cybernetic Visions of Computing, Communication, Complexity, and Control [ A Design Primer For Re-“THINK”-ing The American Century ]

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dc.contributor.advisor Smith, Paul
dc.contributor.author Rada, Cormac
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-01T13:42:30Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-01T13:42:30Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/19389
dc.description.abstract The American Century denotes a period of U.S. political, economic, and cultural dominance in the twentieth century that reached its height in the middle of the century after World War II and before the Vietnam War. Midcentury America is an artifact in our contemporary time, popularly invoked by politicians and ubiquitous in the vocabularies of contemporary aesthetics. Focusing on the midcentury designers, Charles and Ray Eames, this thesis examines the role of design in articulating, navigating, and reacting the emergence of the Information Age, the Cold War, and the Postmodern condition. Beyond providing the material objects that constituted the midcentury world, Ray and Charles Eames abstracted the problems plaguing twentieth-century America and designed its solutions. The computing and systems revolution that occurred as a result of the war, led to an influx of data, a feeling of complexity, increased specialization, and the development of tools to manage this fracturing. Viewing design as one of those tool, Ray and Charles Eames developed their Multiscreen exhibitions as a new tool for seeing, training viewers to make decisions using methods of designs for abstracting, structuring, and solving increasingly complex problems. The designers’ tools of vision and communication led to a redefinition of the role design historically played. The Eameses multiscreen technology and their three exhibitions – A Sample Lesson (1953), Glimpses of the U.S.A (1959), and Think (1964)- serve as a locus to piece together intersecting histories, exposing the contending ambitions, techniques of vision, and technologies of control and freedom. The development of the multiscreen tool for pedagogy, manipulated as a tool of persuasion employed for cultural diplomacy, and co-opted by an emerging technocracy, mirrors the expansion and recasting of the designer. In providing a structural, systems-based, intellectual and design history, this thesis hopes to recuperate the evolutionary and historical processes of regulation, reactivity, and interactivity. These processes in turn help form the current market, driven by attention as currency and design as interactive, evidenced by the ubiquity of screens and saturated media landscapes as well as current cultural, technological, and economic obsessions with data. Within this narrative, design interrogates practices of objectivity, knowledge/power, identity, and history-making, fundamental to philosophies of technology, history, and human experience.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of History
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.title Charles and Ray Eames’s Multiscreen Exhibitions: Cybernetic Visions of Computing, Communication, Complexity, and Control [ A Design Primer For Re-“THINK”-ing The American Century ]
dc.type Thesis en
dc.rights.access Open Access


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