Defiant Devices was originally executed under the guidance of Anne Burdick for the New Modes of Reading & Writing class in Spring 2011.
An obsessive inventor has dedicated his life to defying a self-sustaining censorship machine. Every night, when they’re not looking he enters the machine, seeks it’s flaws, and invents a defiant device. Every night when he’s not looking, the machine responds, generating a new apendage, a software update. One day the inventor will beat the machine, but until then he keeps trying, every night.
“Defiant Devices” is an exploration in the history of severe constraint, but more specifically the creative defiance in response to that constraint. Censorship, and other means of limitation has historically (past and present) resulted in the formation of new language such as the hobo code, the songs of the underground railroad, and even 1337 (leetspeak).
Reflecting on this project from the lens of my current research trajectory, I have found an abundance of connections. I am interested in this project not only as a means of understanding severe constraint as a method of creative expression, but also as a space for entrepreneurial endeavor.
From this intensive project last Spring, I came out with a lot of really cool illustrations, but also a new process. This process starts with a set of rules (the machine), and results in an invention (defiant device) that breaks the initial restrictions. I am interested in how this project can shift focus to a more participatory model, welcoming more authors, and more levels for interpretation. On that note, I am currently prototyping, adapting, and (re)developing the project further into that realm, perhaps into the format of a workbook. More to come…