lubar – 01 Reading

"0. The Critical Engineer considers Engineering to be the most transformative language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think. It is the work of the Critical Engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence."

The way that we interact and communicate with our surroundings and the things we create, are built from how we understand the world around us. That understanding comes from a place of exploration and questioning, and those explorations and questions in turn transform and develop our understandings.  The role of the "critical engineer" is to explore those questions, why we have those questions, and through this process present the findings that further transform out language of understanding.

The circular system of finding and questioning pertains to the development/'engineering' of the technological systems that we have, creating new possibilities and abilities to function within, which in turn pose new questions from the technologies and developments that were previously not-imagined. Its this process that continues to push advancements both in the 'tech' classical engineering field and in creative practices.

vingu – reading

0. The Critical Engineer considers Engineering to be the most transformative language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think. It is the work of the Critical Engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence.

In my interpretation of this tenant, it explains that Engineering is evolving and a huge influence and part of human nature (or the Critical Engineer). I found it interesting because it compares Engineering to a "language" which is a form of communication and expression (it is a human quality term). This tenant claims that Engineering is the most transformative language, pretty much stating that the human nature/curiosity to explore and create new things is very strong. It highlights the interaction between the human, and the tool/creation the human is using (like cars, or even shows to walk in). It also brings up the increasing public knowledge of new technology (like how Leone Battista Alberti challenged the past views of art which prompted the pre-renaissance which allowed the public to be more involved and knowledgeable in art). I think that this tenant shows how humans are technology are closely woven together, and as humans progress, so does Engineering (there is always a human quality).



3. The Critical Engineer deconstructs and incites suspicion of rich user experiences.

The third tenant informs how Critical Engineers often raise doubts and question the level of validity and credibility when user experiences become too rich, too seamless, and too, for lack of better words, "perfect" -- said in an eerily utopian way.  I found this to be particularly interesting because, as a society, we want our products to work in absolute harmony with us; the more integrated, attuned, smart and intuitive our devices and systems are with us, the more we expect such flawless services, and the more we rely and are satisfied with them. In many cases, a flawless user experience is the "norm" to be expected, and it is only when such a service is failed to provide that we take note of the bad design actually being presented.

Many forms of services, products, and systems that we engage with and encounter today are more often than not, heavily entwined with thought out user experience -- from niched and developed VR experiences, to engaging with everyday platforms such as social media. Whereas there is still a somewhat clear distinction in how a digital VR world differs from the actual world experience, this line can easily blur and become confused with the real world -- akin to how we engage with social media platforms today. There is an upwards trend in becoming a content creator, and as more and more users engage with such role and influence, it becomes more difficult to distinguish what stories, informations, and experiences are true to nature, and what others are merely fabrications and/or replicas.


  1. "The Critical Engineer expands "machine" to describe interrelationships encompassing devices, bodies, agents, forces and networks."

Tenet six, essentially claims that a "Critical Engineer" expands the notion of a "machine" beyond its particular physical manifestation and function (and certainly beyond the abstracted sense of "a machine") and understands and seeks to highlight that its existence requires and is inscribed by several other material and social factors. For example, when personal computers were first being disseminated into the wider public, engineers had to find a way to make them accessible to an unfamiliar, unspecialized public. How, for instance, could they get amateur or professional writers (accustomed to pen, paper, typewriter and desk) to convert to a digital writing platform? Some early word-processors and desktop interfaces chose to adopt the features of their analog predecessors (i.e. Microsoft Bob). Basically, these engineers had to understand that these "machines" had to be translated to accommodate (and slowly adjust) existing social, cultural, and material norms-they certainly did not exist in some vacuum.