Sampling the Research Process

Below is a sample introduction that I initially drafted in response to our rhetorical analysis paper. For this activity, I’ll ask that we each collaborate to pool our resources and think about how we might build this analysis into a full-fledged researched argument. What sorts of sources might we hypothetically use in the process and why? How specifically might we go about conducting such research? Which perspectives might we draw to do so?

Halfway down the page, I’ve broken this writing sample into individual sentences and highlighted bits and pieces that should be fertile sites of research moving forward. With the use of Hypothesis, I invite you to share or cite a primary or secondary source that follows one line of inquiry from below, while also writing a quick blurb in which you justify your rationale for choosing the source that you did. (If you enable Hypothesis and navigate to our class group, then you’ll see that I’ve modeled this task at the bottom of the page.) Good luck, all!

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‘A Bridge of Sight’: Braces, Banalities, & Machines of Loving Grace

Satirizing happy-go-lucky views on technology in his famed poem, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” Richard Brautigan famously maps computer jargon onto Edenic imagery in an effort to frame the emergent techies of 1967 as naïve in their utopic visions of the future (15). It is through his ironic tone that Brautigan critiques technological discourse whose lofty rhetoric acts only to obscure deeper, more despotic potentials. For instance, the double entendre of the title “All Watched Over” means for computers to protect us “all” from harm, yet likewise calls for computers to surveil us “all,” embedded in our “cybernetic ecology” of all-powerful, all-seeing technology (Brautigan 19). Over half a century later, Brautigan’s critique rings with exigence in its intent to make visible the unseen tracings of technology today — the crux of which Mattieu Gafou adapts to his H+ photos series for MAPS Images. Opting for flash photography even “in reporting conditions,” Gafou quite literally shines a light on our relationship to technology, not only exposing but also enacting the “latent violence involved in the technological transformations under way.” Gafou also juxtaposes familiar and novel inventions, ranging from braces and iPhones to VR headsets and magnetic implants, which invites the viewer to see these middle gadgets with fresh eyes. In turn, he both accepts and expands on the imperative of Brautigan, reframing our normalized relationship to technology with little more than a flash through the looking glass of yesterday’s creations.

Works Cited

Brautigan, Richard. “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.” All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, 1967, Communication Company.

Gafou, Matthieu. “H+.” MAPS Images, 2018, www.mapsimages.com/works/h/.

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Lines of inquiry (in context)

Satirizing happy-go-lucky views on technology in his famed poem, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” Richard Brautigan famously maps computer jargon onto Edenic imagery in an effort to frame the emergent techies of 1967 as naïve in their utopic visions of the future (15).

It is through his ironic tone that Brautigan critiques technological discourse whose lofty rhetoric acts only to obscure deeper, more despotic potentials.

For instance, the double entendre of the title “All Watched Over” means for computers to protect us “all” from harm, yet also calls for computers to surveil us “all,” embedded in our “cybernetic ecology” of all-powerful, all-seeing technology (Brautigan 19).

Over half a century later, Brautigan’s critique rings with exigence in its intent to make visible the unseen tracings of technology today — the crux of which Mattieu Gafou adapts to his H+ photos series for MAPS Images.

Using only flash photography, Gafou quite literally shines a light on our relationship to technology, not only exposing but also enacting the “latent violence involved in the technological transformations under way.”

Gafou also juxtaposes familiar and novel inventions, ranging from braces and iPhones to VR headsets and magnetic implants, which invites the viewer to see these middling gadgets with fresh eyes.

In turn, he both accepts and expands on the imperative of Brautigan, reframing our normalized relationship of technology with little more than a flash through the looking glass of yesterday’s creations.

Lines of inquiry (out of context)

  • “Richard Brautigan”
  • “Edenic imagery”
  • “emergent techies of 1967”
  • “utopic visions of the future”
  • “technological discourse”
    1. “lofty rhetoric” → “utopic visions of the future”
  • “for computers to protect us”
  • “for computers to surveil us”
  • “cybernetic ecology”
  • “to make visible the unseen tracings of technology today”
  • “MAPS Images”
  • “flash photography”
  • “to see these middling gadgets with fresh eyes”