4.332/4.333 Advanced Seminar in Networked Cultures and Participatory Media: Tactical Design for Cooperative Agency and Disruption

Nitin Sawhney

TA Ian Wojtowicz

Technical Instructors:
Audio/Video: Chris Clepper, email hidden; JavaScript is required
Design/Prototyping: Martin J. Seymour, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Course Blog: http://tacticaldesign.mit.edu


This seminar and studio course examines the ways in which art, design and technology can be leveraged to develop creative and tactical responses to critical ecological and socio-political issues in the public sphere. We will study the role of artistic interventions and tactical tools to support civic agency and participatory action as well as transform, disrupt or subvert changing urban, political and social conditions in critical ways.

In the seminar we will survey work by artists-practitioners, researchers and activists through a mix of historical case studies and contemporary practices.  In particular, we will examine the rich tradition of “hacking” at MIT and its role within the culture of the institute as it commemorates its 150th anniversary. We also consider illustrative examples of tactical design from guerilla gardening to media interventions in urban space and emergent social media, which seek to engage public dialogue and civic action around ecological and socio-political change through art, design and technology.

In the Tactical Design Lab and studio component of the course students will learn to use a mix of rapid prototyping, programming and digital media tools to conduct exploratory design and develop creative interventions for collaborative projects. The projects undertaken will critically examine principles of tactical design, artistic intervention and ethical responsibility within the context of the social, cultural, institutional and public sphere they seek to disrupt or engage.



  • Units: 3-3-3
    Lab Fee: 110
  • Notes: 4.333 subject level g / 4.332 subject level u: hass-art
  • Schedule: Seminar T 7-10p with recitation M 7-9p, E15-070
    Location: e15-207
    Location: tactical design lab e251g and iel lab

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