This week we’ll look forward to your final project — a “critical manual” for a tool of your choice — by examining some exemplary and unorthodox manuals. What are the conventional components of a manual? What might you want readers/users to know about your tool that isn’t typically included in a user manual? How can we productively play with the standard manual format?
Guest [Skype: 4:30 to 5:30-ish?]: Megan Prelinger, of the Prelinger Library and Archives, which contains 19th and 20th century historical ephemera, periodicals, maps, and books, including many manuals and guides.
Yes, it’s a long list — but fear not: most of it is fun and skimmable!
- Aaron Jaffe, excerpt from “Instruction Manual,” in The Way Things Go: An Essay on the Matter of Second Modernism (University of Minnesota Press, 2014): 1-8 [you’re reading only ¼ of the chapter!].
Please visit the following three digital collections, and choose one example to study closely:
Now review each of these, please:
- Skim through the Tactical Technology Collective’s “Zen and the Art of Making Tech Work for You” (2015).
- Temporary Services and Angelo, Prisoners’ Inventions (n.d.).
- IKEA, “Book Book” (2014) <video: 2:28>.
- Kenji Kawakami, Chindōgu.
- And check out additional examples on our “Manuals + Guides” Arena Channel!