The Machine is Us/ing Us – Dance Mix

Almost 9 months ago, the College of Wooster president, Grant Cornwell, forwarded my video to a remarkable collection of people who were daring and creative enough to think they could dance it … not just dance to it … but truly dance it.  And they do.  What a great performance.  The choreography by Kim Tritt is mesmerizing and surprising (see 2:31!).  The music by Sebastian Birch and Ed Caner of Kent State University is nicely melodic and reflective while maintaining the sense of a driving technological edge that is enticing and seductive (the machine is us, yeah!) yet menacing and sometimes threatening (the machine is using us, yikes!).  And it is danced beautifully.  Special thanks to Dale Seeds for helping to put all these remarkable people together for this production.


Associate professor of cultural anthropology. Ed Traceur. Hacker. Car-free.

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24 Responses

  1. adam says:


  2. Rob Caffey says:

    very nice! when I saw your tweet on this I was skeptical . . . but this is very well done.

  3. Charlotte Jones says:

    And the costumes are google colors. Outstanding all around!

  4. Catherine Bradley says:

    Collaborative opportunities are vibrant and dynamic as this proves. I’m getting excited at the notion of costume, performance and digital media students working together like this :)
    So far we’ve looked into collaborations between costume and performance or digital media character designers and costume makers working on joint projects, so this has been a great inspiration. Thanks.

  5. Carrie Brown says:

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this! To combine the arts with technology was truly an amazing watch!!

  6. Sherry Wynn says:

    Why on earth am i sitting here crying?

    This is brilliant…

  7. Jim Nielsen says:

    I simply do not understand interpretive dance but I have faith that others do. I find the dance distracting but it is really fantastic that folks would collaborate in this way.

  8. Peter Leffek says:

    Found this by coincindence following different links after watching a presentation by Michael Wesch. Absolutely fab!

  9. Catherine says:

    I cried too.

  10. Whit Henson says:

    Well done!Very creative way to educate and inform!I didn’t know all those things, now i do because your presentation made me want to watch your video!Thanks!

  11. Hi,
    keep up the good work. Your article is really great and I truly enjoyed reading it.

  12. Dissertation says:

    Really nice post! Thanks for sharing such an informative article. Keep up the good work.

  13. Cecília Tomás says:

    Dear Michael Wesch,

    I’m posting a comment to your interesting video that was written in a group work by the students that are attending the Masters in Elearning Pedagogy of Open University in Portugal (

    I’d like to inform you that if you decide to answer us, it will be posted in the discussion forum of our virtual class.

    Best regards,
    Cecília Tomás

    Here’s our comment:

    One idea that is developed here is related to the information created in the network (“networked information environment”) as an innovative method of knowledge construction. In Wesch’s view, the new technologies and the various online services are allowing people to join this knowledge to build quality that can rival the content prepared by experts who are recognized scientific authority. The world in discussing all this information and participates in a network. It’s a good example to show how education needs to have a social function.
    This video shows us what we virtually produce and how that behaviour is changing us to ‘cibercultores’: as someone who is teaching and learning with and through the machine. In another video posted in this website, there is an interesting image: people that is outside of the machine, and dance at their own pace without realizing what is happening. Suddenly, they are on the screen and become part of that other world that ultimately is confused with the real world. These people enter and leave the machine (the screen) as long and when they want. It’s very interesting that after all we are products and producers of cyberculture.
    Wesch wishes that these new technologies have their own place in traditional classrooms. Surely, he isn’t talking about students sharing photos or sending messages through Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. This idea has to disappear from the minds of teachers who see only these aspects and not other features of the Web2.0 educational tools and services. Recalling the Postman’s theory (“Media ecology”), we understand that “the media are not just tools “, “media are not just means of communication” because “media mediates our conversations” and, therefore, the new thoughts mediated by these technologies are changing our culture. It is essential that education is connected to this borning culture.

    The possibilities are attractives: students are living in the middle of emails, Twitter, Facebook, MSN, laptops, mobile phones. Finally, a multitude of artifacts that, if properly used and incorporated, can mean greatly educational practices. But the meaning of education is not at risk if we give primacy to technology, beyond the role of educator and the learner.

    This actually sounds a warning to educational institutions in all world, the changes that must give way in practice, on the harmonious coexistence with the new technologies and forms of communication. So a bridge is built between the new subjects that “are alltogether the network” and the new forms of non-linear presentation of content, knowledge and learning. These new paradigms are tempting the changement of established education without losing the quality of meaning.

  14. Marina, Paula and Telma says:

    Dear Professor Michael Wesch,

    Last but not least here’s another comment from the group of the Online Master Course on E-Learning Pedagogy at Universidade Aberta in Portugal.

    In your Youtube presentation on “The Machine is (changing) us: Youtube Culture and the Politics of Authenticity” a very interesting, and joyful perspective is depicted, based on Neil Postman, on the way the media affects our perception and the individual values as well and the way they interact and reflect in our personal evolution. With this presentation, what the author intends is, through internet, to show an alternative to what Postman portrays – and indifferent and incoherent audience.

    Nowadays, as it is presented and pointed out, there is a tendency for our generation to be fragmented and absent and you base this assumption in a study on how users use Youtube, how they see themselves and how they are seen. In this study, the teacher and the students are simultaneously subjects of interaction and attentive watchers. Bearing in mind the use of the media and the net regarding the way we interact and search for the authentic self you mention the “context collapse” and its implications…that is the ability to, thanks to a web, connect anywhere trying to draw a bridge on a sort of self recognition and self-conscious. Nevertheless, if on one side we have “a self-presentation”, on the other the anonymous prevails, although there is room for connection without constraints, which may well bring us to a future with a more active social and political participation.

    Thank you very much for making your work available for us,

    Marina, Paula and Telma.

  15. Marina, Paula and Telma says:

    Dear Professor Michael Wesch,

    You will find this comment repeated for it was misplaced and put in “The Machine is Us/ing us” and it should have been posted at “The Machine is (Changing us): Youtube Culture and the Politics of Authenticity.” (I have just finished publishing it correctly.)

    Sorry for the incovenience.

    Marina, Paula and Telma.

  16. Hi, Prof. Wesch

    We are five students of a master degree in E-Learning Pedagogy, in Universidade Aberta, Portugal.

    We analyzed some of your videos and we focused on the following questions: the social function of education in the network society , the recovery of the community dimension of education and its relationship with the notion of self-training.

    This video explores the potential of text as a privileged form of communication between people.

    We found two important ideas in this video: digital text is important because it is more flexible and, when used as hypertext, becomes more powerful because it is non-linear and mimics the way we store information, and the introduction of XML which allows us to concentrate on content.

    In Distance Education we can use new ways to communicate based on IT to create and share information and interact with content and others. So we can realize that by doing this we are making a substantial contribution for learning to recover its old community dimension because through the web students are now participating actively in the global construction of knowledge and in the construction of their own paths.

    Fernando, Margarida, Helena, Denyze and Joaquim

  17. Maria Spilker says:

    Within the discipline “Education and the Network Society” of Masters in “e-Learning Pedagogy” at the Universidade Aberta, Lisbon/Portugal ( this video was object of analyse and our group should publish a comment. So here it is.

    This video by Michael Wesch was created 2007 and has not lost its actuality. The video emphasizes the linearity of written text and flexibility of the digital text. Links allow us to establish connections between different parts of the text, different pages, different sites hosted in different servers. Initially HTML defined the content and the form of web-pages. But content and format can be separated, for example, using XML, making the whole precess even more flexible. It is no longer necessary to dominate a Markup Language, it is only necessary to produce the own content (text, images, videos).

    Web 2.0 tools allow much more than the connection between information, they are a way of connecting people, support sharing and collaboration. That also raises new questions, for example, about copyright, authorship and even more important, ethics, privacy and (digital) identity.

    What all this have to do with “Education in the Network Society”? Pupils, students, learners have a huge amount of information at their disposal. It can be asked, who is organizing the information that is on the network? The answer is given in this video with the example of using tools such as the social bookmarking tool “Delicious” where one can create private and shared bookmarks and so classify information, a sort of human filter. The network is organized by each one of us.

    The learner himself can (should?) produce and publish new information, add knowledge. To increase the own knowledge it is essential to build networks, to know how to research on a topic efficiently, to learn to share the own reflections in order to build new knowledge.

    Best regards from Lisbon
    Juliana, Maria, Alberto

    PS.: We really enjoyed this version “Dance mix”, very creative and with some really good ideas that emphasize the video’s message.

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  20. betta care says:

    wow, very very original, definately created an emotinal response..

  21. Shobi says:

    Another great article. I like that you are very honest and direct to the point.

  22. Stargames says:

    The machine just USED me lol

  23. Kalisha Coleman says:

    I am currently in a grade 11 french immersion course where we are frequently talking about Dr.Weschs ideas.

    I found that this video had a very good portrayal of Weschs idea that the machine is us. I now find that i notice the differences between someones virtual identity and who they are in reality. I found that the dance relating to this idea made the idea much more understandable.


  24. Good info shared..keep it up :)