Rachel Plotnick is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington. Her work mainly focuses on human-machine relations. Specifically, she studies the various technologies that form the interfaces between people and machines. Plotnick is interested in how these switches, toggles and surfaces came about, how our culture and society have influenced them, and how they, in turn, have influenced us.
She received her PhD from the Media, Technology and Society program in the School of Communication at Northwestern University. And before she came to Indiana University, she taught at UNC Charlotte.
Her research has been featured in Technology and Culture, New Media and Society, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), Media, Culture and Society, and others.
Rachel Plotnick recently completed her first book, Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic and the Politics of Pushing. And, as the title suggests, it’s all about buttons. From buttons that call servants or elevators, to buttons that turn on lights, detonate explosives or start World’s Fairs, Plotnick’s book explores how the act of button pushing has become a kind of digital command, and how buttons have changed the world.
Rachel Plotnick joined host Aaron Cain for a conversation in the WFIU Studios.