The Myth of Progress: Planned Obsolescence, Anti-Art, and the Violence of Linear Time


Happy New Year Think Olio Style

Each of these Mini-Olios will be 20 minutes long with time for a short Q&A in between.


Dada is Anti-Dada
Professor Hallie Scott
Dada emerged in Zurich in 1916 as a reaction to the catastrophic violence of World War I, the blind futurism of the artistic movements that preceded the war, and the false notions of progress that governed both. “What we are celebrating is both buffoonery and a requiem mass,” poet-artist Hugo Ball said of the Dada events that he and other artists, writers, and filmmakers organized in rejection of modern society. These events, and the Dada disgust that they manifested, reveal the horrors and absurdities of progress.


Consumer Society Made Easy
Professor Ward Regan
The rise of industrial society and its new and distinctive form of mass production created the corollary need for mass consumption. They are two sides of the same economic coin.  One of the main questions economists have pursued is understanding the dynamic between supply and demand in pursuit of some perfectly balanced free market. So ten thousand years of human development have at last produced the combination bagel toaster & egg poacher (take that, Angkor Wat and Sphinx!)  The final victory of planned obsolescence?


Our Most Violent Fantasy
Professor Jamie Warren
In recent years, some conservative and neoliberal academics have touted the idea that human societies are evolving toward a less violent state. Progress, such scholars claim, is an inherent quality of our species, and history moves in one direction. But what if the notion of progress itself is in fact our most enduring fuel for violence? Let us look closely at the myth of historical progress and ask ourselves just how we came to believe that the past exists in service to the future.




Location: Berg'n

899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip, late-night beer hall featuring microbrews & food vendors in a spacious, industrial-chic venue. Classes will be held in the private room.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Feb 22

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Mar 6

The 2nd Amendment Explained

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 13

Philosophy Club | Can We Say Everything?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 15

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 16

OlioHouse | Willpower and the Right to Be Lazy

Taught by Jeanne Proust
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Mar 20

Reimagining the Carceral State: Art, Imagination, and an Abolitionist Future

Taught by Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 23

Mar 27

Urban Development: From Reconstruction to Gentrification

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 28

Catfishing: The Artist as Trickster in Factual Fictions

Taught by Ted Barrow
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!