Issue 3:1 -- Post-Digital StudiesEditors, David Rieder and Matthew Levy
David Rieder and Matthew Levy
David Rieder, daveR@uta.edu
Matthew Levy, email@example.com
David Rieder, http://www.davidrieder.com
Matthew Levy, http://www.uta.edu/english/mal
Matthew Levy is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Rhetoric in the English Dept. at the University of Texas at Arlington. In addition to serving as Review Editor of Enculturation, he is Associate Editor of Audio for Pre/Text Electra-Lite and the Editorial Assistant on Ken Roemer's "Covers, Title, and Tables: The Formations of American Literary Canons." Current writing topics include: Rhetoric as Interface, Cynicism/Kynicism in Rhet/Comp, improvisatory teaching, multiple-register border negotiations in the classroom, Lines of Flight in novels by Kenan and Reed, and Pure Persuasion (from Kenneth Burke) in Aphra Behn's Ooronoko.
Temporal Reconfigurations in Kubrick's 2001
Colette Balmain's doctorate on the intersection of history, culture and film, provisionally titled Genre gender giallo: the disturbed dreams of Dario Argento is due for submission at the beginning of 2001. She is based within the School of Humanities at Greenwich University where she also works as a part-time lecturer in English and media. She also teaches part time at Goldsmith's University. Her research interests include popular culture and [post]modern theory; representations of the monstrous; all things 'gothic' alongside psychoanalysis and schizoanalysis.
abstract: This essay attempts to open up the theoretical framework through which film is traditionally read by interrogating the rhizomatic links between Kubrick's 2001 and Deleuze's time image finding lines of potentialities and flight as opposed to the conservative metaphorical symbolist view of Kubrick¹s classic text. Temporal reconfigurations refer to how the cinema of the time image deconstructs and refuses classical theorisations of the spectator, a process which is mapped in the disconnected and disorientating spaces of 2001. It is hoped that this essay will be viewed as a part of an ongoing process to reconfigure film and theory as we move into the millennium and our own technological reconfiguration.
Obsolete Bodies and (Post) Digital Flesh
Bernd Herzogenrath received his Ph.D. from University of Aachen, Germany. He is the author of An Art of Desire: Reading Paul Auster. (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1999). His fields of interest are 19th and 20th century American Literature, Literary Theory, and Cultural and Media Studies. He has also published articles on Techno and Emily Bronte, David Lynch's Lost Highway and Cultural Pathology, Leatherstocking and Belatedness, Kurt Cobain and The Great Gatsby, Pynchon and Von Helmholtz, Henry Adams and Chaos Physics. Currently he is working on a project on the Image and Metaphor of Amputation, Phantom Limbs, and Missing Limbs in American Literature, History, Art, and Cinema - suggestions VERY!!! welcome. Email Plechazunga@gmx.de.
abstract: The question concerning the relation of technology and 'the human' has more often than not been put in the simplistic alternative "Does technology liberate or enslave us?" In this paper, I want to re-state this question in a kind of philosophical and psycho-pathological space, testing the idea of a 'primordeal synthesis' of the human-technology relation. Three instances of what I consider to be marvellous marriages between the human and the machinic, and a set of theoretical approaches that deal with this relation and:or employ a machinic metaphor when it comes to the question of the human subject, figure prominently in this text: Stelarc, Mark Pauline, and Shinya Tsukamoto's movie Tetsuo, as well as Martin Heidegger, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. My aim is to involve these engineers in a dialog on the human:machine, a dialog pointing at the possibility of a concept of evolution encompassing both man _and_ machine, showing that both the cultural/speaking body and the body of the drives are always already machinic, post-biological. As long as we see ourselves as autonomous egos, either trying to master 'the machine' or seeing technology as alienating us from 'nature' and 'human values,' we fail to 'become-ourselves.'
Y2K: Apocalyptic Opportunism
Andrea Hoplight Tapia
Andrea Hoplight Tapia is currently a post doctoral fellow at the University of Arizona working with a National Science Foundation Grant entitled "Universities in the Information Age." She finished her Ph.D. in 2000 at the University of New Mexico submitting a dissertation entitled Subcultural Responses to Y2K. Her work focuses on the intersection between technology and subcultural identities. Her most recent work examines the subculture of the "diggerati" in highly technological work environments.
abstract: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the computer software problem of Y2K (year 2000) was socially constructed as both a technological threat and a social opportunity. At its core, millennial or apocalyptic belief is emotional, inspired by both hope and fear.This article focuses principally on the emotion of hope, and how Y2K was constructed as an opportunity. Four examples are presented that cover the full range of the socio-political spectrum, from the liberal left to the conservative right: socio- political-environmental opportunities; religious opportunities; survivalist-militia opportunities; and governmental opportunities. While Y2K was constructed as a threat by many, for the groups discussed in this work, Y2K became a means to social and political change.
Yoishiro Kawaguchi's Mutation and Cell: A Study of Form in 3D Computer Animation
Ted Kafala is assistant professor of communication and technology studies at the University of Cincinnati's College of Applied Science. He teaches classes in new media theory, practice and criticism, science in the popular media, cultural studies, and global communication. Ted received a PHD in instructional media and technology from Ohio State University, where he also completed studies in digital art, art history and education. He serves on several editorial and review boards and has published in journals and symposiums in North America, Europe and Asia. Ted continues to write in the interdisciplinary borderlands between art and technology.
abstract: Yoishiro Kawaguchi's recent animations appear to be reflections of Deleuze's reading of the mathematics of liquid folds, his study of infinite curvilinear forms and non-Euclidean geometries. Folds and hyperbolas comprise the substance of transformations and inflections of objects and events in digital, symbolic spaces. Kawaguchi's abstract forms are elastic bodies in space whose cohering parts form a fold, or a multiple modulating surface of color.
Like philosophy, Deleuze believes that the interactive, animated cinema is a conceptual practice: in its twisting and folding of informatic substance, it constructs and discovers new pathways and concepts on a second, invisible, cerebral, parabolic surface. Kawaguchi provides a topological and irrational animation space for the exploration of both visual and metaphysical surfaces.
The Dream of the Mechanical Brain: The Rise and Fall of AI
Herbert G. Klein
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Herbert G. Klein is a Lecturer in Modern English Literature at the Free University of Berlin. His research interests include the relationships between science and literature as well as between language and cognition. He has also published widely on other aspects of English literature and on computing in the humanities. His latest monograph (in German) is Construed Realities: Cybernetic modes of perception in twentieth-century anglo-american novels.
abstract: The development of modern computing is inextricably bound up with the urge to mechanize important functions of the human mind. The groundwork for this idea was laid as early as the 17th century and continuously added to until it found its attempted realisation with the advent of modern computing. The proponents of the field which came to be known as "Artificial Intelligence" made great claims about the technological possibilities and drew fargoing conclusions concerning the human mind and the future relationship between computers and humans. The essay traces the important historical steps on this way and criticises the underlying attitude as reductive and dehumanizing.
The Dusk of the Digital is the Dawn of the Virtual
Andrew Murphie has lived in Sydney most of his life. He has published on a range of issues: performance and the visual arts, popular music, contemporary cultural theory, particularly the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, virtual media and digital aesthetics. He is currently writing a textbook in the area of culture and technology with John Potts and is working on two other books on machines, ethics and aesthetics. He has in the past worked as a marketing manager and production manager for arts companies, and as a freelance theatre director (which has included work on productions of Samuel Beckett's shorter plays and Heiner Muller's Hamlet-Machine). He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communications at the University of New South Wales. Once he thought he would live in Spain but instead for some strange reason ends up visiting Denmark quite a bit, where he reads detective novels by Dan Turell.
Cyberpunk: Liminal Space Cadets
Edrie Sobstyl received her PhD in feminist philosophy of science from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) in 1995. She currently teaches philosophy of science and technology, epistemology, feminist theory, and environmental philosophy in the History of Ideas program at the University of Texas at Dallas. Recent work includes "All the Sisters of Shora: An Anarcha/Ecofeminist Reading of Slonczewski's Door Into Ocean" (Anarchist Studies 1999), and "Marking Our Territory: Demarcation Debates in the Philosophy of Science" with Sharyn Clough of Rowan University (Pre/Text Electra(Lite) 2.1, 1999, http://www.utdallas.edu/pretext/PT2.1/essc/), as well as reviews for Hypatia, Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies, and Research in Philosophy and Technology. She is currently working on a collection of essays on technology and local material culture, and a volume on science fiction and bioethics. She is a member of the editorial board and book review editor for FEMSPEC, a journal of feminism and science fiction (http://www.ninthwonder.com/femspec/), and of the Bioethics Discussion Group (http://www.swmed.edu/home_pages/ethics/resource.htm) at the UT Southwestern Medical School. She was recently a fellow at the International School for Theory in the Humanities at the Universidade de Santiago, Spain.
abstract: Critical discourse surrounding the SF subgenre known as cyberpunk has focused on both the subversion and the damage wrought by its excessive technophilia. Little has been said, however, about the peculiar kind of social critique toward which cyberpunk gestures, a critique perhaps best described as present by virtue of its absence. This essay sets aside the task of examining cyberpunk itself in favor of placing its critics in dialogue with one another, generating a metacriticism of critics. When read together with cyberpunk texts, this metatextual approach suggests that cyberpunk indirectly instantiates a potent diagnosis of our social and moral failings, but refuses to take the high road and preach easy, technologically enhanced solutions. Instead, the metatext of cyberpunk points to what I call a Aworld-shaped hole@, an empty space which SF writers are frantically trying to fill, but which resists all attempts at reinscription, leaving us desperate in our urge toward utopianism.
Web Radio, Community, and Streaming Capitalism
Thomas Swiss and Andrew Herman
Swiss's homepage: http://www.drake.edu/swiss/ultimate/home.html
Thomas Swiss is a poet and critic. His latest book of poems, Rough Cut (University of Illinois), was published in 1997. New York University Press will publish his edited volume Unspun: The Web, Language, and Society in January 2001. He is Series Editor for '"Artists and Innovators,"a column about artists and others, published monthy in the magazine PopMatters.
Andrew Herman received his B.A. from Georgetown University and his Ph.D. at Boston College. He came to Drake in 1992, having taught at Boston College and Northeastern University. His research interests include social theory, narrative analysis, social stratification and class analysis, sociology of knowledge, sociology of morality, sociology of work, cyberculture, and media, cultural, and rhetorical studies. He is the author of The 'Better Angels' of Capitalism: Rhetoric, Narrative and Moral Identity among men of the American Upper Class (Westview, 1998) and co-editor of Mapping the Beat: Popular Music and Contemporary Theory (Blackwell, 1997) and The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory: Magic, Metaphor and Power (Routledge, 2000). At Drake he teaches courses on: morality and society; sociology of popular music; wealth, discourse and power; sociology of knowledge;cultural and media studies; sociology of cyberspace; consumer culture; social philosophy and sociological theory.
abstract: Music culture is increasingly moving from the aural matrix of broadcast radio to the digitized matrix of cyberspace. The emergence of virtual radio, however,embodies an interesting, and quintessentially postmodern, contradiction. The sites of virtual radio continue in many cases to invoke rhetorics of authenticity, community, and "home" that are associated with localized place. Ironically however, such rhetorics seem 'out of place' (so to speak) in a medium whose logic of connection is dispersed rather than localized, centrifugal rather than centripetal. We explore this contradiction in a multimedia critical "meditation" whichÝengages the subject of Web-based radio as a site where metaphor, magic, and power converge.
Redefining Bioinformatics: A Critical Analysis of Technoscientific Bodies
Eugene Thacker teaches at Rutgers Univeristy, where he directs [techne] New Media. His interests center around the relationship between the body and technology, especially in contemporary biotechnology and genetics. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Body Modification (Sage, 2000), Flesh-Eating Technologies (Semiotext(e), 2001), and LifeScience: Ars Electronica '99 (Springer, 1999), and in the journals Art Journal, Body & Society, Ctheory, Mute, and Theory & Event. He is a contributing editor at The Thing and a collaborator with Fakeshop.
abstract: Recent developments in the biological technosciences have provided an instance where institutionally-framed medical and scientific research and new media technologies have intersected to create a space where what constitutes the biological body is continually undergoing complex morphologies and negotiations. In this paper two such instances are considered: the "digital anatomy" of the Visible Human Project, and the development of DNA chips and genomic databases in biotechnology research. Both of these technoscientific pratices utilize computer software, programming, and the Internet as constituent parts of their respective endeavors. Referncing Donna Haraway's notion of "corporealization," this paper attempts to inquire into the epistemologies and politics of such "technoscientific bodies," and to refigure the term "bioinformatics," an emerging discipline entailing the application of computer science and data processing to handle large amounts of (biological) information.
Featured Media Artist
Tina LaPorta is a media artist who lives and works in New York City. Her most recent work has been created specifically for the internet as a continued exploration of female subjectivity within a global networked environment. She is currently a recipient of The Alternative Museum's 2000 Web Residency Commission. In 1999, Ms. LaPorta received a commission for the creation of Distance, a web-specific work hosted on Turbulence.org (New York) with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work, Distance, has been chosen as a SEMI-FINALIST in the Arts and Culture category of the Fourth Annual Global Information Infrastructure (GII) Awards.
She has widely exhibited her work including the Montreal International Festival of new Cinema & new Media, Museu da Imagem e do Som: São Paulo, Brazil, Centre Cultural de la Fundació "la Caixa": Barcelona, Spain, Ecole Suprieure Nationale desBeaux Arts in Paris, the SIGGRAPH 2000 Art Show, Museum of the City of Skopje and the Boston Photographic Resource Center.
Ms. LaPorta has been an Artist-in-Resident at Ars Electronica's FutureLab (Linz, Austria) where she created her first web-specific work titled TRACES.
Ms. LaPorta has been invited to participate in several on-line symposia including: "Shock of the View," sponsored by the Walker Art Center, "POV Salon," sponsored by PBS Television Network, and the Gender in New Media Online Panel at "INVENCAO: Thinking The Next Millennium," conference (Sao Paulo, Brazil.)
Ms. LaPorta has organized and moderated several symposia including "Women in New Media" for the 16th Annual Women in the Arts Conference at Rutgers University, presented her work at the Feminist Art/Art History Conference at Barnard, has given a lecture on Artistic Practice in the Network at Cooper Union and lectured on her work at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna Austria. She also Moderated a panel discussion for the Women's Caucus of the College Art Association's Conference in 1994 which investigated the relationship between information technologies and Representations of the body.
Kevin Kelly's Out of Control: Is the flag waving? or the wind? . . . or the mind?
Richard Thieme is a business consultant, writer, and professional speaker focused on "life on the edge," in particular the human dimension of technology and the work place, change management and organizational effectiveness. Thieme's creative use of the Internet to reach global markets has earned accolades around the world. He has published widely and his articles are taught in many universities in Europe and the United States. His column, "Islands in the Clickstream," is published in Singapore, Toronto, and Capetown and distributed to subscribers in 58 countries.
abstract: Kevin Kelly's book, Out of Control, seemed at the time it was published to be a breakthrough exploration of the impact of new technologies. Richard Thieme's backward glancing review from the vantage point of many internet years later reveals it to be a shotgun approach, an attempt to capture many of the new ideas in business and organizational development and the social and physical sciences that is miles wide but not so deep. As good as it was, the books reads today more like an anthology of ideas than an integrated understanding of the brave new world that continues to break forward.
Andrew Herman's and Thomas Swiss' The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory: Magic, Metaphor, Power
Ben Agger is Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington and the Director of the Center for Theory. He is the author of a number of books including Fast Capitalism: A Critical Theory of Significance (1989), The Discourse of Domination: From the Frankfurt School to Postmodernism (1992), Cultural Studies as Critical Theory (1992), Gender, Culture and Power: Toward a Feminist Postmodern Critical Theory (1993), Critical Social Theories: An Introduction (1998), and Public Sociology: From Social Facts to Literary Acts (2000).