Flusser: Does writing have a future?

In Does Writing Have a Future?, a remarkably perceptive work first published in German in 1987, Vilém Flusser asks what will happen to thought and communication as written communication gives way, inevitably, to digital expression. In his introduction, Flusser proposes that writing does not, in fact, have a future because everything that is now conveyed in writing—and much that cannot be—can be recorded and transmitted by other means.

Confirming Flusser’s status as a theorist of new media in the same rank as Marshall McLuhan, Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio, and Friedrich Kittler, the balance of this book teases out the nuances of these developments. To find a common denominator among texts and practices that span millennia, Flusser looks back to the earliest forms of writing and forward to the digitization of texts now under way. For Flusser, writing—despite its limitations when compared to digital media—underpins historical consciousness, the concept of progress, and the nature of critical inquiry. While the text as a cultural form may ultimately become superfluous, he argues, the art of writing will not so much disappear but rather evolve into new kinds of thought and expression.

In: http://burundi.sk/monoskop/log/?p=2590

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August 28, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Documentary : Connected (2011)

New York, NY (June 1, 2011)—Tiffany Shlain’s award-winning documentary CONNECTED will be released this fall by Paladin, it was announced today by company President, Mark Urman.  Subtitled “An Autoblogography about Love, Death, & Technology,” the film premiered to great acclaim in the Documentary Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, CONNECTED, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. With humor, curiosity and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization. An exhilarating rollercoaster ride, the film proposes that after centuries of declaring independence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead.

In: http://www.indiewire.com/article/paladin_acquires_sundance_doc_connected/

August 27, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

UbuWeb

UbuWeb is a large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. It offers visual, concrete and sound poetry, expanding to include film and sound art mp3 archives.

UbuWeb was founded in response to the marginal distribution of crucial avant-garde material. It remains non-commercial and operates on agift economy.[1] UbuWeb ensures educational open access to out-of-print works that find a second life through digital art reprint while also representing the work of contemporaries. It addresses problems in the distribution of and access to intellectual materials.

The site: http://ubuweb.com/

August 27, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The myth of pop culture

We’ve come to accept intellectual stimulation and pop culture fetishism as diametric opposites, frequently pulling us, our attention, and our personal growth in conflicting directions. But, it turns out, this might be a tragic oversimplification at best, if not a complete fallacy. In The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan, cultural criticPerry Meisel offers a bold defense of pop culture by arguing against the traditional, socialized distinction between “high” and “low” culture through a thoughtful analysis of three hallmarks of contemporary culture — the American novel, Hollywood, and British and American rock music. He traces back some 500 years of influences, sociopolitical anxieties and historical events, from the evolution of music genres like folk and soul to the legacy of political ideologies like Marxism to the social footprint of Freudian theory, ultimately showing how Bob Dylan — the epitome of pop culture — not only blurred but fully erased the line between “high” and “low” culture.

Read more: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/23/the-myth-of-pop-culture-perry-meisel/

August 26, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What an early 20th-century Parisian dandy had to do with political theater and the rise of micro-nonfiction.

We’ve previously shown that the literati of yore had their own Facebook, and it turns out they had their Twitter, too. Artist, anarchist and literary entrepreneur Félix Fénéon was the one-man Twitter of early 20th-century France. Between May and November of 1906, he wrote 1,220 succinct and near-surrealist three-line reports in the Paris newspaper Le Matin, serving to inform of everything from notable deaths to petty theft to naval expedition disasters. In Illustrated Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, artist Joanna Neborsky captures the best of these enigmatic vignettes in stunning illustrations and collages, inspired by Luc Sante’s English translation of Fénéon’s gems for the New York Review of Books. Sometimes profound, often perplexing, and always prepossessing, these visual snapshots of historical micro-narratives offer a bizarre and beautiful glimpse of a long-gone French era and a man of rare creative genius.

In: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/26/illustrated-three-line-novels-felix-feneon-joanna-neborsky/

August 26, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Pinker’s opinion on how the internet is changing the way we think

STEVEN PINKER
Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology; Harvard University; Author, The Stuff of Thought

NOT AT ALL

As someone who believes both in human nature and in timeless standards of logic and evidence, I’m skeptical of the common claim that the Internet is changing the way we think. Electronic media aren’t going to revamp the brain’s mechanisms of information processing, nor will they supersede modus ponens or Bayes’ theorem. Claims that the Internet is changing human thought are propelled by a number of forces: the pressure on pundits to announce that this or that “changes everything”; a superficial conception of what “thinking” is that conflates content with process; the neophobic mindset that “if young people do something that I don’t do, the culture is declining.” But I don’t think the claims stand up to scrutiny.

Has a generation of texters, surfers, and twitterers evolved the enviable ability to process multiple streams of novel information in parallel? Most cognitive psychologists doubt it, and recent studies by Clifford Nass confirm their skepticism. So-called mutlitaskers are like Woody Allen after he took a speed-reading course and devoured War and Peace in an evening. His summary: “It was about some Russians.”

Also widely rumored are the students who cannot write a paper without instant-message abbreviations, emoticons, and dubious Web citations. But students indulge in such laziness to the extent that their teachers let them get away with it. I have never seen a paper of this kind, and a survey of university student papers by Andrea Lunsford shows they are mostly figments of the pundits’ imaginations.

The way that intellectual standards constrain intellectual products is no more evident than in science. Scientists are voracious users of the Internet, and of other computer-based technologies that are supposedly making us stupid, like Powerpoint, electronic publishing, and email. Yet it would be ludicrous to suggest that scientists think differently than they did a decade ago, or that the progress of science has slowed.

The most interesting trend in the development of the Internet is not how it is changing people’s ways of thinking but how it is adapting to the way that people think. The leap in Internet usage that accompanied the appearance of the World Wide Web more than a decade ago came from its user interface, the graphical browser, which worked around the serial, line-based processing of the actual computer hardware to simulate a familiar visual world of windows, icons, and buttons. The changes we are seeing more recently include even more natural interfaces (speech, language, manual manipulation), better emulation of human expertise (as in movie, book, or music recommendations, and more intelligent search), and the application of Web technologies to social and emotional purposes (such as social networking, sharing of pictures, music, and video) rather than just the traditional nerdy ones.

To be sure, many aspects of the life of the mind have been affected by the Internet. Our physical folders, mailboxes, bookshelves, spreadsheets, documents, media players, and so on have been replaced by software equivalents, which has altered our time budgets in countless ways. But to call it an alternation of “how we think” is, I think, an exaggeration.

In: http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_10.html#pinker

August 24, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The internet is a cultural object by Virginia Heffernan

VIRGNIA HEFFERNAN
Columnist (“The Medium”), The New York Times

THE INTERNET IS A CULTURAL OBJECT: READ IT

People who study the real world, including historians and scientists, may find that the reality of the Internet changes how they think. But those of us who study symbolic systems, including philosophers and literary critics, find in the Internet another yet another symbolic system, albeit a humdinger, that yields — spectacularly, I must say — to our accustomed modes of inquiry.

Anyway, a new symbolic order need not disrupt Truth, wherever Truth may now be said to reside (Neurons? Climate change? Atheism?). Certainly to those of us who read more novels than MRIs, the Internet — and especially the World Wide Web — looks like what we know: a fictional world made mostly of words.

Philosophers and critics must only be careful, as we are trained to be careful, not to mistake this new, highly stylized and artificial order, the Internet, for reality itself. After all, all cultural forms and conceits that gain currency and influence — epic poetry, the Catholic mass, the British empire, photography — do so by purporting to be reality, to be transparent, to represent or proscribe life as it really is. As an arrangement of interlocking high, pop and folk art forms, the Internet is no different. This ought to be especially clear when what’s meant by “the Internet” is that mostly comic, intensely commercial bourgeois space known as the World Wide Web.

We who have determinedly kept our heads while suffrage, the Holocaust, the highway system, Renaissance perspective, coeducation, the Pill, household appliances, the moon landing, the Kennedy assassination and rock ‘n’ roll were supposed to change existence forever, cannot falter now. Instead of theatrically changing our thinking, this time, we must keep our heads, which means — to me — that we must keep on reading and not mistake new texts for new worlds, or new forms for new brains.

In: http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_5.html#heffernan

August 24, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

How has the internet changed the way we think?

The Edge annual question – 2010

This year’s Question is “How is the Internet changing the way YOU think?” Not “How is the Internet changing the way WE think?” We spent a lot of time going back on forth on “YOU” vs. “WE” and came to the conclusion to go with “YOU”, the reason being that Edge is a conversation. “WE” responses tend to come across like expert papers, public pronouncements, or talks delivered from stage.

We wanted people to think about the “Internet”, which includes, but is a much bigger subject than the Web, an application on the Internet, or search, browsing, etc., which are apps on the Web. Back in 1996, computer scientist and visionary Danny Hillis pointed out that when it comes to the Internet, “Many people sense this, but don’t want to think about it because the change is too profound. Today, on the Internet the main event is the Web. A lot of people think that the Web is the Internet, and they’re missing something. The Internet is a brand-new fertile ground where things can grow, and the Web is the first thing that grew there. But the stuff growing there is in a very primitive form. The Web is the old media incorporated into the new medium. It both adds something to the Internet and takes something away.”

Read the essays here: http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_1.html#brockman

August 24, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Kill Shakespeare

An epic adventure that will change the way you look at Shakespeare forever.

In this dark tale, the Bard’s most famous heroes embark upon a journey to discover a long-lost soul.  Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff, Romeo and Puck search for a reclusive wizard who may have the ability to assist them in their battle against the evil forces led by the villains Richard III, Lady Macbeth and Iago.  That reclusive wizard?  William Shakespeare.

A combination of “Fables”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Lord of the Rings”, Kill Shakespeare offers a remixed re-envisioning of the greatest characters of all-time, featuring action, romance, comedy, lust, drama and bloody violence.  It is an adventure of Shakespearean proportions.

In: http://www.killshakespeare.com/story.html

August 24, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

SHAKESPEARE IN BITS

Shakespeare’s plays for PC, iPad, iPhone, etc…

Features

  • The unabridged original play text, broken into easily digested ‘bits’.
  • Complete notes, summaries, and analyses for each section.
  • A unique in-line translation system for obscure words and phrases.
  • Nearly three hours of animation, featuring the voices of Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen and Fiona Shaw. (Audio provided by Naxos Audiobooks).
  • Biographies for each character, accessed from the main play or through the cast browser.
  • A character relationship map, demonstrating key relationships in the play.
  • And all of the standard Shakespeare In Bits features.

Download here: http://www.shakespeareinbits.com/sibsite/

August 20, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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