Filed under book | Tags: · craft, hand, history, labour, machine, technology, work
Craftsmanship, says Richard Sennett, names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. The computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen all engage in a craftsman’s work. In this thought-provoking book, Sennett explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world.
The Craftsman engages the many dimensions of skill—from the technical demands to the obsessive energy required to do good work. Craftsmanship leads Sennett across time and space, from ancient Roman brickmakers to Renaissance goldsmiths to the printing presses of Enlightenment Paris and the factories of industrial London; in the modern world he explores what experiences of good work are shared by computer programmers, nurses and doctors, musicians, glassblowers, and cooks. Unique in the scope of his thinking, Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.
Publisher Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2008
ISBN 0300149557, 9780300149555
Thomas Bey William Bailey: Micro Bionic: Radical Electronic Music & Sound Art in the 21st Century, 2nd ed (2009/2012)
Filed under book | Tags: · electronic music, industrial music, music, music history, sound art
Starting with the guerrilla media tactics of Industrial music in the late 1970s, the author charts an ongoing trend in electronic music: an increasing amount of sonic quality, recorded output and international contact, accomplished with a decreasing amount of tools, personnel, and capital investment. From the use of laptop computers to create massive avalanches of noise, to the establishment of micro-nations populated largely by sound artists, 21st century sound culture is expanding in its scope and popularity even as it shrinks in other respects. Numerous exclusive interviews with leading lights of the field were also conducted for this book: William Bennett (Whitehouse), Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle / Coil), Peter Rehberg (Mego), John Duncan, Francisco López, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Bob Ostertag and many others weigh in with a diversity of thoughts and opinions that underscores the incredible diversity to be found within new electronic music itself.
First published by Creation Books in 2009
Publisher Belsona Books
ISBN 0615736629, 9780615736624
Filed under book | Tags: · ontology, philosophy, philosophy of technology, technical object, technology, transduction, transindividual
The first sustained exploration of Simondon’s work to be published in English.
This collection of essays, including one by Simondon himself, outlines the central tenets of Simondon’s thought, the implication of his thought for numerous disciplines and his relationship to other thinkers such as Heidegger, Deleuze and Canguilhem.
Complete with a contextualising introduction and a glossary of technical terms, it offers an entry point to this important thinker and will appeal to people working in philosophy, philosophy of science, media studies, social theory and political philosophy.
Gilbert Simondon’s work has recently come to prominence in America and around the Anglophone world, having been of great importance in France for many years.
Contributors: Miguel de Beistegui, Elizabeth Grosz, Anne Sauvagnargues, Bernard Stiegler, Igor Krtolica, Jean-Hugues Barthélémy, Yves Michaud, Sean Bowden, Dominique Lecourt, and the editors.
Edited by Arne De Boever, Alex Murray, Jon Roffe, Ashley Woodward
Publisher Edinburgh University Press, 2012
ISBN 074864525X, 9780748645251
review (Wil Kaiser, H-Net Reviews)Comments (3)
Meta F. Janowitz, Diane Dallal (eds.): Tales of Gotham, Historical Archaeology, Ethnohistory and Microhistory of New York City (2013)
Filed under book | Tags: · 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, anthropology, archaeology, city, ethnoarchaeology, ethnography, history, new york
Historical Archaeology and Ethnohistory of New York City: Tales and Microhistory of Gotham is a collection of narratives about people who lived in New York City during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, people whose lives archaeologists have encountered during excavations at sites where these people lived or worked. The stories are ethnohistorical or microhistorical studies created using archaeological and documentary data. As microhistories, they are concerned with particular people living at particular times in the past within the framework of world events.
The world events framework will be provided in short introductions to chapters grouped by time periods and themes. The foreword by Mary Beaudry and the afterword by LuAnne DeCunzo bookend the individual case studies and add theoretical weight to the volume. Topics in the book include:
- Native Americans and Europeans in New Amsterdam
- Stories of Dutch women in the colonial period
- African history in New York City, including the African Burial Ground
- Craftsmen and Churchmen of New York City
- A portrait of Stephen Allen, a New York City Mayor
Historical Archaeology and Ethnohistory of New York City: Tales and Microhistory of Gotham focuses on specific individual life stories, or stories of groups of people, as a way to present archaeological theory and research. Archaeologists work with material culture—artifacts—to recreate daily lives and study how culture works; this book is an example of how to do this in a way that can attract people interested in history as well as in anthropological theory. As such, this volume is an invaluable resource for archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, anthropologists, and anybody interested in the rich history of one of the world’s most influential cities, New York City.
With a Foreword by Mary Beaudry
With an Afterword by LuAnne DeCunzo
Publisher Springer, London, 2013
ISBN 1461452716, 9781461452713
Filed under book | Tags: · biography, computing, electricity, history of computing, history of science, mathematics, science, technology
In this engrossing biography, Dorothy Stein strips away the many layers of myth surrounding Ada Lovelace’s reputation as the inventor of the science of computer programming to reveal a story far more dramatic and fascinating than previous accounts have indicated. Working with original sources, Stein clears up a number of puzzles and misinterpretations of Ada’s life and activities.
Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was the only daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the close friend and associate of a number of the foremost scientific, literary, and artistic figures of the early Victorian period. She enjoys a growing reputation today for her report on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine—considered to be the first computer. Yet Stein shows how the often self-serving Babbage conspired to create the legend, using the Countess to promote his projects and make exaggerated claims for his engine. By placing Lady Lovelace’s report in the social and cultural context in which it was written, she finds that, far from being a clear and masterly exposition of the structure and logic of the computer, it was a rather mystical tract that dwelt on the inventor’s outdated philosophy of mathematics, and his mechanistic view of theology and the workings of capitalist economics.
Ada’s own life is vividly told, often in her own words, as Stein weaves into her narrative excerpts from letters, memoirs, and little-known documents to create an account that is at once black comedy, detective story, psychological drama, and scientific explanation. She examines the barriers and opportunities that Ada faced as she strove to develop her ambitions and search for truths that would free her of that shadow of her mysterious father and her overbearing and manipulative mother.
Stein reveals a turbulent and complex woman who tries to run away, who marries and bears three children, attempts to bury herself in the study of mathematics, and to find herself in a career in music or in writing. Ada corresponds and associates with men as diverse as Dickens, Chadwick, Quetelet, and Wheatstone. She sickens and attempts to find the cause of her malady by exploring the fringes of several sciences. Her interest in the use of electricity to treat nervous disorders involves her in the controversies over mesmerism and phrenology, and turns her from Babbage to Faraday and to Andrew Crosse, the “electrician” whose work served as the model for Frankenstein. With Ada, Stein examines the roots of the fear, fascination, and mystic awe with which we still regard the impact of high technology upon ordinary life.
Publisher MIT Press, 1987
History of Computing Series
ISBN 0262691167, 9780262691161
Filed under book | Tags: · big science, entrepreneurship, history of science, science, silicon valley, technoscience
Who are scientists? What kind of people are they? What capacities and virtues are thought to stand behind their considerable authority? They are experts—indeed, highly respected experts—authorized to describe and interpret the natural world and widely trusted to help transform knowledge into power and profit. But are they morally different from other people? The Scientific Life is historian Steven Shapin’s story about who scientists are, who we think they are, and why our sensibilities about such things matter.
Conventional wisdom has long held that scientists are neither better nor worse than anyone else, that personal virtue does not necessarily accompany technical expertise, and that scientific practice is profoundly impersonal. Shapin, however, here shows how the uncertainties attending scientific research make the virtues of individual researchers intrinsic to scientific work. From the early twentieth-century origins of corporate research laboratories to the high-flying scientific entrepreneurship of the present, Shapin argues that the radical uncertainties of much contemporary science have made personal virtues more central to its practice than ever before, and he also reveals how radically novel aspects of late modern science have unexpectedly deep historical roots. His elegantly conceived history of the scientific career and character ultimately encourages us to reconsider the very nature of the technical and moral worlds in which we now live.
Building on the insights of Shapin’s last three influential books, featuring an utterly fascinating cast of characters, and brimming with bold and original claims, The Scientific Life is essential reading for anyone wanting to reflect on late modern American culture and how it has been shaped.
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2008
ISBN 0226750248, 9780226750248
Filed under book | Tags: · freedom, internet, pornography
How has the Internet, a medium that thrives on control, been accepted as a medium of freedom? Why is freedom increasingly indistinguishable from paranoid control? In Control and Freedom, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun explores the current political and technological coupling of freedom with control by tracing the emergence of the Internet as a mass medium. The parallel (and paranoid) myths of the Internet as total freedom/total control, she says, stem from our reduction of political problems into technological ones.
Drawing on the theories of Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault and analyzing such phenomena as Webcams and face-recognition technology, Chun argues that the relationship between control and freedom in networked contact is experienced and negotiated through sexuality and race. She traces the desire for cyberspace to cyberpunk fiction and maps the transformation of public/private into open/closed. Analyzing “pornocracy,” she contends that it was through cyberporn and the government’s attempts to regulate it that the Internet became a marketplace of ideas and commodities. Chun describes the way Internet promoters conflated technological empowerment with racial empowerment and, through close examinations of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, she analyzes the management of interactivity in narratives of cyberspace.
The Internet’s potential for democracy stems not from illusory promises of individual empowerment, Chun argues, but rather from the ways in which it exposes us to others (and to other machines) in ways we cannot control. Using fiber optic networks—light coursing through glass tubes—as metaphor and reality, Control and Freedom engages the rich philosophical tradition of light as a figure for knowledge, clarification, surveillance, and discipline, in order to argue that fiber-optic networks physically instantiate, and thus shatter, enlightenment.
Publisher MIT Press, 2006
ISBN 0262033321, 9780262033329