Carolin Wiedemann, Soenke Zehle (eds.): Depletion Design: A Glossary of Network Ecologies (2012)

5 December 2012, dusan

Depletion Design suggests that ideas of exhaustion cut across cultural, environmentalist, and political idioms and offers ways to explore the emergence of new material assemblages. Soenke Zehle and Carolin Wiedemann discuss Depletion Design with Marie-Luise Angerer, Jennifer Gabrys and David M. Berry, inviting tm13 participants into a collaborative reflection on the necessity to understand human beings as one species among others – constituted by interactions of media, organisms, weather patterns, ecosystems, thought patterns, cities, discourses, fashions, populations, brains, markets, dance nights and bacterial exchanges (Angerer); on the material leftovers of electronics as provocations to think through and rework practices of material politics that may be less exploitative within our natural-cultural relationships (Gabrys); and on lines of flight from and through the computational – about expanding them into new ways of living beyond current limitations and towards new means of judgment and politics (Berry).

We, or so we are told, are running out of time, of time to develop alternatives to a new politics of emergency, as constant crisis has exhausted the means of a politics of representation too slow for the state of exception, too ignorant of the distribution of political agency, too focused on the governability of financial architectures. But new forms of individual and collective agency already emerge, as we learn to live, love, work within the horizon of depletion, to ask what it means to sustain ourselves, each other, again. Of these and other knowledges so created, there can no longer be an encyclopedia; a glossary, perhaps.

Contributors: Marie-Luise Angerer (Cyborg), Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi (Exhaustion, Soul Work), David M. Berry (On Terminality), Zach Blas (Queer Darkness), Drew S. Burk (Grey Ecology), Gabriella Coleman (Anonymous), Heidi Rae Cooley (Ecologies of Practice), Sebastian Deterding (Playful Technologies, Persuasive Design), Jennifer Gabrys (Natural History, Salvage), Johannes Grenzfurthner & Frank A. Schneider (Hackerspace), Eric Kluitenberg (Sustainable Immobility), Boyan Manchev (Disorganisation, Persistence), Lev Manovich (Software), Sonia Matos (Wicked Problems), Timothy Morton (Ecology without Nature), Jason W. Moore (Crisis), Anna Munster (Digital Embodiment), Eduardo Navas (Remix[ing] Re/Appropriations), Brett Neilson (Fracking), Sebastian Olma (Biopolitics, Creative Industries, Vitalism), Luciana Parisi (Algorithmic Architecture), Jussi Parikka (Dust Matter), Judith Revel (Common), Ned Rossiter (Dirt Research), Sean Smith (Information Bomb), Hito Steyerl (Spam of the Earth)

Publisher Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, December 2012
Theory on Demand series, No. 8
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Netherlands License
ISBN 9789081857512
via jussiparikka.net

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N. Katherine Hayles: How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (1999)

30 September 2011, dusan

In this age of DNA computers and artificial intelligence, information is becoming disembodied even as the “bodies” that once carried it vanish into virtuality. While some marvel at these changes, envisioning consciousness downloaded into a computer or humans “beamed” Star Trek-style, others view them with horror, seeing monsters brooding in the machines. In How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles separates hype from fact, investigating the fate of embodiment in an information age.

Hayles relates three interwoven stories: how information lost its body, that is, how it came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms that carry it; the cultural and technological construction of the cyborg; and the dismantling of the liberal humanist “subject” in cybernetic discourse, along with the emergence of the “posthuman.”

Ranging widely across the history of technology, cultural studies, and literary criticism, Hayles shows what had to be erased, forgotten, and elided to conceive of information as a disembodied entity. Thus she moves from the post-World War II Macy Conferences on cybernetics to the 1952 novel Limbo by cybernetics aficionado Bernard Wolfe; from the concept of self-making to Philip K. Dick’s literary explorations of hallucination and reality; and from artificial life to postmodern novels exploring the implications of seeing humans as cybernetic systems.

Although becoming posthuman can be nightmarish, Hayles shows how it can also be liberating. From the birth of cybernetics to artificial life, How We Became Posthuman provides an indispensable account of how we arrived in our virtual age, and of where we might go from here.

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 1999
ISBN 0226321460, 9780226321462
350 pages

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Anna Everett, John Thornton Caldwell (eds.): New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality (2003)

23 May 2011, dusan

The mushroom-like growth of new media technologies is radically challenging traditional media outlets. The proliferation of technologies like DVDs, MP3s and the Internet has freed the public from what we used to understand as “mass media.” In the face of such seismic shifts and ruptures, the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of film and TV studies are being shaken to their core. New Media demands a necessary rethinking of the field. Writing from a range of disciplines and perspectives, the scholars here outline new theses and conceptual frameworks capable of engaging the numerous facets of emergent digital technology.

Publisher Routledge, 2003
AFI Film Readers series
ISBN 041593995X, 9780415939959
274 pages

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Patricia Pisters: The Matrix of Visual Culture. Working with Deleuze in Film Theory (2003)

13 October 2010, dusan

This book explores Gilles Deleuze’s contribution to film theory. According to Deleuze, we have come to live in a universe that could be described as metacinematic. His conception of images implies a new kind of camera consciousness, one that determines our perceptions and sense of selves: aspects of our subjectivities are formed in, for instance, action-images, affection-images and time-images. We live in a matrix of visual culture that is always moving and changing. Each image is always connected to an assemblage of affects and forces. This book presents a model, as well as many concrete examples, of how to work with Deleuze in film theory. It asks questions about the universe as metacinema, subjectivity, violence, feminism, monstrosity, and music. Among the contemporary films it discusses within a Deleuzian framework are Strange Days, Fight Club, and Dancer in the Dark.

Publisher Stanford University Press, 2003
Cultural Memory in the Present series
ISBN 0804740283, 9780804740289
303 pages

review (Patricia MacCormack, Senses of Cinema)

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Jane Bennett, William Chaloupka (eds.): In the Nature of Things. Language, Politics, and the Environment (1993)

18 September 2010, dusan

Informed by recent developments in literary criticism and social theory, In the Nature of Things addresses the presumption that nature exists independent of culture and, in particular, of language. The theoretical approaches of the contributors represent both modernist and postmodernist positions, including feminist theory, critical theory, Marxism, science fiction, theology, and botany. They demonstrate how the concept of nature is invoked and constituted in a wide range of cultural projects—from the Bible to science fiction movies, from hunting to green consumerism. Ultimately, it weeks to link the work of theorists concerned with nature and the environment to nontheorists who share similar concerns.

Contributors include R. McGreggor Cawley, Romand Coles, William E. Connolly, Jan E. Dizard, Valerie Hartouni, Cheri Lucas Jennings, Bruce H. Jennings, Timothy W. Luke, Shane Phelan, John Rodman, Michael J. Shapiro, Wade Sikorski.

Publisher U of Minnesota Press, 1993
ISBN 0816623074, 9780816623075
276 pages

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