Journal of Visual Culture 13(1): Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man @ 50 (2014)

13 November 2014, dusan

A collection of thirty commissioned 1,000-word essays marking the semicentennial of McLuhan’s Understanding Media, written by Charles R Acland, John Armitage, Ryan Bishop, Jay David Bolter, Antonio A Casilli, Suzanne de Castell, Richard Cavell, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Edward Comor, Wolfgang Ernst, Gary Genosko, W Terrence Gordon, Paolo Granata, Richard Grusin, Erkki Huhtamo, Derrick de Kerckhove, Peter Krapp, Elena Lamberti, Paul Levinson, Henry Lowood, Peter Lunenfeld, Lev Manovich, Janine Marchessault, Shannon Mattern, WJT Mitchell, Jussi Parikka, Jeffrey T Schnapp, Marc Steinberg, Jonathan Sterne, William Uricchio, and Brent Strang.

Edited by Raiford Guins
Publisher Sage, April 2014
ISSN 1470-4129
114 pages



Echte Wagner Margarine, Album 3, Serie 12-13: Zukunftsfantasien (c1930)

7 September 2014, dusan

This image comes from a set of collectible cards issued by the margarine factory Wagner & Co. in the northern German town of Elmshorn, circa 1930. The album is arranged in 36 series of 6 cards each; two of them (12-13) are titled “Zukunftsfantasien” [Fantasies about the Future]. The author of the cards is unknown.

The caption under the image reads: „Drahtloses Privattelefon und Fernseher. Jeder hat nun sein eigenes Sende- und Empfangsgerät und kann sich auf einer bestimmten Welle mit Bekannten und Verwandten unterhalten. Aber auch die Fernseh-Technik hat sich so vervollkommnet, daß man dem Freunde gleichzeitig ins Angesicht schauen kann. Sende- und Empfangsgerät sind nicht mehr an den Ort gebunden, sondern werden in einem Kasten von der Größe eines Photoapparates immer mitgeführt.“

Publisher Heinz Wagner / Holsteinsche Pflanzenbutterfabriken Wagner & Co., Elmshorn in Holstein, c1930
1 of 18 nonpaginated cardboard sheets

More about the album

Low resolution JPG (via)
View online (cards only, on
Cards assembled into a PDF (via)

Annie van den Oever (ed.): Technē/Technology: Researching Cinema and Media Technologies (2014)

25 July 2014, dusan

This fourth title in the series The Key Debates sets out where the term technē comes from, how it unleashed a revolution in thought and how the concept in the midst of the current digital revolution, once again, is influencing the study of film. In addition, the authors – among them André Gaudreault, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Martin Lefebvre, Dominique Chateau, Nanna Verhoeff, Andreas Fickers and Ian Christie – investigate how technologies have affected the major debates about film, how they affected film theory and some of its key concepts. This is one of the rare books to assess the comprehensive history of the philosophies of technology and their impact on film and media theory in greater detail.

Publisher Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2014
Creative Commons BY NC ND License 3.0
ISBN 9089645713, 9789089645715
413 pages


Download (4 MB)

Lisa Parks: Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (2005)

21 June 2014, dusan

In 1957 Sputnik, the world’s first man-made satellite, dazzled people as it zipped around the planet. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than eight thousand satellites orbited the Earth, and satellite practices such as live transmission, direct broadcasting, remote sensing, and astronomical observation had altered how we imagined ourselves in relation to others and our planet within the cosmos. In Cultures in Orbit, Lisa Parks analyzes these satellite practices and shows how they have affected meanings of “the global” and “the televisual.” Parks suggests that the convergence of broadcast, satellite, and computer technologies necessitates an expanded definition of “television,” one that encompasses practices of military monitoring and scientific observation as well as commercial entertainment and public broadcasting.

Roaming across the disciplines of media studies, geography, and science and technology studies, Parks examines uses of satellites by broadcasters, military officials, archaeologists, and astronomers. She looks at Our World, a live intercontinental television program that reached five hundred million viewers in 1967, and Imparja tv, an Aboriginal satellite TV network in Australia. Turning to satellites’ remote-sensing capabilities, she explores the U.S. military’s production of satellite images of the war in Bosnia as well as archaeologists’ use of satellites in the excavation of Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, Egypt. Parks’s reflections on how Western fantasies of control are implicated in the Hubble telescope’s views of outer space point to a broader concern: that while satellite uses promise a “global village,” they also cut and divide the planet in ways that extend the hegemony of the post-industrial West. In focusing on such contradictions, Parks highlights how satellites cross paths with cultural politics and social struggles.

Publisher Duke University Press, 2005
ISBN 0822334615, 9780822334613
256 pages

Review (John Cloud, Technology and Culture, 2006)
Review (Howard Fremeth, Topia, 2006)
Review (Gerald Sim, Screening the Past, 2006)
Review (Fredessa D. Hamilton, The Communication Review, 2007)
Notes from Lisa Parks’ 2008 talk on satellite art (Regine Debatty, We Make Money Not Art)


Download (EPUB)
Download (Alt link)

James R. Beniger: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (1986)

26 April 2014, dusan

James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early 1800s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control. Scores of problems arose: fatal train wrecks, misplacement of freight cars for months at a time, loss of shipments, inability to maintain high rates of inventory turnover. Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: the Control Revolution.

Between the 1840s and the 1920s came most of the important information-processing and communication technologies still in use today: telegraphy, modern bureaucracy, rotary power printing, the postage stamp, paper money, typewriter, telephone, punch-card processing, motion pictures, radio, and television. Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers, and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution. Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: why breakfast was invented, how trademarks came to be worth more than the companies that own them, why some employees wear uniforms, and whether time zones will always be necessary.

Publisher Harvard University Press, 1986
ISBN 0674020766, 9780674020764
493 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (JoAnne Yates, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1988)
Review (Krishan Kumar, Journal of American Studies, 1988)
Review (Kirkus Reviews)

Book-inspired website
Google books

Download (no OCR)

Recent comments
Recent entries
More resources