Adrian Johns: Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (2009)

26 July 2010, dusan

Since the rise of Napster and other file sharing services in its wake, most of us have assumed that intellectual piracy is a product of the digital age and that it threatens creative expression as never before. The Motion Picture Association of America, for instance, claimed that in 2005 the film industry lost $2.3 billion in revenue to piracy online. But here Adrian Johns shows that piracy has a much longer and more vital history than we have realized—one that has been largely forgotten and is little understood.

Piracy explores the intellectual property wars from the advent of print culture in the fifteenth century to the reign of the Internet in the twenty-first. Written with a historian’s flair for narrative and sparkling detail, the book swarms throughout with characters of genius, principle, cunning, and outright criminal intent: in the wars over piracy, it is the victims—from Charles Dickens to Bob Dylan—who have always been the best known, but the principal players—the pirates themselves—have long languished in obscurity, and it is their stories especially that Johns brings to life in these vivid pages.

Brimming with broader implications for today’s debates over open access, fair use, free culture, and the like, Johns’s book ultimately argues that piracy has always stood at the center of our attempts to reconcile creativity and commerce—and that piracy has been an engine of social, technological, and intellectual innovations as often as it has been their adversary. From Cervantes to Sonny Bono, from Maria Callas to Microsoft, from Grub Street to Google, no chapter in the story of piracy evades Johns’s graceful analysis in what will be the definitive history of the subject for years to come.

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2009
ISBN 978-0-226-40118-8, 0-226-40118-9
626 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-15)

Thomas Elsaesser, Malte Hagener: Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses (2010)

13 July 2010, dusan

What is the relationship between cinema and spectator? That is the central question for film theory, and renowned film scholars Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener use this question to guide students through all of the major film theories—from the classical period to today—in this insightful, engaging book. Every kind of cinema (and film theory) imagines an ideal spectator, and then imagines a certain relationship between the mind and body of that spectator and the screen. Using seven distinctive configurations of spectator and screen that move progressively from ‘exterior’ to ‘interior’ relationships, the authors retrace the most important stages of film theory from 1945 to the present, from neo-realist and modernist theories to psychoanalytic, ‘apparatus’, phenomenological and cognitivist theories.

Publisher Taylor & Francis Group, 2010
ISBN 041580101X, 9780415801010
222 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-14)

Jack Burnham: Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of This Century (1968)

11 July 2010, dusan

Examines the materialistic and psychological factors responsible for dominant trends in twentieth-century sculpture.

Publisher George Braziller, New York, 1968
ISBN 0807607150, 9780807607152
402 pages

Reviews: Walter Darby Bannard (Artforum, 1969), Louis Vaczek (Technology and Culture, 1970), James Ackerman (The New York Times Books, 1969, Burnham’s response), Charlotte Willard (The Saturday Review, 1969)

PDF (updated on 2014-3-27)

Matthew Biro: The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin (2009)

9 July 2010, dusan

Finding the cyborg in early twentieth-century German art

In an era when technology, biology, and culture are becoming ever more closely connected, The Dada Cyborg explains how the cyborg as we know it today actually developed between 1918 and 1933 when German artists gave visual form to their utopian hopes and fantasies in a fearful response to World War I.

In what could be termed a prehistory of the posthuman, Matthew Biro shows the ways in which new forms of human existence were imagined in Germany between the two world wars through depictions of cyborgs. Examining the work of Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Otto Dix, and Rudolf Schlichter, he reveals an innovative interpretation of the cyborg as a representative of hybrid identity, as well as a locus of new modes of awareness created by the impact of technology on human perception. Tracing the prevalence of cyborgs in German avant-garde art, Biro demonstrates how vision, hearing, touch, and embodiment were beginning to be reconceived during the Weimar Republic.

Biro’s unique and interdisciplinary analysis offers a substantially new account of the Berlin Dada movement, one that integrates the group’s poetic, theoretical, and performative practices with its famous visual strategies of photomontage, assemblage, and mixed-media painting to reveal radical images of a “new human.”

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2009
ISBN 0816636206, 9780816636204
318 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-7-25)

Cristina Venegas: Digital Dilemmas: The State, The Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba (2010)

9 July 2010, dusan

The contentious debate in Cuba over Internet use and digital media primarily focuses on three issues—maximizing the potential for economic and cultural development, establishing stronger ties to the outside world, and changing the hierarchy of control. A growing number of users decry censorship and insist on personal freedom in accessing the web, while the centrally managed system benefits the government in circumventing U.S. sanctions against the country and in controlling what limited capacity exists.

Digital Dilemmas views Cuba from the Soviet Union’s demise to the present, to assess how conflicts over media access play out in their both liberating and repressive potential. Drawing on extensive scholarship and interviews, Cristina Venegas questions myths of how Internet use necessarily fosters global democracy and reveals the impact of new technologies on the country’s governance and culture. She includes film in the context of broader media history, as well as artistic practices such as digital art and networks of diasporic communities connected by the Web. This book is a model for understanding the geopolitic location of power relations in the age of digital information sharing.

Publisher Rutgers University Press, 2010
New Directions in International Studies
ISBN 0813546877, 9780813546872
Length 229 pages

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