Craig Dworkin: No Medium (2013)

10 January 2014, dusan

(photo source)

“In No Medium, Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent, writing critically and substantively about works for which there would seem to be not only nothing to see but nothing to say. Examined closely, these ostensibly contentless works of art, literature, and music point to a new understanding of media and the limits of the artistic object.

Dworkin considers works predicated on blank sheets of paper, from a fictional collection of poems in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée to the actual publication of a ream of typing paper as a book of poetry; he compares Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing to the artist Nick Thurston’s erased copy of Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature (in which only Thurston’s marginalia were visible); and he scrutinizes the sexual politics of photographic representation and the implications of obscured or obliterated subjects of photographs. Reexamining the famous case of John Cage’s 4’33”, Dworkin links Cage’s composition to Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, Ken Friedman’s Zen for Record (and Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film), and other works, offering also a “guide to further listening” that surveys more than 100 scores and recordings of “silent” music.

Dworkin argues that we should understand media not as blank, base things but as social events, and that there is no medium, understood in isolation, but only and always a plurality of media: interpretive activities taking place in socially inscribed space.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
ISBN 0262018705, 9780262018708
219 pages

Interview with the author (Critical Margins)
Author’s lecture at Penn Poetry & Poetics (video, 19 min)

Reviews: Johanna Drucker (Los Angeles Review of Books), Michael Leong (Hyperallergic).
Commentary: Richard Marshall (3:AM Magazine).



Alexander Halavais: Search Engine Society (2008)

2 January 2013, dusan

Search engines have become a key part of our everyday lives. Yet while much has been written about how to use search engines and how they can be improved, there has been comparatively little exploration of what the social and cultural effects might be. Like all technologies, search engines exist within a larger political, cultural, and economic environment. This volume aims to redress this balance and to address crucial questions such as:

* How have search engines changed the way we organize our thoughts about the world, and how we work?
* What are the ‘search engine wars’, what do they portend for the future of search, and who wins or loses?
* To what extent does political control of search engines, or the political influence of search engines, affect how they are used, misused, and regulated?
* Does the search engine help shape our identities and interactions with others, and what implications does this have for privacy?

Informed members of the information society must understand the social contexts in which search engines have been developed, what that development says about us as a society, and the role of the search engine in the global information environment. This book provides the perfect starting point.

Publisher Polity, 2008
Digital Media and Society series
ISBN 0745642152, 9780745642154
196 pages

google books


Culture Machine, 13: Paying Attention (2012)

24 July 2012, dusan

“This issue of Culture Machine sets itself two interrelated tasks in response to the scope and implications of these interrelated positions concerning attention, consciousness, culture, economics and politics. Firstly, it interrogates the notion of attention as it is elaborated in approaches to the attention economy and to media as forms of attention capture. The essays by three leading contributors to thinking in and around these themes, Bernard Stiegler, Tiziana Terranova, and Jonathan Beller, have such an interrogation as their principal task. They develop different, overlapping and sometimes contrasting perspectives on how a critical reposing of the question of attention might reframe its purchase on the central themes of the relation between interiority and exteriority, minds and media, economics and culture. The interview with Michel Bauwens, and the essays by Ben Roberts and Sy Taffel, are also working toward this end in that they identify various limitations and exclusions of the predominant articulation of the attention economy and move toward alternative, more productive, ethical or socially just formulations.

The second task of this issue is pursued in the essays of Tania Bucher, Martin Thayne, Rolien Hoyng and the three contributions to the additional section of the issue. These three – from Ruth Catlow, Constance Fleuriot and Bjarke Liboriussen – represent less scholarly but no less acute strategic inquiries into the thinking and re-making of what Stiegler calls attentional technics. Together, these contributions address particular instantiations of media forms, design practices and phenomena – from Facebook and Second Life to pervasive media design and Istanbul’s digitally mediated City of European Culture project – as a way of exploring and critically inflecting the implementation of the attention economy. This second mode moves from material phenomena to theoretical analysis and critique, while the first goes the other way. As we have argued, however, the necessity of the traffic between them is a central tenet of how we endeavour to pay attention to contemporary digital technoculture in this issue.” (from the introduction)

Edited by Patrick Crogan and Samuel Kinsley
Publisher Open Humanities Press
Open Access
ISSN 1465-4121

PDFs (updated on 2019-5-8)