YoHa, et al.: Evil Media Distribution Centre (2013)

18 May 2015, dusan

“Evil Media Distribution Centre is a response to the book Evil Media (2012) by Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey. In that book the authors argue for a broader notion of media and a deeper, more complex understanding of how these grey media influence the way we behave, think and perceive.

‘Grey media’ produce the working environment of administrators, professionals, delivery operatives and arranges the movements and work-arounds of everyone from chief executives to intellectuals or cleaners. They are the background to contemporary society. Using them, getting round their failures, exploiting their specific qualities, forms part of the necessary knowledge of the present day. These things mediate, transform, encode, filter and translate relations. Fuller and Goffey include a broad definition of media to include things like middle management, neurotropic or suppressant drugs that treat the body as an information system, alongside things such as queuing systems or specific algorithms or data–structures.

Assisted by Transmediale, Tom Keene, Anna Blumenkranz and other members of the Open Systems Association, YoHa (Graham Harwood & Matsuko Yokokoji) had invited people to write a text of one hundred words about an object, its genealogy, any key factors that make it amenable to manipulation. This text was then presented together with the object in a cabinet of curiosities that at the same time evoked associations with a distribution centre. A key fact of grey media is its ready quality of dryness, one bordering temptingly on boredom and this is something we asked people to maintain when writing the text.

The project has been installed at Transmediale 2013 in Berlin and The Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam.” (from YoHa’s statement)

Review: Stephen Fortune (2013).

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

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Computational Culture, a Journal of Software Studies, Issue Three (2013)

18 November 2013, dusan

This issue of the journal treats “the database [as] one of the crucial social technologies of our time. As such, it is in urgent need of technically informed critical analysis, the kind of analysis that has tended to be demoted in favour, for instance, of the more semiotically amenable exploration of the more obviously cultural widgets and interfaces of the front end of Web 2.0 technologies. Yet the history of the development of the database casts an interesting light on otherwise frequently algorithm-centric eulogies to the development of computing.” (from the Editorial)

With contributions by Michael Castelle, Evelyn Ruppert, Anne Helmond, Taina Bucher; reviews by Thor Magnusson, Harry Halpin, Håkan Råberg, Alan F. Blackwell, and Lone Koefoed Hansen.

Editorial group: Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey, Olga Goriunova, Graham Harwood, Adrian Mackenzie
Published in November 2013
ISSN 2047-2390

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