Eric Snodgrass: Executions: Power and Expression in Networked and Computational Media (2017)

15 August 2017, dusan

“This book looks at questions of power and expression as they are composed in various ways within networked and computationally-informed situations of the present. Drawing from the term as it is originally invoked in practices of computing, the research puts forward execution as a central conceptual framework for its investigations. In a computer program, a program becomes executable when it is able to execute a set of procedures within a designated set of relations and affordances. Similarly, the concept of execution developed here looks at the ongoing negotiations of various formative relations and affordances (technical, cultural, material, political) in practices of execution, describing certain notable techniques applied towards the task of making things executable.

The examples looked at include several dominant media and technology practices of the present, as well as several alternative practices that point to other possible modes of execution. In doing so, the research highlights certain politically-orientated issues involved in questions of execution, working to further develop specific approaches aimed at describing, questioning and intervening into practices of execution as they occur in the world.”

Doctoral Dissertation in Media and Communication Studies
Publisher Malmö University, Malmö, 2017
New Media, Public Spheres and Forms of Expression series, 11
Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 International
ISBN 9789171045065
332 pages
via fcr

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Matthew Fuller: How To Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software (2017)

29 June 2017, dusan

“Computer software and its structures, devices and processes are woven into our everyday life. Their significance is not just technical: the algorithms, programming languages, abstractions and metadata that millions of people rely on every day have far-reaching implications for the way we understand the underlying dynamics of contemporary societies.

In this innovative new book, software studies theorist Matthew Fuller examines how the introduction and expansion of computational systems into areas ranging from urban planning and state surveillance to games and voting systems are transforming our understanding of politics, culture and aesthetics in the twenty-first century. Combining historical insight and a deep understanding of the technology powering modern software systems with a powerful critical perspective, this book opens up new ways of understanding the fundamental infrastructures of contemporary life, economies, entertainment and warfare.

In so doing Fuller shows that everyone must learn ‘how to be a geek’, as the seemingly opaque processes and structures of modern computer and software technology have a significance that no-one can afford to ignore. This powerful and engaging book will be of interest to everyone interested in a critical understanding of the political and cultural ramifications of digital media and computing in the modern world.”

Publisher Polity, 2017
ISBN 9781509517152, 1509517154
x+233 pages

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Timothy Druckrey (ed.): Ars Electronica: Facing the Future: A Survey of Two Decades (1999)

1 March 2017, dusan

“For the past two decades the Austrian-based Ars Electronica, Festival for Art, Technology, and Society has played a pivotal role in the development of electronic media. Linking artistic practice and critical theory, the annual festival and symposium bring together scientists, philosophers, sociologists, and artists in an ongoing discourse on the effects of digital media on creativity—and on culture itself.

Drawing on the resources of Ars Electronica’s publications and archives, this anthology collects the essential works that form the core of a contemporary art long dismissed as too technical or inaccessible. The book includes a critical introduction, full bibliography, and texts and artworks from the key figures in the field.

Among the many contributors are Robert Adrian, Roy Ascott, Jean Baudrillard, Heidi Grundmann, Donna Haraway, Kathy Huffman, Friedrich Kittler, Knowbotic Research, Myron Kruger, Laurent Migonneau, Sadie Plant, Florian Rötzer, Paul Sermon, Carl Sims, Christa Sommerer, Woody Vasulka, Paul Virilio, Peter Weibel, and Gene Youngblood.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1999
Electronic Culture: History, Theory, and Practice series, 1
ISBN 0262041766, 9780262041768
449 pages
via Ars Electronica

Reviews: Beryl Graham (Convergence, 2000), Rhizome (2000), Stephen Wilson (Leonardo, 2001), Yvonne Spielmann (Leonardo, 2001), Matthew Griffin (PAJ, 2002).

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David Link: Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts (2016)

24 November 2016, dusan

“Unearthing the cumulus of transient technologies that underlie the fabric of contemporary society

As historical processes increasingly become steeped in technology, it becomes more and more necessary for a discipline to emerge that is capable of comprehending these materialities beyond their shelf life to better understand the fields they inundate such as science, art, and warfare. This effort is further compromised by the inherent complexity and complete arbitrariness of technical languages – especially when they are algorithmic – along with the rapid pace in which they become obsolete, unintelligible, or simply forgotten. The Turing Machine plays a central role in the Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts, wherein the gradual developments of the individual components encompassed by this complex technology are placed within the context of engineering sciences and the history of inventions. This genealogy also traces the origin of the computer in disciplines such as mathematics, meta-mathematics, combinatorics, cryptology, philosophy, and physics. The investigations reveal that the history of apparatuses that process signs is in no way limited, as one might think, to the second half of the 20th century, rather it is possible that they existed at all times and in all cultures.”

Publisher Univocal Publishing, Minneapolis, 2016
ISBN 9781937561048, 1937561046
207 pages

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Pamela McCorduck: Machines Who Think: A Personal Inquiry into the History and Prospects of Artificial Intelligence, 2nd ed. (1979/2004)

15 November 2016, dusan

“Pamela McCorduck first went among the artificial intelligentsia when the field was fresh and new, and asked the scientists engaged in it what they were doing and why. She saw artificial intelligence as the scientific apotheosis of one of the most enduring, glorious, often amusing, and sometimes alarming, traditions of human culture: the endless fascination with artifacts that think. Machines Who Think was translated into many languages, became an international cult classic, and stayed in print for nearly twenty years.

Now, Machines Who Think is back, along with an extended addition that brings the field up to date in the last quarter century, including its scientific and its public faces. McCorduck shows how, from a slightly dubious fringe science, artificial intelligence has moved slowly (though not always steadily) to a central place in our everyday lives, and how it will be even more crucial as the World Wide Web moves into its next generation.”

First edition published by W. H. Freeman, 1979.

Publisher A.K. Peters, Natick, MA, 2004
ISBN 1568812051, 9781568812052
xxx+565 pages

Reviews: Philip Mirowski (AI Magazine, 2003), Richard Ennals (AI & Society, 2004), Mike Holderness (New Scientist, 2004).

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