Eglė Rindzevičiūtė: The Power of Systems: How Policy Sciences Opened Up the Cold War World (2016)

28 January 2021, dusan

“In The Power of Systems, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė introduces readers to one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War: the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an international think tank established by the U.S. and Soviet governments to advance scientific collaboration. From 1972 until the late 1980s IIASA in Austria was one of the very few permanent platforms where policy scientists from both sides of the Cold War divide could work together to articulate and solve world problems. This think tank was a rare zone of freedom, communication, and negotiation, where leading Soviet scientists could try out their innovative ideas, benefit from access to Western literature, and develop social networks, thus paving the way for some of the key science and policy breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

Ambitious diplomatic, scientific, and organizational strategies were employed to make this arena for cooperation work for global change. Under the umbrella of the systems approach, East-West scientists co-produced computer simulations of the long-term world future and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, using global modeling to explore the possible effects of climate change and nuclear winter. Their concern with global issues also became a vehicle for transformation inside the Soviet Union. The book shows how computer modeling, cybernetics, and the systems approach challenged Soviet governance by undermining the linear notions of control on which Soviet governance was based and creating new objects and techniques of government.”

Publisher Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2016
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781501703188, 1501703188
xi+292 pages

Reviews: Roundtable: Barbara Czarniawska, Jenny Andersson, Claudia Aradau, Paul Rubinson, author’s response (H-Diplo, 2019), Kristine C. Harper (Isis, 2018), Benjamin Peters (Slavic Review, 2019), Gerald Easter (American Historical Review, 2018), Jeanne Morefield (J History of Ideas, 2020), Laurent Coumel (Cahiers du monde russe, 2018, FR), Una Bergmane (Lithuanian Historical Studies, 2018), Christian Dayé (Serendipities, 2018).

Publisher, (2)
OAPEN
WorldCat

PDF (19 MB)

Olga Goriunova (ed.): Fun and Software: Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in Computing (2014)

14 December 2014, dusan

Fun and Software offers the untold story of fun as constitutive of the culture and aesthetics of computing. Fun in computing is a mode of thinking, making and experiencing. It invokes and convolutes the question of rationalism and logical reason, addresses the sensibilities and experience of computation and attests to its creative drives. By exploring topics as diverse as the pleasure and pain of the programmer, geek wit, affects of play and coding as a bodily pursuit of the unique in recursive structures, Fun and Software helps construct a different point of entry to the understanding of software as culture. Fun is a form of production that touches on the foundations of formal logic and precise notation as well as rhetoric, exhibiting connections between computing and paradox, politics and aesthetics. From the formation of the discipline of programming as an outgrowth of pure mathematics to its manifestation in contemporary and contradictory forms such as gaming, data analysis and art, fun is a powerful force that continues to shape our life with software as it becomes the key mechanism of contemporary society.”

Texts by Andrew Goffey, Simon Yuill, Matthew Fuller, Luciana Parisi and M. Beatrice Fazi, Adrian Mackenzie, Michael Murtaugh, Geoff Cox and Alex McLean, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Andrew Lison, Christian Ulrik Andersen, Brigitte Kaltenbacher, Annet Dekker, and Olga Goriunova.

Publisher Bloomsbury, New York and London, 2014
New Media and Technology series
ISBN 1623560942, 9781623560942
285 pages

Software studies page on Monoskop

Publisher

PDF, ARG

Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey: Evil Media (2012)

30 November 2013, dusan

Evil Media develops a philosophy of media power that extends the concept of media beyond its tried and trusted use in the games of meaning, symbolism, and truth. It addresses the gray zones in which media exist as corporate work systems, algorithms and data structures, twenty-first century self-improvement manuals, and pharmaceutical techniques. Evil Media invites the reader to explore and understand the abstract infrastructure of the present day. From search engines to flirting strategies, from the value of institutional stupidity to the malicious minutiae of databases, this book shows how the devil is in the details.

The title takes the imperative “Don’t be evil” and asks, what would be done any differently in contemporary computational and networked media were that maxim reversed.

Media here are about much more and much less than symbols, stories, information, or communication: media do things. They incite and provoke, twist and bend, leak and manage. In a series of provocative stratagems designed to be used, Evil Media sets its reader an ethical challenge: either remain a transparent intermediary in the networks and chains of communicative power or become oneself an active, transformative medium.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2012
ISBN 0262304406, 9780262304405
235 pages

Review: Nicholas Holm (Media Int’l AU, 2013).
Evil media on Monoskop wiki

Publisher

PDF (updated on 2016-10-13)
HTML (added on 2015-8-28)

See also YoHa, et al., Evil Media Distribution Centre, 2013.