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.

Alexander R. Galloway: The Interface Effect (2012)

21 December 2012, dusan

“Interfaces are back, or perhaps they never left. The familiar Socratic conceit from the Phaedrus, of communication as the process of writing directly on the soul of the other, has returned to center stage in today’s discussions of culture and media. Indeed Western thought has long construed media as a grand choice between two kinds of interfaces. Following the optimistic path, media seamlessly interface self and other in a transparent and immediate connection. But, following the pessimistic path, media are the obstacles to direct communion, disintegrating self and other into misunderstanding and contradiction. In other words, media interfaces are either clear or complicated, either beautiful or deceptive, either already known or endlessly interpretable.

Recognizing the limits of either path, Galloway charts an alternative course by considering the interface as an autonomous zone of aesthetic activity, guided by its own logic and its own ends: the interface effect. Rather than praising user-friendly interfaces that work well, or castigating those that work poorly, this book considers the unworkable nature of all interfaces, from windows and doors to screens and keyboards. Considered allegorically, such thresholds do not so much tell the story of their own operations but beckon outward into the realm of social and political life, and in so doing ask a question to which the political interpretation of interfaces is the only coherent answer.

Grounded in philosophy and cultural theory and driven by close readings of video games, software, television, painting, and other images, Galloway seeks to explain the logic of digital culture through an analysis of its most emblematic and ubiquitous manifestation – the interface.”

Publisher Polity, 2012
ISBN 0745662528, 9780745662527
170 pages

Review: McKenzie Wark (Public Seminar, 2015).

Publisher

PDF