D. Fox Harrell: Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression (2013)

13 May 2018, dusan

“An argument that great expressive power of computational media arises from the construction of phantasms—blends of cultural ideas and sensory imagination.

In Phantasmal Media, D. Fox Harrell considers the expressive power of computational media. He argues, forcefully and persuasively, that the great expressive potential of computational media comes from the ability to construct and reveal phantasms—blends of cultural ideas and sensory imagination. These ubiquitous and often-unseen phantasms—cognitive phenomena that include sense of self, metaphors, social categories, narrative, and poetic thinking—influence almost all our everyday experiences. Harrell offers an approach for understanding and designing computational systems that have the power to evoke these phantasms, paying special attention to the exposure of oppressive phantasms and the creation of empowering ones. He argues for the importance of cultural content, diverse worldviews, and social values in computing. The expressive power of phantasms is not purely aesthetic, he contends; phantasmal media can express and construct the types of meaning central to the human condition.

Harrell discusses, among other topics, the phantasm as an orienting perspective for developers; expressive epistemologies, or data structures based on subjective human worldviews; morphic semiotics (building on the computer scientist Joseph Goguen’s theory of algebraic semiotics); cultural phantasms that influence consensus and reveal other perspectives; computing systems based on cultural models; interaction and expression; and the ways that real-world information is mapped onto, and instantiated by, computational data structures.

The concept of phantasmal media, Harrell argues, offers new possibilities for using the computer to understand and improve the human condition through the human capacity to imagine.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
ISBN 9780262019330, 0262019337
xix+420 pages

Reviews: John Harwood (Artforum, 2014), Brian Reffin Smith (Leonardo, 2015).



The Tel Quel Reader (1998)

25 April 2018, dusan

“The work of the French literary review, intellectual grouping and publishing team Tel Quel had a profound impact on the formation of literary and cultural debate in the 1960s and 70s. Its legacy has had enormous influence on the parameters of such debate today. From its beginning in 1960 to its closure in 1982, it published some of the earliest work of Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. It was also associated with some of the key ideas of the French avant-garde, publishing key articles by Georges Bataille and Antonin Artaud.

The Tel Quel Reader presents for the first time in English the key essays written by the Tel Quel group. Essays by Julia Kristeva, one of the review’s editor’s Michel Foucault, and a fascinating interview with Roland Barthes are here made available for the first time in English. It provides a unique insight into the post-structuralist movement and presents some of the pioneering essays on literature and culture, film, semiotics and psychoanalysis.”

Edited by Patrick French and Roland-François Lack
Publisher Routledge, London & New York, 1998
ISBN 0415157137, 9780415157131
ix+278 pages


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Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 4: From Sign to Signal (2012)

24 August 2016, dusan

“Since the 1990s there has been intensified focus on the concepts of performativity, the relational, and affect in the humanities. Scholars from different fields have in a variety of ways embraced these notions in their accounts of contemporary culture, and as such they also form the backdrop of this thematic collection of articles entitled From Sign to Signal. It seems, however, as if today’s media situation–the globally evident usage of media technologies–requires a new theoretical approach in order to deal with the intersections of technology and aesthetics, since in these cases the sign often falls short. It has therefore been the ambition of this collection to invite scholars within the humanities to take part in a discussion on the implications of a gradual shift from a (linguistically framed) paradigm of the sign to a new paradigm connected with media augmented environments.

As the term for this new paradigm we have chosen the ‘signaletic material’, coined by Gilles Deleuze in his book Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Deleuze developed this notion in order to stress that film in his view of contemporary or modern cinema had altogether eliminated classical (literary) thoughts of plot and narration. Toward the end of Cinema 2 it becomes clear that the notion of the ‘signaletic material’ might be developed to cover all kinds of filmic and electronic material as well as the emerging new media technologies.” (from Foreword)

Edited by Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, John Sundholm and Ulla Angkjær Jørgensen
Publisher Co-Action Publishing, Järfälla, Sweden, 2012
Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License
eISSN 2000-4214
134 pages

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