Category Archives: technology

Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means

By Siegfried Zielinski (2006)
Drawing on original source materials, Zielinski explores the technology of devices for hearing and seeing through two thousand years of cultural and technological history. He discovers the contributions of “dreamers and modelers” of media worlds, from the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles and natural philosophers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods to Russian avant-gardists of the early twentieth century. “Media are spaces of action for constructed attempts to connect what is separated,” Zielinski writes. He describes models and machines that make this conncection: including a theater of mirrors in sixteenth-century Naples, an automaton for musical composition created by the seventeenth-century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, and the eighteenth-century electrical tele-writing machine of Joseph Mazzolari, among others. Uncovering these moments in the media-archaeological record, Zielinski says, brings us into a new relationship with present-day moments; these discoveries in the “deep time” media history shed light on today’s media landscape and may help us map our expedition to the media future.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, technology, theory

New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader

Edited by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Thomas W. Keenan (2005)
A comprehensive anthology of original and classic essays that explore the tensions of old and new in digital culture. Leading international media scholars and cultural theorists interrogate new media like the Internet, digital video, and MP3s against the backdrop of earlier media such as television, film, photography, and print. The essays provide new benchmarks for evaluating all those claims–political, social, ethical–made about the digital age. Committed to historical research and to theoretical innovation, they suggest that in the light of digital programmability, seemingly forgotten moments in the history of the media we glibly call old can be rediscovered and transformed. The many topics explored in provocative volume include websites, webcams, the rise and fall of dotcom mania, Internet journalism, the open source movement, and computer viruses.

Posted in art, education, history, media, technology, theory

Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews

By Krzysztof Wodiczko (1999)
Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most original avant-garde artists of our time, is perhaps best known for the politically charged images he has projected onto buildings and monuments from New York to Warsaw–images of rockets projected onto triumphal arches, the image of handcuffed wrists projected onto a courthouse facade, images of homeless people in bandages and wheelchairs projected onto statues in a park from which they had been evicted. Critical Vehicles is the first book in English to collect Wodiczko’s own writings on his projects. Wodiczko has stated that his principal artistic concern is the displacement of traditional notions of community and identity in the face of rapidly expanding technologies and cultural miscommunication. In these writings he addresses such issues as urbanism, homelessness, immigration, alienation, and the plight of refugees. Fusing wit and sophisticated political insight, he offers the artistic means to help heal the damages of uprootedness and other contemporary troubles.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, interview, media, philosophy, politics, technology

Inside Design Now: The National Design Triennial

By Donald Albrecht, Ellen Lupton, Mitchell Owens, and Susan Yelavich (2003)
Inside Design Now takes the pulse of American design in the new millennium, providing a fascinating tour of cutting-edge trends in architecture, interiors, landscape, fashion, graphics, and new media.
Featuring eighty emerging and established designers – including 2 x 4, Mike Mills, Peter Eisenman, Fuse Project, Tod Machover, Paula Scher, Jennifer Siegal, and Isaac Mizrahi – Inside Design Now illustrates the most innovative and provocative thinking in design today. Each designer’s work is presented with a double-page spread and a series of full-color images. Essays explore the role of the designer in today’s culture, contemporary ideas of beauty and functionality, and what the future holds in the realm of design. Sensuous materials, lush patterns, and exquisite details come together with new technologies, pop imagery, and fresh approaches to scale, color, and construction in the works reproduced in this volume.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, exhibition, media, technology, typography

Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture

By Geert Lovink (2002)
In Dark Fiber, Lovink combines aesthetic and ethical concerns and issues of navigation and usability without ever losing sight of the cultural and economic agendas of those who control hardware, software, content, design, and delivery. He examines the unwarranted faith of the cyber-libertarians in the ability of market forces to create a decentralized, accessible communication system. He studies the inner dynamics of hackers’ groups, Internet activists, and artists, seeking to understand the social laws of online life. Finally, he calls for the injection of political and economic competence into the community of freedom-loving cyber-citizens, to wrest the Internet from corporate and state control.

Posted in culture, media, politics, technology

Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again

By Andy Clark (1996)
Brain, body, and world are united in a complex dance of circular causation and extended computational activity. In Being There, Andy Clark weaves these several threads into a pleasing whole and goes on to address foundational questions concerning the new tools and techniques needed to make sense of the emerging sciences of the embodied mind. Clark brings together ideas and techniques from robotics, neuroscience, infant psychology, and artificial intelligence. He addresses a broad range of adaptive behaviors, from cockroach locomotion to the role of linguistic artifacts in higher-level thought.

Posted in consciousness, language, science, technology

Digital Mantras: The Language of Abstract and Virtual Worlds

By Steven Holtzman (1995)
Holtzman, who holds a doctorate in computer science, provides a highly stimulating discussion of the integration of music, art, and language with recent trends in computer technology. He traces the evolution of formal abstract structures as they exist in the music of Schoenberg and Boulez, the art of Kandinsky, and the language grammars of Chomsky. Since computers have the capability to manipulate structures, the author contends that we have reached new frontiers of unexplored artistic creativity; he foresees new worlds of creative expression-that is, “virtual worlds.” This text wisely addresses the issues of dissonance in electronic music and human emotion and understanding in the creative process. Holtzman’s journey into “virtual reality,” sprinkled with a touch of Indian mysticism, is a totally intelligible, enjoyable venture.

Posted in art, history, language, media, music, philosophy, science, technology

Remediation: Understanding New Media

By Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin (2000)
Media critics remain captivated by the modernist myth of the new: they assume that digital technologies such as the World Wide Web, virtual reality, and computer graphics must divorce themselves from earlier media for a new set of aesthetic and cultural principles. In this richly illustrated study, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin offer a theory of mediation for our digital age that challenges this assumption. They argue that new visual media achieve their cultural significance precisely by paying homage to, rivaling, and refashioning such earlier media as perspective painting, photography, film, and television. They call this process of refashioning “remediation,” and they note that earlier media have also refashioned one another: photography remediated painting, film remediated stage production and photography, and television remediated film, vaudeville, and radio.

Posted in art, media, technology, theory

Design Culture Now

By Ellen Lupton and Donald Albrecht (2000)
This is the first-ever survey of American design that cuts across the four disciplines of architecture, product design, graphic design, and new media. Put together by the National Design Museum surveys the up-to-the-minute trends in American design from architecture to product and graphic design to new media. This comprehensive survey catalogs the best in architecture, interiors, environments, landscapes, products, furniture, fashion, objects, typefaces, posters, publications, film and TV graphics, and interactive media from the last three years.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, exhibition, media, technology, typography

Being & Time: The Emergence of Video Projection

By Marc Mayer (1996)
One of the first catalogues to examine seriously the growing use of video in contemporary art practice. It features the work of established masters of the field such as Gary Hill, Bruce Nauman and Bill Viola as well as Diana Thater and Willie Doherty.

Posted in art, cinema, exhibition, history, media, technology