Archive for the ‘Digital Media’ Category

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The Promise of a New Internet. It’s not too late to rebuild this thing for the people.

July 14, 2014

People tend to talk about the Internet the way they talk about democracy—optimistically, and in terms that describe how it ought to be rather than how it actually is.

This idealism is what buoys much of the network neutrality debate, and yet many of what are considered to be the core issues at stake—like payment for tiered access, for instance—have already been decided. For years, Internet advocates have been asking what regulatory measures might help save the open, innovation-friendly Internet.

But increasingly, another question comes up: What if there were a technical solution instead of a regulatory one? What if the core architecture of how people connect could make an end run on the centralization of services that has come to define the modern net?

It’s a question that reflects some of the Internet’s deepest cultural values, and the idea that this network—this place where you are right now—should distribute power to people. In the post-NSA, post-Internet-access-oligopoly world, more and more people are thinking this way, and many of them are actually doing something about it.

Among them, there is a technology that’s become a kind of shorthand code for a whole set of beliefs about the future of the Internet: “mesh networking.” These words have become a way to say that you believe in a different, freer Internet.

Read full article at The Atlantic

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The Satellite – Visualization Development

July 14, 2014

A detailed account of where we’re at with visualization software for The Satellite including the new generative clouds.

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MIT Finger Device Reads to the Blind in Real Time

July 14, 2014

“Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.”

Read full article at Boston.com

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What Happens When Digital Cities Are Abandoned? Exploring the pristine ruins of Second Life and other online spaces

July 13, 2014

I stand at the junction of several dusty, well-traveled roads. Passersby hurry through, chattering and laughing as they make their way from the city looming in the distance to the north, along the paths to the southeast, which branch out as the land grows less dense, winding through lakes and forests.

I haven’t been here in years, but it’s as familiar to me as if I’d been away only a few weeks. There are no familiar faces, and no one recognizes me. By memory, I make my way along the winding road and soon end up in a clearing by a lake. Trees bend over the water, dragging their tendrils across its mirrored surface. Birds chirp contentedly.

This is it; I’m home.

Sort of.

That’s because, in this case, “home” is actually “grove,” as in “a small wood.” It’s a term used in the text-adventure game I am currently playing, a Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) set in a vaguely Tolkien-esque world with touches of Greek mythology. I spent the better part of five years playing this game, all through high school and into college. It’s still running today, and it remains immersive to an astonishing degree, even compared with contemporary games—it has its own social mores, cultural life, history and folklore. Its political systems are complicated and well-developed, and to this day I still use some of the slang terms that were common. And it’s all presented via simple text on a screen.

Read full article at The Atlantic

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Digioxide: A Pollution Sensor that Converts the Results into Digital Art

July 1, 2014

This project aims to raise public awareness of the environmental pollution by artistic means. Digioxide is a portable wireless device equipped with sensors of air pollution gases and dust particles that is connected to computer via bluetooth. This allows a person with digioxide to freely move around a city, seek out ecologically problematic places and turn their data into digital artworks.

More info via vtol

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University of the People – where students get free degrees

May 14, 2014

Ali Patrik Eid is a happy man right now. A few weeks ago he graduated from a university that he didn’t pay a penny for. He didn’t even have to show up for lectures.

And when his wife gave birth to twins shortly after he started his course in business management, it was no problem for him to take six months off to help take care of them.

He was attending the University of the People (UoPeople), one of a growing number of online universities which are opening new doors to people, particularly in the developing world.

“I have always dreamt about having a degree but I didn’t think I ever would,” the 34-year-old Jordanian told the BBC.

Online learning courses are not new – the University of Phoenix, for example, has been offering 100% online learning since 1987 – but the UoPeople is the first tuition-free online college that grants degrees.

Students are asked to pay a $100 (£58) fee for every exam they take but if they can’t afford it, they can take advantage of a range of available scholarships.

Read Full article at BBC

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How Technology Takes Over English Departments

May 14, 2014

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he humanities are in crisis again, or still. But there is one big exception: digital humanities, which is a growth industry. In 2009, the nascent field was the talk of the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention: “among all the contending subfields,” a reporter wrote about that year’s gathering, “the digital humanities seem like the first ‘next big thing’ in a long time.” Even earlier, the National Endowment for the Humanities created its Office of Digital Humanities to help fund projects. And digital humanities continues to go from strength to strength, thanks in part to the Mellon Foundation, which has seeded programs at a number of universities with large grants—most recently, $1 million to the University of Rochester to create a graduate fellowship.

Despite all this enthusiasm, the question of what the digital humanities is has yet to be given a satisfactory answer. Indeed, no one asks it more often than the digital humanists themselves. The recent proliferation of books on the subject—from sourcebooks and anthologies to critical manifestos—is a sign of a field suffering an identity crisis, trying to determine what, if anything, unites the disparate activities carried on under its banner. “Nowadays,” writes Stephen Ramsay in Defining Digital Humanities, “the term can mean anything from media studies to electronic art, from data mining to edutech, from scholarly editing to anarchic blogging, while inviting code junkies, digital artists, standards wonks, transhumanists, game theorists, free culture advocates, archivists, librarians, and edupunks under its capacious canvas.”

Read Full Article at the NEW REPUBLIC

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The Secret History of Life-Hacking

May 14, 2014

We live in the age of life-hacking. The concept, which denotes a kind of upbeat, engineer-like approach to maximizing one’s personal productivity, first entered the mainstream lexicon in the mid-2000s, via tech journalists, the blogosphere, and trendspotting articles with headlines like “Meet the Life Hackers.” Since then the term has become ubiquitous in popular culture—just part of the atmosphere, humming with buzzwords, of the Internet age.

Variations on a blog post called “50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World” have become endlessly, recursively viral, turning up on Facebook feeds again and again like ghost ships. Lifehacker.com, one of the many horses in Gawker Media’s stable of workplace procrastination sites, furnishes office workers with an endless array of ideas on how to live fitter, happier, and more productively: Track your sleep habits with motion-sensing apps and calculate your perfect personal bed-time; learn how to “supercharge your Gmail filters”; oh, and read novels, because it turns out that “reduces anxiety.” The tribune of life hackers, the author and sometime tech investor Timothy Ferriss, drums up recipes for a life of ease with an indefatigable frenzy, and enumerates the advantages in bestselling books and a reality TV show; outsource your bill payments to a man in India, he advises, and you can enjoy 15 more minutes of “orgasmic meditation.”

Read Full Article at PSMAG

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AirChat: Free Communications for Everyone

May 14, 2014

Airchat is a free communication tool, free as in ‘free beer’ and free as in ‘Jeremy Hammond must be freed’. It doesn’t need the internet infrastructure, nor does it need a cellphone network, instead it relies on any available radio link (or any device capable of transmitting audio – we even made a prototype working with light/laser based transmissions).

This project was conceived not only from our lessons learned in the Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian revolutions, but also from the experience of OccupyWallStreet and Plaza del Sol. We have considered the availability of extremely cheap modern radio devices (like those handhelds produced in China), to start thinking about new ways in which people can free themselves from expensive, commercial, government controlled and highly surveilled infrastructure.

AirChat is not only our modest draft or proposal for such a dream, but it is a working PoC you can use today. we hope you will enjoy it and we also hope that you too will be able to feel the beauty of free communications, free communications as in ‘free beer’ and free communications as in ‘free yourself and your people forever’.

All text and images via Airchat.

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THE END OF FACEBOOK. I know you know…Just reiterating.

May 14, 2014

Sure, at this point we just continue with Facebook because it is interesting to see the collapse of a city, we were brought into, from within.

“It is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

“It is not truth that matters, but victory.”
― Adolf Hitler

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SCiO, the Pocket Molecular Sensor

April 30, 2014

A small consumer-level molecular scanner lets you analyze the objects around you for relevant information, from food calories or quality, medicine, nature, etc.

When you get your SCiO, you’ll be able to:

Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more.
See how ripe an Avocado is, through the peel!
Find out the quality of your cooking oil.
Know the well being of your plants.
Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions.
Authenticate medications or supplements.
Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on Earth to our database. Even yourself.

The Kickstarter was launched a few day ago and made it’s $200,000 goal within 24 hours – the potential for this tech is huge. Watch the video embedded below to see the potential:

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Eagle Mode

April 30, 2014

Desktop interface plugin developed from 2011 by Oliver Hamann has a file management system which requires zooming in and out the folders you wish to access.

Eagle Mode is an advanced solution for a futuristic style of man-machine communication in which the user can visit almost everything simply by zooming in. It has a professional file manager, file viewers and players for most of the common file types, a chess game, a 3D mines game, a netwalk game, a multi-function clock and some fractal fun, all integrated in a virtual cosmos. Besides, that cosmos also provides a Linux kernel configurator in form of a kernel patch.

By featuring a separate popup-zoomed control view, help texts in the things they are describing, editable bookmarks, multiple input methods, fast anti-aliased graphics, a virtually unlimited depth of panel tree, and by its portable C++ API, Eagle Mode aims to be a cutting edge of zoomable user interfaces.

Eagle Mode is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 3.

There are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux (and possibly one for Android too).

You can find out more at the project’s website HERE

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Delivery For Mr. Assange, a 32-hour live mail art

October 22, 2013

«Delivery for Mr. Assange» is a 32-hour live mail art piece performed on 16 and 17 January 2013. On 16 January 2013 !Mediengruppe Bitnik posted a parcel addressed to Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The parcel contained a camera which documented its journey through the Royal Mail postal system through a hole in the parcel. The images captured by the camera were transferred to this website and the Bitnk Twitter account in realtime. So, as the parcel was slowly making its way towards the Ecuadorian embassy in London, anyone online could follow the parcel’s status in realtime.

The parcel was a REAL_WORLD_PING, a SYSTEM_TEST, inserted into a highly tense diplomatic crisis. Julian Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012. Although he was granted political asylum by Ecuador in August 2012, he is unable to leave the embassy premises for fear of being arrested by UK authorities.

We wanted to see where the parcel would end up. Whether it would reach its destination. And which route it would take. Would it be removed from the postal system? Or would it successfully complete the system test and reach Julian Assange.

After aprox. 32 hours and a journey in various postal bags, vans and through delivery centers, the parcel was delivered to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in the afternoon of 17 January 2013. By that time several thousand people had gathered on Twitter to follow the tantalizing and intense journey. The experiment was crowned by Julian Assanges live performance for the camera.

Text and Image via !Mediengruppe Bitnik. See +++ THERE

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Senses Of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound

October 22, 2013

The study of the senses has become a rich topic in recent years. Senses of Vibration explores a wide range of sensory experience and makes a decisive new contribution to this growing field by focussing not simply on the senses as such, but on the material experience – vibration – that underpins them.
This is the first book to take the theme of vibration as central, offering an interdisciplinary history of the phenomenon and its reverberations in the cultural imaginary. It tracks vibration through the work of a wide range of writers, including physiologists (who thought vibrations in the nerves delivered sensations to the brain), physicists (who claimed that light, heat, electricity and other forms of energy were vibratory), spiritualists (who figured that spiritual energies also existed in vibratory form), and poets and novelists from Coleridge to Dickens and Wells. Senses of Vibration is a work of scholarship that cuts through a range of disciplines and will reverberate for many years to come.

Senses of Vibration
A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound
By: Shelley Trower

Text & Image via Bloomsbury

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The Illustrated History of Projection Mapping

October 22, 2013

While projection mapping has recently exploded into the conciousness of artists and advertisers everywhere, the history of projection mapping dates back longer than you may imagine.

If you try Googling for “Projection Mapping” you won’t find anything older than 3 years. That is because projection mapping’s older, academic name is “Spatial Augmented Reality”. The field is also known as “video mapping”, but projection mapping seems to be winning out in the United States.

For the purposes of this history, I’m only including work that considered projection onto an arbitrarily complex surfaces. Projection onto flat and cylindrical/spherical surfaces has a much older history and goes back to the invention of cinema.

Via Projection Mapping Central. See it HERE

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September 24, 2013

Via dvdp

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Virtual Violence, Immersion, and Harun Farocki

September 17, 2013

War, seen by the lay viewer through the lens of television news, seems distant; the people and the lands in the images are Other — other people, other cultures, other lands, other tragedies. War is not something that happens to me. War happens to others, elsewhere.

Read Full Articles:

How to Live in a Game Harun Farocki’s War Games

Virtual Violence: On war at a distance.

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SIMON STÅLENHAG’S DIGITAL PAINTINGS OF A DYSTOPIAN FUTURE

September 17, 2013

bon

http://www.simonstalenhag.se/

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Paperscape: A map of 871,888 scientific papers from the arXiv until today

September 11, 2013

A chart of 870,000 scientific studies so far. Paperscape shows each scientific paper as a circle, with the size of each determined by how many others cite it. Users can toggle the heat map, which colors each study according to its age. ArXiv began in 1991. A cluster around the topic dark energy shows that it spans multiple fields, including quantum cosmology, quantum physics, and condensed matter.

The study of the universe is a universe itself. An infographic designed by two physicists maps the hundreds of thousands of studies in arXiv, an open repository for physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, finance, and statistics papers that is maintained by Cornell University. The category of a paper’s research determines the color of its circle, and the more cited the paper is, the bigger its circle. Each marker is placed according to the number of references it takes to get from it to each other paper. Accordingly, papers are clustered around topics, such as extrasolar planets, dwarf stars, and superconductivity. Some multicolored clusters show where disciplines intersect around topics like neutrinos, dark matter, dark energy, and networks. Toggle the heat map to color each study according to its age to see which topics are getting the most attention. To learn more about how the infographic works, see its blog.

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The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Games, a Manifesto.

September 10, 2013

Previous centuries have been defined by novels and cinema. In a bold manifesto we’re proud to debut here on Kotaku, game designer Eric Zimmerman states that this century will be defined by games.ore

Below is Zimmerman’s manifesto, which will also appear in the upcoming book The Gameful World from MIT press. We invite you to read it, to think about it and even to annotate it. Zimmerman’s manifesto is followed by an exploration of the ideas behind it, in an essay by author and professor Heather Chaplin. In the days to come, we’ll be expanding the discussion even further with perspectives from other gamers and game-thinkers. But let’s start with the big ideas. Let’s start with a manifesto by gamers, about games, for the world we live in…

Games are ancient.

Digital technology has given games a new relevance.

The 20th Century was the century of information.

In our Ludic Century, information has been put at play.

In the 20th Century, the moving image was the dominant cultural form.

The Ludic Century is an era of games.

We live in a world of systems.

There is a need to be playful.

We should think like designers.

Games are a literacy.

Gaming literacy can address our problems.

In the Ludic Century, everyone will be a game designer.

Games are beautiful. They do not need to be justified.

Expand on each of these claims HERE

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IR SCANS HUMANS and their Multi-Sky 3D Scan Demo

September 10, 2013

Infinite Realities® is the 3D scanning service provided by Lee Perry-Smith, the leading 3D modelling and Scanning specialist based in Suffolk, UK. In simple terms, according to them: “We can scan any human being and replicate them in three dimensions as data held in a computer. Our scanning process picks up every detail of their eyes, face, hair, skin colour, body shape and distinguishing features – everything that makes them who they are.”

A downloadable demo by Infinite-Realities put together in Unity features high resolution 3D scans of people in a virtual environment. Incredibly realistic, and can be viewed through an Occulus Rift headset. You really need a next-gen PC to run this demo.

Below are two videos which demonstrate the demo:

Combining 3D scans of real life models in ultra high detail with the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra for movement controls to make one of the most realistic and uncanny experiences in Virtual Reality.

Thanks to Yoni Goldstein.

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3-Sweep: Extracting Editable Objects from a Single Photo

September 10, 2013

Impressive demonstration of turning 2D objects in photographs into manipulable 3D objects, using a simple 3 point method at key areas. Via kesen.realtimerendering.com

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September 8, 2013

Via Reuben-Thomas

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MONA LISA in 80 milliseconds

September 7, 2013

In a presentation made at Nvidia’s NVISION show, Adam and Jamie, hosts of the known mythbusters show compared a CPU vs a GPU to explain parallel processing and the GPU blasted a mona lisa painting in 80 milliseconds using a 1100 barrel paintball gun.

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How Do Our Brains Process Music? by David Byrne

August 3, 2013

In an excerpt from his new book, David Byrne explains why sometimes, he prefers hearing nothing:

“I listen to music only at very specific times. When I go out to hear it live, most obviously. When I’m cooking or doing the dishes I put on music, and sometimes other people are present. When I’m jogging or cycling to and from work down New York’s West Side Highway bike path, or if I’m in a rented car on the rare occasions I have to drive somewhere, I listen alone. And when I’m writing and recording music, I listen to what I’m working on. But that’s it.

I find music somewhat intrusive in restaurants or bars. Maybe due to my involvement with it, I feel I have to either listen intently or tune it out. Mostly I tune it out; I often don’t even notice if a Talking Heads song is playing in most public places. Sadly, most music then becomes (for me) an annoying sonic layer that just adds to the background noise.

As music becomes less of a thing—a cylinder, a cassette, a disc—and more ephemeral, perhaps we will start to assign an increasing value to live performances again. After years of hoarding LPs and CDs, I have to admit I’m now getting rid of them. I occasionally pop a CD into a player, but I’ve pretty much completely converted to listening to MP3s either on my computer or, gulp, my phone! For me, music is becoming dematerialized, a state that is more truthful to its nature, I suspect. Technology has brought us full circle.”

Text and Image via the Smithsonian. Continue THERE

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Techné/Dance/Dechné/Tance: body+motion+computation

August 2, 2013

This is only a small selection of recent dance work and therefore is a omitting a long list of dance collectives, performance artist, and other experimental movers/thinkers who have contribute tremendously to the development of what you will see below. Thanks to all of them.

SERAPH(2010): Created by Robby Barnett, Molly Gawler, Renée Jaworski, and Itamar Kubovy in collaboration with the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, directed by Prof. Daniela Rus and including current and former MIT PhD students William Selby, Brian Julian, Daniel Soltero, Andrew Marchese, and Carrick Detweiler (graduated, now assistant professor at University of Nebraska, Lincoln). Music: Schubert Trio no.2 in E Flat, Op.100. ll Andante con moto

Anarchy Dance Theatre (From the project description): The collaboration project between Anarchy Dance Theatre and Ultra Combos focused on building up a new viewer centered performance venue. In this space all movements including the dancers’ and audience’s can be detected and interact with each other through visual effect. The audience is not merely watching the show but actively participating in it. More HERE

Trinity (From the project description): a dance performance with high levels of real time interaction and close relationship between: dance, sound and visuals.

The interactive link is done through a videocamera installed above the stage and under infrared lighting. Besides positional tracking the project is focus in measuring movement qualities as: forces and directions, accelerations, stage position, velocity and body area.

The performance has been created and executed in live using the environment MAX/MSP/JITTER by Cycling74 and the computer vision library CV.JIT by Jean-Marc Pelletier. More HERE

Dance and Projection Mapping from Daito Manabe (http://www.daito.ws/#2)

Instrumental Bodies (From the project description): Researchers at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab at McGill University recently released a video documentary on the design and fabrication of “prosthetic digital instruments” for music and dance. These instruments are the culmination of a three-year long project in which the designers worked closely with dancers, musicians, composers and a choreographer. The goal of the project was to develop instruments that are visually striking, utilize advanced sensing technologies, and are rugged enough for extensive use in performance.

The complex, transparent shapes are lit from within, and include articulated spines, curved visors and ribcages. Unlike most computer music control interfaces, they function both as hand-held, manipulable controllers and as wearable, movement-tracking extensions to the body. Further, since the performers can smoothly attach and detach the objects, these new instruments deliberately blur the line between the performers’ bodies and the instrument being played. More HERE

Cadence I – IV (The artist’s description): The institution of the military is steeped in performative traditions, rituals and practices. Indeed the collective military body can be thought of as being characterised by a carefully calibrated choreography of movement.

Cadence (2013) is a series of four new-media artworks whose subject sits between war and performance. In these new video works, the figure of the Australian, US and Taliban soldier is placed within formal landscapes appropriated from pro-military cinema and military training simulators.

Rather than enacting standard military gestures or postures, the simulated soldier performs a slow and poetic dance. The usual politics of movement, discipline and posture of the military body are subverted, and instead rendered soft and expressive.

The seductive visual rhythm of cadence, camouflage and natural mimicry in these works gesture towards the dark mysticism of military history, where soldiers and psychedelics have often combined to disrupt landscapes and produce mystic escapes.

Technological backstage – Mr & Ms Dream a performance by Pietragalla Derouault Company & Dassault Systèmes: a behind-the-scenes process, showing how a dance piece that uses projection and real-time processing is put together.

Gideon Obarzaneks Digital Moves: Hailed by The Australian as the countrys best modern dance company, choreographer Gideon Obarzaneks Chunky Move dazzles audiences with its use of site-specific installations and interactive sound and light technologies. Obarzanek’s avant-garde performances explore the tensions between the rational world we live in and richness of our imagination.

Dance techne: Kinetic bodily logos and thinking in movement.

…and a beautiful composition by Ryoji Ikeda called Forest Of Memories. Taken from dumb type’s memorandum. A performance that brings their unique audiovisual architectonics to an investigation of memory.

Memorandum (Text via Epidemic): Combining elements of multimedia, dance and fragmented narrative, memorandum explores the hazy dimensions of recall that ground and disquietly erode our experience minute-by-minute.
The set is simple – almost an abstraction. A bare stage is bisected by an impenetrable but translucent wall, a screen onto which will be projected a barrage of images.
Amidst a cascade of white noise and REM-speed visual flashes, the performers break down the motions into displaced gestures in silhouette.
Penetrating deeper beneath the surface of moment, dancers drift in a slow sensual subconscious slidestep through the “forest of memory” haunted by voices and desires.

Unnoticed by waking reason, a lone witness/observer records evidence of the scene and is repeatedly eliminated.
Whereupon three figures cycle through three different accelerated subroutines of emotion, instinct and intellect, scarcely intersecting, each oblivious to the oblique “orbital” workings of the other.
Until finally, the dance emerges onto a primal oceanic frieze simultaneously flooded and exhausted of meanings.

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Anti-Media. Ephemera on Speculative Arts

July 23, 2013

Florian Cramer, lecturer at the Rotterdam based Willem de Kooning Academy, demonstrates in his new collection of essays Anti-Media, how media and art critique constantly reflect on their own tradition, language and manifestations, while at the same time trying to subvert them.

In the essays Cramer presents and analyzes a wide range of subcultures – from Internet porn to neo-Nazi’s and anti-copyright activists – and offers a critical view on their imagery and poetry, plagiarism and automatisms.

Cramer asserts that art coexists with ‘anti-art’, and that the term ‘media’ is just as vague, or unfixed, as is ‘art’. Even so, both ‘art’ and ‘media’ resist elimination, and this is why the author introduces the term ‘anti-media’. Anti-media is what remains when people eliminate the concept of media – whether old or new – yet fail to discard it.

In this spirited collection of essays, Anti-Media, Florian Cramer discusses a thought-provoking variety of topics that come together in an unexpected manner. The topics range from internet art, pop culture and 17th century poetry, to electronic literature, amateurism, post-digitality, Rotterdam and Rosicrucians. Anti-Media proposes that high, low and subcultures can no longer be separated from each other, and that this also holds for the extent to which they refer to each other.

Text and Image via Network Cultures

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Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts

July 9, 2013

Digital technologies offer the possibility of capturing, storing, and manipulating movement, abstracting it from the body and transforming it into numerical information. In Moving without a Body, Stamatia Portanova considers what really happens when the physicality of movement is translated into a numerical code by a technological system. Drawing on the radical empiricism of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead, she argues that this does not amount to a technical assessment of software’s capacity to record motion but requires a philosophical rethinking of what movement itself is, or can become.

Discussing the development of different audiovisual tools and the shift from analog to digital, she focuses on some choreographic realizations of this evolution, including works by Loie Fuller and Merce Cunningham. Throughout, Portanova considers these technologies and dances as ways to think—rather than just perform or perceive—movement. She distinguishes the choreographic thought from the performance: a body performs a movement, and a mind thinks or choreographs a dance. Similarly, she sees the move from analog to digital as a shift in conception rather than simply in technical realization. Analyzing choreographic technologies for their capacity to redesign the way movement is thought, Moving without a Body offers an ambitiously conceived reflection on the ontological implications of the encounter between movement and technological systems.

Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts by Stamatia Portanova. Text and Image via MIT Press

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Participatory Composition: Video Culture, Writing, and Electracy

July 9, 2013

Like. Share. Comment. Subscribe. Embed. Upload. Check in. The commands of the modern online world relentlessly prompt participation and encourage collaboration, connecting people in ways not possible even five years ago. This connectedness no doubt influences college writing courses in both form and content, creating possibilities for investigating new forms of writing and student participation. In this innovative volume, Sarah J. Arroyo argues for a “participatory composition,” inspired by the culture of online video sharing and framed by theorist Gregory Ulmer’s concept of electracy.

Electracy, according to Ulmer, “is to digital media what literacy is to alphabetic writing.” Although electracy can be compared to digital literacy, it is not something shut on and off with the power buttons on computers or mobile devices. Rather, electracy encompasses the cultural, institutional, pedagogical, and ideological implications inherent in the transition from a culture of print literacy to a culture saturated with electronic media, regardless of the presence of actual machines.

Arroyo explores the apparatus of electracy in many of its manifestations while focusing on the participatory practices found in online video culture, particularly on YouTube. Chapters are devoted to questions of subjectivity, definition, authorship, and pedagogy. Utilizing theory and incorporating practical examples from YouTube, classrooms, and other social sites, Arroyo presents accessible and practical approaches for writing instruction. Additionally, she outlines the concept of participatory composition by highlighting how it manifests in online video culture, offers student examples of engagement with the concept, and advocates participatory approaches throughout the book.

Arroyo presents accessible and practical possibilities for teaching and learning that will benefit scholars of rhetoric and composition, media studies, and anyone interested in the cultural and instructional implications of the digital age.

Text and Image via Amazon Books