'While the 20th-century experimental culture was seized by a recombinatorial delirium, which made it feel as if newness was infinitely available, the 21st century is oppressed by a crushing sense of finitude and exhaustion. It doesn't feel like the future. Or, alternatively, it doesn't feel as if the 21st century has started yet. We remain trapped in the 20th century, just as Sapphire and Steel were incarcerated in their roadside café' (p. 8).
'Note that from the beginning of interaction research the idea of a common goal was already in question, and in fact inheres interaction as mutual and simultaneous activity on the part of both participants, usually working toward some goal – but... not necessarily' (p. 10).
'The library was even more hushed than usual' (p. 1).
'But humans are not automatons solving problems by algorithm. They have inherited that peculiar offshoot of human evolution—self-consciousness—which allows them to imagine what others might be thinking of them and to dream up embarrassing scenarios that might not even be close to happening. A computer is unembarrassable. Although it may be hyperintelligent, it is too rational to care what a person, or indeed another computer, thinks of it. A computer cannot be shy' (p. 55).
'Before an image, finally, we have humbly to recognize this fact: that it will probably outlive us, that before it we are the fragile element, the transient element, and that before us it is the element of the future, the element of permanence. The image often has more memory and more future than the being who contemplates it' (from 'Before the Image, Before Time: The Sovereignty of Anachronism' // 2000, by Georges Didi-Huberman, p. 35).
'There are certain moments of looking at a familiar mountain which are unrepeatable. A question of a particular light, an exact temperature, the wind, the season. You could live seven lives and never see the mountain quite like that again; its face is as specific as a momentary glance across a table at breakfast. A mountain stays in the same place, and can almost be considered immortal, but to those who are familiar with the mountain, it never repeats itself. It has another timescale' (p. 50).
'He asks us to imagine what it was like, to put ourselves in the hawk's bewildered, infant mind; to experience the heat and noise, confusion and terror that was its journey to his door. "It must have been like death," he wrote, "the thing which we can never know beforehand"' (p. 60).
'Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive – it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?' (p. 19).
'Everything must have a beginning, to speak in Sanchean phrase; and that beginning must be linked to something that went before. The Hindus give the world an elephant to support it, but they make the elephant stand upon a tortoise. Intervention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances but cannot bring into being the substance itself' (Author's Introduction, xxvi).
'If you want to understand what connective communication is, think of the syntactic overlapping and semantic identification between syntactic machines that have the same format. When human beings want to take part in a connection, they must previously accept the syntactic reduction of the contents of their exchange to the format of the machines that are carrying their signs' (p. 173).
This week I'm chairing the Computer Culture area at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, NM where I'm presenting a paper called The Balancing Act Between Machine and Emotional Intelligence.
The newest issue of Metaverse Creativity journal, edited by Denise Doyle and Yacov Sharir and published by Intellect Ltd., includes my essay 'Self-made: Constructing identity at the threshold between virtual and physical realms', which focuses on the work of New York City-based multimedia artist Carla Gannis.
'This civilization is on fire; the whole thing is capsizing and sinking.' – Guy Debord, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, 1978
I'm entering my third year as chair of the Computer Culture area of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference. The 38th annual meeting will be held February 15–18, 2017 in Albuquerque, NM. Here is a detailed CFP, and there are more details on the conference website. The submission database is open through November 1, 2016.
From August 18-24, I will be the researcher-in-residence at Signal Culture in Owego, NY. I plan to work on three (!) writing projects during this week of uninterrupted reading, reflecting, and writing.
I'm so delighted to be part of SVA's Art in the First Person series and have the opportunity to discuss my new book, Vanishing Points: Articulations of Death, Fragmentation, and the Unexperienced Experience of Created Objects, with photographer Dina Kantor. Her Treece series is a significant part of my discussion on photography in Chapter 6.
Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 6:30 pm | 133 West 21st Street, Room 101C
As the title suggests, The Importance of Abstraction discusses what I believe is the most significant feature of video games, and pushes for additional abstract thinking and conceptualizing in games. It was presented at the Different Games Conference earlier this year, and now lives here among several other select papers in this special issue.