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Annotated Biblography

Posted by Tristen Goodwin on

Are Video Games redefining what the humanities mean to us? Could every game be considered a digital humanities project, by the stance of how it is produced and how it is received? This is a look at how digital methods that are performed by digital humanists are used for the production of this medium

By looking at the ways video games engage in the digital practices that DH performs, we can see how they are a part but yet not a part of the digital humanities or the humanities for that matter. By looking at the production of games and looking at the different media that exist within it, one can dissect each facet of the game and discover how it relates to DH. But… the impact it is where we see an extension of a game being communicated about in many technological forms from videos to online forums. This is a look on how people engage with games, break down the construction of them, and how it contributes to the society that we are in.

Harig, Dominik “Inside and Outside the Game.” Computer Games and New Media Cultures (2012): 93-106.

This chapter is about the relationship between game and player and the communication that happens between that party. Communication could be the information being transferred through button presses and visual response of those presses, or omitted input. The way that the player communicates with the game, give the game information of what the player is doing and how the player is doing in the game. However this piece also brings up communication in multiplayer games as player identifies with this avatar and can interact with other players via the avatar’s actions or actual messages. This is the side effect of immersion that players as they see themselves as the avatar on the screen.

Steinkuehler, Constance. “Video Games and Digital Literacies.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 54, no. 1, 2010, pp. 61-63. ProQuest, http://ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/docview/750429343?accountid=7287.

A small paper relating how video games affect young students in their studies, but allow them to delved in digital literacy, a sort of consequence after playing games where it allows discourse between the players and the games. Steinkuehler is asking what the relationship between literacy and video games is, where he goes on to say that video gameplay is a form of digital literacy. I am using this piece to connect the lines of what one of the consequence of video games as a medium of pop culture can have with a pedagogical lens. However he goes on to point out how video games have a strong mutual relationship as many fans or consumers express their reaction to each game on discussion board, fan fictions, and the like.


Feige, Daniel Martin. “Computer Games as Works of Art.” Computer Games and New Media Cultures (2012): 93-106.

This is a discussion of what art means and the aesthetics that we hold for art in general. He believes that finding relational properties instead of intrinsic ones will allow us to regard something as a work of art. He takes a philosophical lens of aesthetics and looks at the ludology as well as the narratology of games to determine their place as artworks. I plan to use this piece to show the thought process of how video games can be seen and how it cannot be categorized simply as an artwork because of the variables that come in producing certain games. Each game has its own genre, world, narrative, limitations and boundaries, and how all those things express themselves in a form of game is what brings my question to surface.


Murray, Sarah C. “Blog: Video Games and Ancient War-Gaming as Pedagogy.” Society for Classical Studies, Society for Classical Studies, 1 May 2017, classicalstudies.org/scs-blog/sarah-murray/blog-video-games-and-ancient-war—gaming-pedagogy.

Dr. Murray uses games for a pedagogical practice, using Rome: Total War for her students to display an understanding of ancient war. The process of doing this allowed a sort of immersion within the idea of ancient war and presented the idea of how to engage with this idea. This is a text of how pedagogical practices become different when implementing video games; a facet that digital humanities mainly implement within the projects that are developed. Murray allowed the students to control their own learning environment by letting them set up customized battles where there are choices such as geographical locations, factions, the amount of troops and their disposition on the battlefield.  This presents a clear understanding of how video games can assist in the classroom and ultimately pedagogical environments.


Jones, Steven E. “The Emergence of the Digital Humanities (as the Network Is Everting).” Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis; London, 2016, p. 3.

The idea of how digital humanities have everted where there is now a connection between the digital world and physical world. Around 2006, there have been prominent technological advances, as well as the sudden acknowledgement of digital humanities. The attention towards new media has been refined towards fully acknowledging video games and video game theories. These practices allowed helped pushed digital humanities towards eversion. This recognize video games as one of the most prominent forms of new media under a digital humanist context, showing the bridge that this medium brings into scholarship.  How they structure relationships between the data and the player, or the data and the actual game to even going through this term “gamification” which is employing gameplay attributes to things that aren’t a game. E.g. A leaderboard in an exercise application.


Patrick Jagoda. “Gaming the Humanities.” Differences, vol. 25, no. 1, 2014, pp. 189–215.

“What does it mean to include new media- let alone digital games- in a discussion about the digital humanities?” Jagoda argues that games require new ways of perceiving and working, as they promote this pro social behavior to where players can perceive problems differently. She goes through the idea of gamification where games become capitalized, even though at its core, games does use modes of intellects that would be found in the humanities. She also break down how games made, and affect the players playing them from the multiple learning styles to the ways that the games engage them.


Heineman, David “Chris Melissinos: ART AND VIDEO GAMES.” Thinking about Video Games: Interviews with the Experts, Indiana University Press, BLOOMINGTON; INDIANAPOLIS, 2015, p. 36.

This piece is an interview with Chris Melissinos about his exhibition The Art of Video Games that was curated for the Smithsonian Art Museum. The exhibition was presenting games as an art form and not just the art that is used to conceptualize the game. The understanding of trying to find an intent or to interpret meaning from video games when Melissinos brings up how people can play games differently. Players can understand the intent of a game from the director, but can always grasp some meaning from their subjective background making a game be placed in between these ideas. Though the perceiving of games as art is taking the entire content including the code and seeing the humanity inside it.


Hergenrader, Trent. “The Place of Videogames in the Digital Humanities.” On the Horizon, vol. 24, no. 1, 2016, pp. 29–33.

This piece speaks on how game culture spans out across different mediums that primarily lie on an online space such as wikis, walkthroughs, hints and so on and the controversies that lives on those spaces. It also touches upon the rhetoric of how games are experienced and how they should be critiqued for the language and representation of people, places, and things. It explores games in different facets that would help create an understanding for digital humanists, by expressing a balance of between technology and humanistic thought. Games are flexible tools that can either be studied separately or integrated in a curriculum.


Sandifer, Philip. “Avatari: Disruption and Imago in Video Games.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Avatari: Disruption and Imago in Video Games, 2009, www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/3/3/000066/000066.html.


Sandifer breaks down video games components from the controllers that are used to the actual character on the screen. An avatari is an avatar (or controlled character) that experience something that the player wouldn’t want to happen. Sandifer express the different forms of an avatar and the complexities they have due to the generational expanse of technology such as how a controller currently have more buttons and joysticks compared to Super Nintendo controller that had a directional button pad and four buttons. This paper looks at video games and analyze just the practical forms of how it operates and what the player is experiencing. Sandifer argues that if a game creates a virtual world, then it is not a medium, which I find interesting for my research. If it isn’t a medium, could there be another way to quantify video games within the sphere of digital humanities than just referring it as new media?



Vrabel, Jeff. “Why do my kids waste hours watching millennials play video games on YouTube?” Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2017. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A509252023/AONE?u=cuny_gradctr&sid=AONE&xid=1d27b5ff.


This article is a funny critique about how there is an online community of gamers that persist in game culture through video. While I didn’t think I would get anything substantial about it, I found that in a way it’s a type of pedagogy being done in a unique type of way. While this piece is a small comparison between generations and how active they was, it also show the activeness of game culture, which made me consider my claim of games redefining the humanities as we know it. But the humanities interact with people on a social level, as it is always a reflection of on the subjectivity of the creator as they detail the environment that surrounds them. This however shows what happen when people who witness a creator work and their response to it.




Annotated Bibliography

Posted by Pedro Cabello del Moral on


I came to this course with the vague idea of learning more about Digital Humanities and using that knowledge to interpret and problematize the 15M or Indignados movement. I was motivated by the intention to have a digital component in my dissertation in which I could make use of some form of DH to contribute to what I will be researching in parallel to more conventional approaches.

Throughout the different sessions, I have been inspired by the manifold branches of the DH and their possibilities for interpreting and problematizing the cultural, political and social aspects of our societies. In particular, my ideas have been strongly influenced by the insights from scholars who warn about the perils of reproducing the system of inequalities in the digital realm and turn their eyes to a more democratic, more horizontal, and freer use of the DH.

A hypothetic final paper for this class would draw from Social Movements Studies alongside the critiques of DH that are coming from Race, Gender and Class analyses, Critical Theory, and Postcolonial Studies.

When I first started to conceptualize this paper, I tried to find ways in which I could use digital tools to examine the online traces of the Indignados movement: their twitter accounts, their blogs, their websites or the YouTube channels. In doing that I had to conceive the Indignados movement as a digital one.

This task proved unsatisfactory because I was not using the right approach. After reading authors like Safiya Noble, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Johanna Drucker, and so forth, I have become aware of the necessity of treating 15M’s digital manifestations as different ways of producing knowledge. Rather than seeing them as raw material for scholar interpretation, these digital artifacts are themselves engaged in the work of analysis. This stance would diverge from any false pretention of a scientific unbiased analysis and consequently would entail a move forward in the sheer interpretative use of DH.

Some of the articles that I am including in this bibliography deal directly with the digital production of 15M. Other sources take a more general perspective and would be useful to delineate the theoretical framework in which I will inscribe the analyses of the specific examples of my case study.


Castells, Manuel. Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the Internet age. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

Castells was one of the first scholars who established connections between the 2011 uprisings in different parts of the world through their use of digital media. He provides insightful examples from which to lay out an analysis of the digital production of 15M’s participants in relation to the international context. His use of the rhizome metaphor points to a different conception of these networks, bringing about their alternative and counterhegemonic potential thanks to their ideas of participatory democracy, but above all their use of imaginative and unprecedented practices.

Barreiro, Belén. La sociedad que seremos: digitales, analógicos, acomodados y empobrecidos. Planeta, 2017.

This book proposes a digital division of Spanish society (analogs vs. digitals) in relation to a socioeconomic division created by the crisis (well-off vs. impoverished). Its author, the former director of the Sociologic Research Center, depicts a new distribution of the society affected by the crisis and shaped by the new political subjectivity that stemmed from the 15M.

I would use Barreiro’s ideas to buttress the argument that the 15M was (and continues to be) a digital movement based on the demographic conditions of its participants. In the same way that the author applies her hypothesis to the electoral outputs and the new parties’ supporters, I would look for continuities between what was digitally produced by the movement and the new platforms put in place by the new political actors who define themselves as heir of the Indignados’ spirit.

de Ramón Carrión, Manuel. “Las redes sociales 2.0 como fuentes informativas en las revoluciones y movimientos populares de 2011:(Túnez, Egipto y 15-m). Resultados de la encuesta a periodistas españoles.” TecCom Studies: Estudios de Tecnología y Comunicación 4 (2012): 367-375.

This article gives account of the use of social media in the Occupy movements of Tunisia, Egypt and Spain. His tone is more informative than analytic, but the fact that the author reproduces first hand testimonies from Spanish journalists would provide me with a privileged access to primary sources.

de Soto, Pablo. “Los mapas del #15M: el arte de la cartografía de la multitud conectada.” 15MP2P. Una mirada transdisciplinar del 15M (2014): 363-387.

De Soto compares different maps created by the 15M to contextualize the dimension and outspread of the movement, to locate services, or more importantly, to trace networks of production of knowledge, such as wikis and databases. He interprets the technopolitical dimension of 15M as an open source revolution in which knowledges, techniques, practices, and strategies are collectively learnt, replicated and enhanced by a connected multitude. Cartography is framed by de Soto within the logic of the production of the commons. In his view, maps generate processes of subjetivation through the depiction of alternative worlds.

This “art of cartography by a connected multitude,” as the author names it, would be considered in my paper as one of the main branches of the 15M production of knowledge within the realm of DH.

Fuster Morell, Mayo. “From digital commons to society commons: Influence of the free culture movement in the 15M mobilization.” Crisis and Social Mobilization in Contemporary Spain: The 15M Movement. Routledge (2017): 54-72.

This article suggests a process of continuity between participatory democracy in the squares and participation and deliberation in digital forums and platforms. That is an important gesture toward the consideration of 15M as a digital movement. Unlike many scholars who see digital activism as a precedent of the 2011 protests and mobilizations, Fuster understands it in fruitful dialogue with the non-virtual practices. The text goes beyond the period of 15M to include the subsequent iterations of the Indignados spirit, such as the housing movement, the ties in defense of public health and education, and the coalitions of parties and social movements which won the municipal elections of 2014.

Jenkins, Henry, et al. Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Mit Press, 2009.

Jenkins et al. define participatory culture as relationships “with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, with strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others, with some type of informal mentorship (…), where members believe that their contributions matter, and where members feel some degree of social connection with one another.” This framework is useful to consider the 15M mobilizations, their political impact, and their digital productions as forms of culture that challenge institutions.

Liu, Alan. “Where is cultural criticism in the digital humanities?” Debates in the digital humanities (2012): 490-509.

Liu claims that in order to be a full partner of the mainstream humanities, DH has to engage with cultural criticism. Digital spaces democratize the ideas of expert and scholar being at the vanguard of the production of knowledge. From that position a unique opportunity for leadership in the humanities arises. Digital Humanities has the potential to scale into thinking critically about power relations, finances and other governance protocols.

Liu’s ideas are inspiring in terms of assuring the role of DH in the production of knowledge and in dialogue with contemporary processes of political innovation and social transformation.

Losh, Elizabeth. “Hacktivism and the humanities: Programming protest in the era of the digital university.” Debates in the digital humanities (2012): 161-186.

Losh’s article is a recollection of several practices of hacktivism hosted by or related to university campuses. These practices are rooted in the tradition of university activism, but also part of a “new vanguard of networked digital culture in which protests in the temporary autonomous zones of computational media are rhizomatic, sporadic, and even ironic in the rhetorical stances that they adopt.” The author sees a relationship between “the old guard of political organizers and a new cadre of programmers” in the way they use dissensus.

As Losh says, the use of hacktivism theory offers an alluring critical approach to broaden the understanding of digital tools and to engage with a more critical dimension of Digital Humanities.

Peña-López, Ismael, Mariluz Congosto, and Pablo Aragón. “Spanish Indignados and the evolution of the 15M movement on Twitter: towards networked para-institutions.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 15.1-2 (2014): 189-216.

The authors define the movement in terms of network citizen politics characterized by decentralization, swarm-like actions and intensive used of information and communication technologies. They compare and contrast the use of Twitter by 15M activist and new political actors within formal democratic institutions. According to the authors, both seem to have a similar use of Politics 2.0, but with very different purposes and dissimilar vocabulary. The fact that there is no inter-institutional dialogue points to the fundamental break with the institutions that the 15M entailed; and thereby, to the necessity of considering Indignados’ uses of social media an alternative, counterhegemonic methods of creation of meaning.

Rice, Jeff. “Occupying the digital humanities.” College English 75.4 (2013): 360-378.

The author focuses on a photograph of the Occupy movement to draw attention to the way knowledge is created in the digital humanities. He posits suggestion, what the photograph is doing, as a method of activating a network of forces in digital environments which would generate their own suggestions (memes, video commentaries, blog or Facebook posts, etc.) from the original source. Suggestion, insofar as it re-mythologizes interpretation, offers an alternative digital humanities approach aligned with the counterhegemonic practices of the Occupy movements. Inspired by the possibilities of DH, Rice encourages humanities to move beyond hermeneutics to consider other approaches relevant to the production of meaning.

I would translate Rice analysis to the context of the Spanish uprising and the diverse materials that could fit this transformative notion of suggestion as” a process of re-mythologizing, not a settling on a reading or understanding.”


Annotated Bibliography – Materiality, Mediation, Control

Posted by Taylor Dietrich on

Approaching the Digital Humanities

ENGL 89500: Spring 2018 – CUNY Graduate Center

Professor Matthew gold

Annotated Bibliography: 5/1/18







Media Archaeology

Future of the Book



Project Idea: Tool that helps bolster memory for oral transmission of texts that utilizes deformance methodologies – Enhanced Orality

Human body as infrastructure for information preservation/dissemination


Works Cited

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter a Political Ecology of Things. Duke University Press, 2010. 

Bennett’s argues in her compelling monograph Vibrant Matterthat political and social theory often disregards the nonhuman forces that shape events. She conceptualizes a “vital materiality” that works from within and without, through and across bodies, both human and non-human. Agency emerges, she argues, as a result of the effects of an “ad hoc configuration of human and nonhuman forces”. In political analysis we often favor the impact of the human, disregarding altogether the impact that objects and materials have on the playing out of political events. She constructs theoretical implications of her vital materialism by deftly examining a variety of recognizable, common things (stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash). By engaging with historical concepts from a range of philosophers and thinkers (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Darwin, and Adorno to name a few) she discloses the makings of a robust historical framework for thinking about matter vibrantly. Although her book is ultimately a political one, it has a range of applications for the study of materiality within the digital humanities. I intend to examine her theories concerning their implications for media archaeology and the future of the book.

Boissoneault, Lorraine. “A Brief History of Book Burning, From the Printing Press to Internet Archives.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 31 Aug. 2017, www.smithsonianmag.com/history/brief-history-book-burning-printing-press-internet-archives-180964697/.

In her article “A Brief History of Book Burning, From the Printing Press to the Internet Archives,” Boissoneault quotes John Milton, “’Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature… but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself—’”. Boissonealt examines the history of book burning and the potential for digital technology to prevent the reoccurrence of similar events. The main thrust of her article compares the contextual circumstances that lead to historically noteworthy instances of mass book burning, and the impact that technology has had and may still have on book burning’s significance. The introduction of the printing press allowed for the mass proliferation of books, thereby mostly preventing full erasure of the book artifact. However, she points out, that even when knowledge itself isn’t prevented from reaching the public, the symbolic weight of book burning is dangerous in its own right (i.e. the famous Nazi book burnings in the late 1930’s). Digital technology and the internet seem to offer books a potential immortality. However, Boissoneault points out that hardware and software obsolescence, along with concerns around server space constraints problematize that potential. The article argues that the core motivations for book burning historically, as well as in our networked digital age remain the same: “prioritizing one type of information over another.” As we theorize the future of the book, we must come to terms with this reality, and anticipate new formal inoculations against the future of book burning.

Frow, J. (2001). A pebble, a camera, a man who turns into a telegraph pole. Critical Inquiry, 28(1), 270-285.

What makes complex objects more than a bag of parts? In “A pebble, a camera, a man who turns into a telegraph pole” John Frow lays out a subtle yet critical meditation on things. I see this piece as a complimentary article to Roland Barthes Camera Lucidawhereby Barthes examines the subject of the photograph, as well as the experience of looking at photos, Frow takes a look at the camera as artifact, and how it relates to the infrastructure that gives it meaning. He doesn’t limit himself to the camera. He turns his gaze to simple natural objects as well, like a pebble, and examines its thingness in an attempt to draw out a potential world where “persons and things are partly strangers and partly kin.” (276) This work, in contrast to Jane Bennett’s “Vibrant Matter” attempts an examination of objects and materials that focuses on an individuation that frees things from “instrumental status.” (277) He examines different models of ontology, actor network theory, Gadamer’s definition of things against use, as well as the status of the work of art. The political economies of Marx and Hurkheimer, as well as the poetry of Rilke and Herbet Zbigniew, lay groundwork for this critical inquiry into the nature of “thingness”.

Gabrys, Jennifer. Digital Rubbish: a Natural History of Electronics. University Of Michigan Press, 2013. 

In Digital Rubbish Jennifer Gabrys examines the material life of information in the electronic age. She studies the infrastructure of information devices, their life and afterlife with a cultural material mapping of the spaces and trajectories of how hardware, and the information within, accumulate, breakdown, are preserved, and pass away. This study largely ignores the popular green conscious focus on “digital” infrastructure’s immateriality. She explores 5 interrelated “spaces” that make up a robust infrastructure of materiality: Silicon Valley, Nasdaq, Containers bound for China, Museums and Archives that preserve obsolete electronics, to the obsolescent repository that is represented by the rubbish landfill. When considering the mechanisms, infrastructures, networks, and power players that control information, it’s necessary to take a deep dive into the ways material impacts the equation. I plan to engage this text from the perspective of “vibrant matter” ala Jane Bennett and consider infrastructure as a key player in the future of scholarly communications.

Gleick, James. The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood. Fourth Estate, 2012. 

In The Information, James Gleick tackles the subject of information broadly, and how it has transformed the nature of human consciousness. This is a historical journey through the archives of communication and information sharing. Gleick tackles the subject in broad strokes by interrogating a variety of communication mediums, some familiar, others more exotic, including the language of Africa’s talking drums, the invention of alphabets, the electronic transmission of code, and the origins of information theory. He turns his vast learning on the current internet age, with an explication of news feeds, tweets, and blogs. This is a title that is a good jumping off point, where I expect to be able to follow threads into places he may not have had the inclination or space to take them. He profiles key figures in the history information theory, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and Samuel Morse to name a few. I expect to take up this text with the idea of potentially tracking the allographic journey of a title that has its origins in our western oral tradition (say, the Iliad), through it’s written form, and perhaps posit it’s continued journey into new forms and models.

Ong, Walter J., and John Hartley. Orality and Literacy:the Technologizing of the Word. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2013.

Walter Ong’s “Orality and Literacy” is a classic work of scholarship that interrogates the differences between the oral and written traditions within the western canon. He examines the change in thought and expression brought about by the introduction of physical, symbolic representations preserved by written records. Rhetoric is a primary focus of Ong’s investigation, and he examines the impact of rhetoric on the psychodynamics and consciousness of discourse. This work is organized as an introduction to a deep, complex history and draws on aspects of his other, more situated scholarly works. A fascinating aspect of his argument involves the notion of an “oral residue” that Ong argues exists in written texts. With essays like “Writing Restructures Consciousness,” “Print Space and Closure” and “Some Psychodynamics of Orality” Ong’s collection is a classic on the social effects of oral, written, printed, and electronic technologies and the implications of their use for information gathering and sharing on philosophical, theological, scientific, and literary thought. I intend to examine this work for hints at not just the psychological and social effects, but also the implications for subjective impact on individuals from a formal, material perspective.

Passannante, Gerard Paul. The Lucretian Renaissance: Philology and the Afterlife of Tradition. The University of Chicago Press, 2011. 

With The Lucretian Renaissance, Gerard Passannante provides a radical reinterpretation of the rise of materialism in early modern Europe. By charting the ancient philosophical notion that the world is composed of two fundamental opposites: Epicurean atoms, unchangeable and in motion in the void, as well as the void itself, Passannante points out that this philosophical system survived the Renaissance in transmission by a poem—”a poem insisting that the letters of the alphabet are like the atoms that make up the universe.” This philosophy of atoms and the void reemerged in the Renaissance as a story about reading and letters, materialized within a physical text. Drawing on the works of Virgil, Macrobius, Petrarch, Poliziano, Lambin, Montaigne, Bacon, Spenser, Gassendi, Henry More, and Newton, The Lucretian Renaissance “recovers a forgotten history of materialism in humanist thought and scholarly practice.” It also illustrates a unique scenario around what it means for a text(poem and philosophy) to change forms. This work will be useful for digital humanities scholars concerned with new media, materiality, and book archaeology.

Peters, John Durham. The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. University of Chicago Press, 2016. 

In The Marvelous Clouds John Durham Peters defines media rather broadly as “elements that compose the human world.” Although media in this way can be thought of as a sort of environment, Peters notes that the reverse can also be true, the environment itself forms a potential media. Drawing from ideas in media philosophy, he argues that media are the “infrastructures combing nature and culture that allow human life to thrive.”(4) Contemplating the many ancient and current, nearly universal means that people employ to sustain and bolster life, coping with the struggle to survive (navigation, farming, meteorology, Google) Peters shows how media lie at center of human interaction with the world.

In the introduction, Peters writes “’Media,’ understood as the means by which meaning is communicated, sit atop layers of even more fundamental media that have meaning but do not speak.” The truth value in this statement ultimately hinges on the meaning of “meaning.” “If we mean mental content intentionally designed to say something to someone, of course clouds or fire don’t communicate [meaning]. But if we mean repositories of readable data and processes that sustain and enable existence, then of course clouds and fire have meaning.” And they are part of an ecosystem of interdependencies for human generated meaning.

Ralph W. Gerard, “Some of the Problems Concerning Digital Notions in the Central Nervous System,” in Cybernetics: The Macy Conferences 1946-1953. The Complete Transactions, ed. Claus Pias (Zürich: Diaphanes, 2016 [1950]), 171–202.

Ralph Gerard, in his lecture at the Cybernetics Macy Conferences, which is a dated but classic transcription says “To take what is learned from working with calculating machines and communication systems, and to explore the use of these insights in interpreting the action of the brain, is admirable; but to say, as the public press says, that therefore these machines are brains, and that our brains are nothing but calculating machines, is presumptuous. One might as well say that the telescope is an eye, or that a bulldozer is a muscle.” Examining this text is useful when considering notions around materiality in human computer interaction, and, specifically, concerns surrounding the form and dissemination of knowledge within scholarly communications. My intention is to interrogate Cybernetic theory from the perspective of book culture, and materiality.

Zielinski, Siegfried. Deep Time of the Media: toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. MIT, 2005.

Deep Time of the Media examines the hidden historical record of media developed for hearing and seeing. Siegreid Zielinsky makes the argument that technology did not proceed seamlessly from primitive tools to complex machinery, and it’s the same for the evolution of tools created for the human senses. Pulling from an abundance of original sources over 2000 years of the cultural historical record, Zielinski interrogates a variety of technologies in an attempt to illuminate the newness of old technologies. Some examples: a theater of mirrors in sixteenth-century Naples, a 17th-century automaton for musical composition, and the eighteenth-century electrical tele-wiring machine of Joseph Mazzolari. This book’s value is manifold but one of its particularly valuable qualities is its historical reach. Zielinsky unearths a host of unknown philosophers, visionaries, and inventors who are likely precursors to the modern media landscape. This work will be useful in discovering pockets within the media archaeology canon that can be generative for future media studies.


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