class reading

machine-like bodies

As we discussed in class yesterday, our society is becoming more cyborgnated, and we are becoming less aware of this matter. While reading Stone's "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?" I began to think more deeply about this notion On page 187, the line: "The socioepistemic mechanism by which bodies mean is undergoing a deep restructuring in the latter part of the twentieth century" really stuck out. I thought about my grandfather, who several years ago had a triple-bi-pass surgery and a pacemaker put into his heart. I also started to think about my mother's best friend who has recently gone deaf in her left ear, and will soon be undergoing a procedure known as the "Cochlear Implant" -- where an electronic device, resembling a microphone will be drilled in through her skull and placed behind the external ear to enable her to hear again. I thought about the increasing number of people who are commonly undergoing procedures like these on a daily basis -- as if it is natural to have forms of metal and electronic devices implanted in our bodies to save us from some sort of illness or disability.

cyborgs and such

Harraway's piece once again put something I have very little familiarity with and didn't think was really at all relevant to discussing new media into a totally new perspective. Just as with Marxist though, I didn't really understand how it could be related until we got to issues of copyright and sharing information with hypertext. Honestly, I felt very lost very many times in the piece. Harraway is writing with an intimate knowledge of many thinkers of whom I am ignorant. That said, I will comment on a few ideas. With the dawn of a conscious fabrication of parts of our biological nature, older ideas that dictate gender constructs seem to become less important. I thought that Harraway saw in this new phenomenon a deliverance from what she saw to be 'dominating' and damaging concepts of gender that were based on superiority. Honestly it's difficult for me to get any further in than that without confusing myself.



I found it interesting how art has transformed; from the ability to sense the artist through the medium that he uses, to now the artist not being present his his or her piece of art. What they did not seem to mention is that if the artist is no longer sense through his or her own piece of art, then does this change the meaning of the piece that one as a spectator is looking at? Perhaps this was present, but I did not take notice of it.

i hate titles

Did anyone else find the reading really difficult to physically read? I'm thinking a new pdf might be in order! I don't do well reading pdfs on the computer screen, but when I printed it out it was all grey and pixelated, almost unreadable. :\

I also was looking over the syllabus and realized that proposals for our term projects are due right when we come back from break. Yikes! I mean, I haven't even finished the midterm project yet, it's hard to think about a whole 'nother one. Hopefully we'll go over it somewhat in class tomorrow...

William Blake and Baudrillard???


As I read Baudrillard I was confused as to why such references kept on popping from the May 1968 strike in France, and finally I reached the end of that argument. Baudrillard says that the signs that the protesters had drawn, the messages imprinted on those are the true inspirations, and the true media that allows its viewers to see what is going on. In this, he reminds me of William Blake's need to illustrate his books on plates. There's this guy who wrote his major works on plates, he engraved them by hand, and he also painted them, as a means to stimulate all the senses of one, to grasp ones attention as to allow one to see the door of perception.

Computer Lib/Dream Machines


Nelson notes within the first few paragraphs into his composition: EVERYBODY SHOULD UNDERSTAND COMPUTERS. However, while he strives for a universal understanding of this "new" type of media, insisting on a textually informal relationship between the participant and the machine to attract all types of people, his modest proposal in education is very elitist.

To allow a student to steer away from the institutionalized curriculum by controlling one's own education is simply looking at those who can actually manage to do so. The proposal ignores the larger picture of society--those who have not had specific educational backgrounds do not have the skills in order to perpetuate their education on their own.

Class Reading

The article from today's reading, "Seeing and Writing", by Daid Bolter, raised some interesting points on typography. The font used in books and other places is something we do usually take for granted. Bolter notes though, that there has been a tendency, since the invention of the printing press, to try and reduce the amount of space that the text/writing actually takes up in works. He points out that the reduction of size of serifs and less textual illumination are both examples of how this manifests itself. It's interesting to consider then, that we still generally see serifs in every "serious" work of literate and print. Why does the serif still persist? You'll notice that on this class blog, there aren't any serifs at all. I must admit, I went through a phase last year where I detested the serif. (and I've used that word way to many times in this post, but it's such a fun one to say - try it!) Anyway, back to typeface in general. I think we need to put more thought into what fonts we use, especially at Pomona. I can't tell you how many times I've cringed when reading a flyer posted somewhere that uses a completely inappropriate font.


Haha, yeah, SunnydaleGal is right on; Moulthrop defenitely turns his nose up hard at TV and despite his talk about how egalitarian a medium hypertext could be, he overlooks the fact that "the people" are his hairy and unwashed who have decided they like TV just fine. Whether it's a product of our culture or not is debatable but people by and large are not thoughtful or intellectual; this is why media tends to "default to the lowest common demoninator". That observation is a great way to segue into something I found very interesting about the article: the inherent contradiction between the anarchistic and totally open and free nature of hypertext and the capitalist system of power that underlies both Xanadu and most other forms of hypertext, including the internet. The constraint of a global data network is that it has to be an investment for some company; it has to generate value and revenue in order for anyone to invest in it. Because of this, the idea of an information free for all where everyone can read anything and participate in linking all the information on the internet, the fulfillment of the hypertext community idea, seems to be almost unattainable. The recent turmoil overcopyright law demonstrates that not only is information both valuable and powerful, but that the largest current power distribution system, the economy, has already extended its ideological tentacles deep into the fabric of our global information network. But if the internet were to be a totally unincorporated, grassroots, anti-capitalist system of information exchange, then would it be as successful, and thus as culturally relavent as it is? I don't think so; just as Moulthrop says, the dream of the garage-computer messiahs is dead. Big computing means, for us, big business. So, what is the relationship between a "genuine" medium, a true expression of human thought, and the powers of sponsorship and technology? It seems this has come up before; the history of art deals with this tension between comission and primary artistic motivation. So how does this apply to new media?

video + reading frustrations

Going back a couple days of discussion, but it's funny: Windows Vista Speech Recognition Tech in Action! I'll stick to my keyboard kthnx.

I got so frustrated with my homework this weekend that I almost decided to light my New Media Reader on fire, but then I remembered how much it would cost to buy a new one. I find these readings painfully outdated, but I guess that's kind of the point.

Also, all of the anti-television talk bothered me. Moulthrop has no problem referring to TV simply as "the idiot box", and happily reports that hypertext will probably replace TV instead of books.

reader beware

Does anyone remember the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine? I remember reading those when I was younger and the poems we read by the Oulipo reminded me of them. They were so awesome because you could choose to navigate your adventure through the book anyway you wanted.

The idea of the author giving the reader more control of direction through the literature is interesting. It seems that in the new digital literature might entice readers by appearing to offer more choice in navigation but really limited the direction and development of the overall story.

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