Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Humanism of the Walkthrough, or, What happens when the prisoner doesn’t notice he’s been freed

February 13, 2013

Humanism of the Walkthrough, or, What happens when the prisoner doesn’t notice he’s been freed

Here’s where I prove that walkthroughs are as humanistic as humanistic can be.


Philip Roth and Wikpedia: the moribundity of the author

September 16, 2012

I kind of had a feeling. The view of authorship with which Philip Roth grew up, and which in my view is peculiar to Western culture ca. 1800- ca. 1980, isn’t compatible, thank goodness, with modern information-flows. A blogger named Oliver (aka quominus) who works for the Wikimedia foundation, writes in a post that’s far more persuasive than letter of Roth’s to which he’s responding:

Lets go through his account again, shall we?

“I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed.”

False. There was absolutely no misstatement in the article. What the article claimed at the time he wrote this open letter was that “Kakutani and other critics were struck by the parallels to the life of Anatole Broyard, a writer and the New York Times literary critic in the 1950s and 1960s who was of Louisiana Creole mixed-race descent and passed for white”.

If I’m right that Plato designed the first video game, perhaps Barthes designed Wikipedia?


Technogenesis vs distributed cognition

February 28, 2012

Katherine Hayles’s talk at UConn was inspiring and a fascinating part of the ongoing debate on attention spans; how, precisely, media determine our situation (an established Kittlerian position); and whether our biological system can, will, is determined to keep up. While I saw my future self – on occasion – hovering above the audience as Eduardo Kac’s slightly discombobulated bioart bunny, “Alba”,

transgenically infused with all kinds of post-human “software”, I also kept wondering how technogenesis and distributed cognition (loosely defined as “cognitive phenomena generally are best understood as distributed processes” and the “theoretical focus is on how cognition is distributed across people and artifacts”) are connected. Is this Phaedrus meets Simonides? Or psychophysics meets environmental aesthetics? I was flummoxed, intrigued, and generally exhausted just thinking of how these two processes could be worked together. Hence, for now, the vs. Because we may have to engage a “new phenomenology” to approach our body under different terms… Because I don’t want to be Alba… Because I like being scatterbrained…


Dare to Remediate

February 10, 2012

I cannot say it any better than Alison Byerly, Provost at Middlebury College, who has this to offer to those who still think in “old” and “new” media terms:

“Digital humanities needs to be understood not as a separate field, but as a standard form of scholarly communication. […] Acknowledging that even ‘finished’ works are part of an ongoing dialogue is the first step towards appreciating the value of digital scholarship that may create opportunities and affordances rather than producing products. This in turn may help defuse the fetishization of productivity that increases the expectation of scholarly output while simultaneously decreasing our capacity to engage in dialogue about the works of others, creating what Mark Bauerlein recently described as a ‘supersaturation’ of humanities research. In this way, the need to recognize and validate digital work differently provides a paradigm that is useful and
extendable to the profession as whole.”

“Perhaps more than the specific modes of analysis it offers, the kind of openness and collaboration that has always been a fundamental value of the digital humanities community may be its greatest gift to the humanities. The humanities are, after all, the
original open source learning platform. The humanities once spoke to wide audiences about fundamental and important questions. Our current state of crisis comes from our readiness to limit our roles as educators to educating ourselves.”