Read e-book online Memory Bytes: History, Technology, and Digital Culture PDF

By Lauren Rabinovitz, Abraham Geil, Laura Rigal, David Depew

Electronic tradition is usually characterised as substantially breaking with earlier applied sciences, practices, and ideologies instead of as reflecting or incorporating them. reminiscence Bytes seeks to counter such ahistoricism, arguing for the necessity to comprehend electronic culture—and its social, political, and moral ramifications—in ancient and philosophical context. a huge diversity of applied sciences, together with images, print and electronic media, warmth engines, stereographs, and scientific imaging, the members current a few varied views from which to mirror at the nature of media switch. whereas foregrounding the demanding situations of drawing comparisons throughout diverse media and eras, reminiscence Bytes explores how applied sciences were built-in into society at diversified moments in time.
These essays from students within the social sciences and arts disguise issues relating to technological know-how and drugs, politics and battle, mass conversation, philosophy, movie, images, and paintings. no matter if describing how the cultural and felony conflicts over participant piano rolls prefigured controversies over the highbrow estate prestige of electronic applied sciences reminiscent of mp3 documents; evaluating the reviews of staring at QuickTime video clips to Joseph Cornell’s “boxed relic” sculptures of the Thirties and Forties; or calling for a serious heritage of electrical energy from the Enlightenment to the current, reminiscence Bytes investigates the interaction of know-how and tradition. It relates the data Age to bigger and older political and cultural phenomena, analyzes how sensory results were technologically produced through the years, considers how human subjectivity has been formed via machines, and emphasizes the dependence of specific applied sciences at the fabric conditions in which they have been built and used.
Contributors. Judith Babbitts, Scott Curtis, Ronald E. Day, David Depew, Abraham Geil, Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi, Lisa Gitelman, N. Katherine Hayles, John Durham Peters, Lauren Rabinovitz, Laura Rigal, Vivian Sobchack, Thomas Swiss

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If we move a piece of brass and want to know whether that will increase or decrease the effect we are observing, we do not fly to the higher mathematics, but use the simple conception of the electric fluid which would tell us as much as we wanted to know in a few seconds’’ (Thomson, Recollections and Reflections [London: Bell, 1936], 252–53, quoted in Cohen, Benjamin Franklin’s Science, 9–10). Van Doren lists the electrical terminology coined by Franklin, including ‘‘battery, charged, charging, condense, conductor, discharge .

In the process, the nonproductive quality of his vanity is gendered, sexualized, and equated with the position of ‘‘the girl’’ in the story. ‘‘The Tatler tells us,’’ he writes, of a Girl, who was observed to grow suddenly proud, and none cou’d guess the Reason, till it came to be known she had got on a new Pair of Garters. Lest you should be puzzled to guess the Cause, when you observe any Thing of the kind in me, I think I will not hide my new Garters under my Petticoats, but take the Freedom to show them to IMPERIAL ATTRACTIONS 31 you, in a Paragraph [from] our friend Collinson’s Letter, vis—But I ought to mortify, and not indulge, this Vanity: I will not transcribe the Paragraph, yet I cannot forbear.

496. Franklin, in Cohen, Experiments, 171. I. Bernard Cohen, Benjamin Franklin’s Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 22. Franklin, in Cohen, Experiments, 202. , 175. Otto Mayr, The Origins of Feedback Control (Cambridge: mit Press, 1970), 2, 7. In the words of Norbert Wiener, ‘‘feedback is a method of controlling a system by reinserting into it the results of its past performance’’ (7). The concept of feedback, used in mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, or electrical systems alike, gave cybernetics its name.

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