Category Archives: to read

readings to read

Natural and man-made terrestrial electromagnetic noise

Natural and man-made terrestrial electromagnetic noise

to read

McLuhan’s New World – Tom Wolfe (2004)

McLuhans New World – Tom Wolfe

McLuhans New World - Tom Wolfe (dragged).jpg

Tom Wolfe, while a journalist helped champion McLuhan’s ideas. He reflects on continuing relevance…

  • Palo Alto – Il Fornaio (Garden Court Hotel) – power breakfast scene… billionaires… 1999
  • Something verging on the spiritual – The Force – ‘spinning a seamless web over all the Earth – utopias
  • Richard L. Brandt (Upside magazine, Sept. 1998) pronounced that Windows software would make the U.S. government obsolete
  • Danny Hillis (Wired magazine) – “evolution takes place in microseconds
  • The taboo religious base has been a “silent partner” in McLuhanism
  • Marshall younger brother Maurice became a Presby- terian minister
  • McLuhan started out as a literary man – ignorant of his own medium (print)
  • read Wyndham Lewis and F. R. Leavis
    • treating movies, radio, adverts as new “languages”
  • Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton – catholiscism in literature becomes ‘cool’
  • “the mechanical bride” was McLuhan’s early term for the “goose-stepping combination of military mechanism and jack-booted eroticism”
  • Harold Innis
  • Understanding media:
    • print has made us visual – at the expense of other senses
    • this caused a number of ‘fragmentations’
    • television reverses this process – returns man to the five-sense “triabal balance” kind of existence
    • auditory and tactile senses come into play – “seamless web”
    • television is “audio-tactile”
  • Generation gap was not a psychological or sociological divide, but a neurological one – print-based vs. audio-tactile based (tribal)
  • McLuhan and wife Corinne had 6 children, which McLuhan studied – marvelled at their multitasking in front of the TV
  • Extensions:
    • Wheel is an extension of the foot
    • The axe is an extension of the arm
    • electronic media are extensions of the human central nervous system
  • The negativity of the Global Village is also a possibility – it is not utopic, necessarily – humanity could be brought together for slaughter as well as anything else
  • Wolfe here points out that utopia (as heaven on earth – a practical ideal of political and social construction) is SECULAR
  • “The Christian concept of the mystical body,” McLuhan wrote in one of the few explicit references to his fondest dream, “of all men as members of the body of Christ— this becomes technologically a fact under electronic conditions.”
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
    • geologist and paleontologist
    • tried to take Darwin to the Christians – as God’s first step for an even grander design
    • noosphere – a unification of all human nervous systems, all human souls, through technology, directed by God
    • cybernetics – mentions of television / radio explicit in his work
    • networks of “etherized human consciousnesses”
    • “We may think, wrote Teilhard, that these technologies are “artificial” and completely “external to our bodies,” but in fact they are part of the “natural, pro- found” evolution of our nervous systems.” (Stiegler!?)
  • McLuhan denied links to Teilhard
    • Teilhard was kicked out of the church… (Like Illich? Links here? Around the same time frames… both Jesuits) – so McLuhan may have been protecting his Catholic rep
    • McLuhan lived in a era where religious academics were ostracised
  • Howard Gossage
    • advertising man who became McLuhan’s ‘herald’
    • 1966 – McLuhan in every paper
    • Literary people were detractors
    • Neuroscience / cognitive psychology were not sure what to make of him
  • Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto
    • “Moral bitterness is a basic technique for endowing the idiot with dignity.”
  • The Internet lit McLuhanism up all over again…
  • “New communications theorists will arise, as if from straight out of the asphalt, the concrete, the vinyl tiles, or the PermaPour flooring. But one thing will not change. First they will have to contend with McLuhan.”
to read

Phenomenon of Man – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Phenomenon of Man – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

to read

Simondon – Technical Mentality, The Position of the Problem of Ontogenesis, On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects




“The purpose of this study is to attempt to stimulate awareness of the significance of technical objects. Culture has become a system of defense designed to safeguard man from technics. This is the result of the assumption that technical objects contain no human reality. We should like to show that culture fails to take into account that in technical reality there is a human reality, and that, if it is fully to play its role, culture must come to terms with technical entities as part of its body of knowledge and values. Recognition of the modes of existence of technical objects must be the result of philosophic consideration; what philosophy has to achieve in this respect is analogous to what the abolition of slavery achieved in affirming the worth of the individual human being.

Massumi on Simondon

Review of Gilbert Simondon’s L’individu et sa genese physico-biologique

readings to read

new philosophy for new media – mark b.n. hansen (2006)


between the body and image: on the newness of new media art

body time

  • aim here is “to trace the bodily capacity to create space to the temporal basis of affectivity
  • affect

    • passion, sentiment, mood, feeling or emotion
    • how do media and aesthetics come to produce affects?

readings to read

essays on the blurring of art and life – kaprow (2003)

the legacy of jackson pollock

  • Pollock’s death as connected with the death of art
  • Modern art was ‘slipping’ – dull, repetitious, derivative
  • Technical innovations – new materials, great scale, etc.
  • “He created some magnificent paintings. But he also destroyed painting.”
  • placing absolute value on diaristic gesture – Pollock was in the work (he couldn’t see the whole thing… it was on the floor, etc.)
  • Pollock judged his acts, not the painterly outcom(good gestures and bad gestures – not good painting marks and bad painting marks)

    • Instability/Resonance between the hands and body that make the marks and the objective markings themselves
    • No ‘form’ – where form is biggining middle end, fragmentation, division
    • Four sides of pollock – “refusing to accept the artificiality of an “ending”” (interactive works? net-art? time-based works?)
    • moving in all directions at once
    • individuality and selflessness
    • Pollock opens up art to substances of sight, sound, movements, people, odors, touch
    • “I’m a painter” replaced by “I’m an artist”

    notes on the creation of a total art

    • philosophical objectives of discplines
    • Renaissance pronounces the birth of more specialism
    • Wagner and Bauhaus – total art could not come about this way, as it relies on a ‘master director’
    • bypassing ‘art’ and taking nature itself as a point of departure
    • “the sensory stuff of ordinary life”
    • what makes it art is “how deeply involved we become with elements of the whole and how fresh these elements are”
    • not dealing with disciplines, but dealing with whole-senses.
    • “a form that is as open and fluid as the shapes of our everyday experience,” without imitating them.
    • “only the changing is really enduring and all else is whistling in the dark”

    happenings in the new york scene (1961)

    • types of happenings

      • sophisticated, witty works by theatre people
      • zen-like rituals put on by the writers and musicians
      • crude, lyrical and spontaneous actions of the painters
    • Gutai group in Osaka
    • Surrealism, Dada, Mime saltimbanques, medieval mystery plays and processions
    • Crucial feature – context – lofs, basements – creating no separation of audience and play
    • The habitat of the work gives relationships to the things around it, overall atmosphere, permeating the whole experience.
    • Why artist studios do not look like galleries, and why when does everyone is suspicious
    • being “on show” suddenly blinds artists to the weakening of their offerings by the gallery
    • chance – when something goes “wrong,” something far more “right,” more revelatory, has many times emerged
    • impermanence – a premium is placed on the unforseen, the ahistoric, the un-documentable
    • “passive in its acceptance of what may be and affirmative in its disregard of security”
    • “It has always seemed to me that American creative energy only becomes charged by such a sense of crisis. The real weakness of much vanguard art since 1951 is its complacent assumption that art exists and can be recognised and practiced”
    • taste for fads and movements –
    • “vanguard artists are given their prizes very quickly instead of being left to their adventure” (could be a critique of the speed of uptake of artists and their work online… that they become ‘known’ too quickly and become ‘dead and famous’)


    • essay about the hard edge and minimalist painting movements
    • purity versus impurity as where the aesthetic becomes moral
    • Mondrian and destruction of form throuh “interrelated relations” – getting at the polarized forces of the universe
    • The principle:

      • anything can be the datum of a painting – and can slip from focus into a myriad of changes
      • tabula rasa for interpretation of ‘things’ – separation of these things
      • a thing and it’s opposite oscillate – like an Necker Cube
      • Mondrian also allowed his ‘grids’ to slip off the page – so nothing in the picture is suggestive of a ceasura – the paintings themselves were fragmentary

    • depth cues are falsified and emphasized by paint build up against the black lines of a Mondrian
    • becoming an un-fixed point in space as a receiver of the work
    • Mondrian’s neo-Platonism, Calvinism
    • Myron Stout – Untitled No. 3
      • confer upon the work a sense of preoccupation – take years to complete
    • Purist painting arrests time – as it does not permit spontaneity of execution…
    • Pollock’s painting is impure – and is at some point an immediate reference to the action that created it.
    • Discussion of Newman, scale and minimalism

    the artist as a man of the world

    • voltaire – candide – this is the best of all possible worlds, so we had better cultivate our gardens.
    • we know more as artists about art history than ever before
    • The church and the museum as temple – artists’ relations to institutions
    • Epilogue – artists will “have more to do with aisles in supermakets than with the aisles in houses of God”, “more with social psychology than Judeo-Christianity. The astronaut John Glenn may have caught a glimpse of heavenly blue from the porthole of his spaceship, but I have watched the lights of a computer in operation. And they looked like stars.”

    happenings are dead (long live the happenings)

    • lines between happening and daily life should be kept as fluid and perhaps indiscitinct as possible
    • themes should be derived from non-art contexts
    • the happening should be dispersed over different and varying locales
    • time, closely bound up with things and spaces, should be vairable and independent of the convention of continuity

      • “whatever is to happen should do so in its natural time, in contrast to the practice in music of arbitrarily slowing down or accelerating occurrences in keeping with a structural scheme of expressive purpose.”
      • In describing the idea that different events (the buying of a fishing pole before Christmas or the laying of the footings for a building) have their own time – “The point is that all occurrences have their own time.”
    • the composition of materials should be art-less, and practical
    • happenings should be unrehearsed and performed by non-professionals, once only
    • there should not and cannot be an audience for the happenings
    • “active art, requiring that creation and realization, artwork and appreciator, artwork and life be inseparable”

    experimental art

    • A.K. reviews art practice ‘movements’ as a discussion of how none of them are really ‘experimental’

      • Hard Edge

        • conservative mode
        • shapes are neo-classical abstractions
        • things are juxtaposed, instead of related
        • there is a ‘standard currency’ to juxtaposition (1966)
      • Op Art

        • color theories of pointillism
        • Joseph Albers
        • Roto Reliefs – retinal fatigue
        • the stimuli are well worn – have been used elsewhere
      • Abstract Symbolism or Colorfield

        • Newman and Rothko – Purism and Symbolist
        • Approaches vacancy
        • psychic tension caused by prolonged and obsessive use of a single idea minutely varied
      • Object Art

        • readymades, found objects
        • electronics and cigarette lighters
        • (perhaps like device art?)
        • often make fun of their predecessors’ searches for profound experiences
      • Pop Art

        • refinements and parodies of mass-reproduction techniques
        • pop art derives from popular forms (film, graphic design), which are derived from modern art ideas
        • difficult to experiment within because “what they style must always be explicit”
      • Assemblage

          • eschews consistency
          • juxtapositions of not jus the shapes of a whole
          • Cubist collage – Dada and Surrealism
      • conceived in this way – art is developmental rather than experimental (p. 68)
      • modern art is not in fact experimental
      • young artists are schooled historically – so it is nearly impossible to do something without it being historicised:

        • “it is nearly impossible to make the slightest gesture withouth calling up references that are instatly recognized as history”
        • “predictions of things to come are not hte business of prophets and quacks; they approach computability on the basis of the abundance of data made available at every minute to the communications systems”
      • developmental artists know what art is
      • experimental artists do now – they are interested in the being of art, an extreme position. “the one thing that keeps them from becoming barbers or ranchers is their persistent curiosity about what art might be in addition to what everybody else has made it.”
      • separation of cultural attitudes from cultural acts
      • Rauchenberg’s all-black and all-white (1951) paintings – showing the void of abstract expressionism as the shadows of the viewer’s figure. all “having to do with art, life, and insight was thrown back at them as their responsibility, not the picture’s.” this shocked people.
      • innocence is a modernist fantasy – the return. now innocence is an intellectual invention, not something that can be regained
      • “possibility is the most frightening idea of all”
      • everything is becoming confused – no one style or form
      • “conventional distinctions are not merely inadequate; hey are tiring and fatigue sits well with no artist.”
      • “It may be that the only safe conclusion to drwaw is that traditions find their place today alongside nontraditions precisely because no distinctions can be made.” (p. 73)
      • experimental artists ask “what is art” everytime they make a piece
      • “the goal of their discovery is the more compelling as the outcome of theses means is less and less predictable
      • experimenting usually occurs once for an artist, and then value is discovered and the artist continues to mine that value for the rest of their life… or they start again experimenting – requiring erasure of the profession and the ‘assumption of art’
      • the painter’s suicide:
        • “Let us imagine the suicide of an obscure painter. It is around 1950. He lives in a railroad flat in New York and ispainting large all-black canvases. He covers most of the walls with them, and it is quite dark in his place. Shortly thereafter, he changes to all-white pictures. But he does a curious thing: he proceeeds to seal off each of his rooms with four paintings constructed to just fit their space, edging the final one into position as he moves into the next room. He starts in the bedroom and ends in the kichen (which lets out into the hallway). There he pains the same four white panels but doesn’t leave. He builds a series of such subicles, each within the other, each smaller. He is found dead, sitting in the innermost one.” “Actually the paint er is telling this story to his friends a s a project he has in mind. He sees how attentively they listen to him, and he is satisfied.”
        • “The act is tragic because the man could not forget art.”

      the education of the un-artist, part I

      • non art is more art than Art art
      • Nonart – whatever has no yet been accepted as art but has caught an artist’s attention with that possibility in mind.

      readings to read

      Digital Material – Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology (2009)

      Digital Material

      readings to read

      erkki kurenniemi





      writings by and on Erkki Kurenniemi – downloaded from the impossible to navigate:

      readings to read

      art, time and technology – charlie gere (2006)

      breaking the time barrier

      • Bernhard Stiegler and technologies of time –

        • out experience of time as created by and with technology
        • epiphylogenetics
      • Leroi-Gourham

        • anthropology of history, memory through technology
      • Derrida

        • invention and creation – two ways this is meant

          • find for the first time
          • find in the sense of discover
        • so invention always comes from somewhere… not out of nothing (which is God’s job) – remix, etc.
        • “the only possible invention is the invention of the impossible”

          • Kittler’s conception of Shannonian communications as having the most information when there is the most noise (0.5 / 0.5 1’s and 0’s)
        • for Derrida, the artwork must not enter into the economics of exchange – ‘liberal’ or ‘free’ art
        • but gifts (in the Mauss sense) are impossible as the dynamics of exchange are implied. even the act of giving a gift is “makes a return payment to oneself.”
      • Bernhard Siegert

        • data was made available to the field of art via intermediary storage somewhere
        • “conversely it is nonsensical to speak of the availability of real-time processing… insofar as the concept of availability implies the human being as subject. After all real time processing processing is the exact opposite of being aailable. It is not available to the feedback loops of the human senses, but instead to the stadards of signal processors, since real-time processing is defined precisely as the evasion of the senses.” (disagree here with Siegert’s definition of ‘real time’)
        • art is therefore an economy of time – produce by materiality and temporality, storage and exchange
      • Marcel Mauss

        • The Gift
        • potlach – excessive and destructive rituals of giving practised by tribes in the American Northwest.
      • Bataille

        • breaking the time barrier
        • capitalism and stock-piling of resources in only on form of economic strcutre
        • proposes the problem is that we have too much (R. B. Fuller) and need to annihiliate this excess through sacrifice or art (Link here again to the Shirky-Here-Comes-Everybody ideas of ‘excess time’)
      • The Large Glass – Duchamp
        • Duchamp described the piece as a ‘delay’ – “a dealy in glas as you would say a poem in prose or a spittoon in silver”
      • Michael Kirby – The Art of Time – a book about the Avant Garde of the 1960s… the avant garde has always been concerned with time.
      • The rift between modernism and the avant garde as originating with this concern with time (of Modernism’s fear of time – Pamela Lee’s chronophobia)


      • In a certain sense Art, Time, and Technology tells a great narrative, that of the attempts in modern Western culture —from Morse’s telegraph (an acceptable “alpha” for a study on the intersections of art and technology) to the visual aftermath of 9/11 (an even more acceptable “omega” of a sometimes wildly utopian, sometimes grimly apocalyptic history)— to achieve a coincidence (“time”) between culture (“art”) and media infrastructure (“technology”). Real-time artistic expressions are then seen as the horizon of such a craving, which aims at blurring the very boundaries between the various dimensions of the cultural, the technological, and the temporal.
      • Les Immatériaux – Lyotard’s show at Centre Pompiou (1985)

      Art in Real Time

      • John McHale – 1956 – This is Tomorrow at Whitechapel
      • Catelogue from this show introduces two important ideas:

        • Art as a system – understood in terms of information and communications theory
        • Comptuer and computing machinery as potential means of amking visual art
      • The Independent Group – ICA – London – had interests not only in pop-art but in technology, cybernetics, and pop culture
      • McHale embracing the post-humanist future – “furnishing new conceptualities” instead of creating masterworks
      • McHale goes to work for Fuller, and with his wife works on techno-futurologies
      • Herman Kahn – the Institute for the Future … and liberal futurist agendas vs. military ones (RAND)
      • The Future of the Future – McHale’s book of 1969
        • prostehtics nature of the human and technologies
        • artworks are required which match the pace of society – to help man adapt, locate himself and learn
        • “individual initiative and direct partiipation in the control of complex processes”
        • “The ‘event’ is one of teporal immersion in a continuous contextual flow of communicated expreiences”
        • “The promise within the newer media is of a greater interpenetration and interaction of life-art-culture rather than the forms-objects-images that preseved and isolated social life”
      • Art By Telephone – 1969 – Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art art_by_telephone.pdf, UBU, audio
      • Jack Burnham picking up McHale’s themes and developing a Systems Aesthetic:
        • “to quote the systems biologist, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, a ‘complex of components in interaction’, comprised of material, energy and information in various deree of organization”
        • artists as perspectivist – showing relations, considering goals, and developing view points on interrelations
      • Simon Penny

      Is It Happening?

      • Cybernetics – 1960s – Sion Nora and Alain Minc – wrote a report for French Government “computerization of society”
      • Government of Quebec – Jean Francois Lyotard – commissioned “La Condition Postmoderne” in response to the Nora report
      • 1985 english from the 1979 original french
      • Les Immateriaux – exhibition in 1985 at Pompidoux

        • subject: the existenence of new materials and how they are changing the idea of the human
        • “This very approach interferes with the identity of ‘Man’, understood as mind and will, or as consciousness and liberty.”
        • “The relationship between mind and matter is no longer one between an intelligent subject with a will of its own and an inert object. They are now cousins in a family of “immaterials” “
        • Norbert Weiner
        • Harold Laswell
        • Roman Jakobson
        • Exhibiiton organized according to ‘technologized postmodern space-time’ – where “information circulates by radiation and invisible interfaces”
        • Jacques Monory
      • Gere takes issue with the fact that “in an exhibition devoted to the cultural implications of new technologies, Lyotard included very little art made using such technologies”
        • Lots was going on at the time (Computer Culture conference in Toronto, 1979; Artbox 1980; Artex telematics projects, Roy Ascott – La Plissure du Texte, Frank Popper’s survey of electricity in art…)
        • Wiencouver – series of festivals by Hank Bull
        • Bill Bartlett – telecom conference for artists
        • Wiencouver – 1982 – The World in 24 Hours
        • The roots of network art in mail-art…
      • Paul Crowther criticised this exclusion of the neoexpressionists in favor of the cannonical avantgarde
      • Lyotard and “Sublime and the Avant Garde” – Barnett Newman
        • simple form that are devoid of content – providing access to the ‘being is’ of the work – prior to conceptualization
        • privationThe loss or absence of a quality normally present.
        • The relief of being deprived is the sensation of the sublime…
        • And this is impossible when composed with the technicized capitalist sensation of time
        • Innovation is the opposite of avant-garde experimentation, as it conforms to the metaphysics of capital, is a technology of time… (time is money… etc.)
        • The opposition here is essentially in time – that technologizing time removes the sublime question of ‘is it happening right now” by couching everything in terms of progress, innovation – the time of advancement, which is presupposed.
      • Lyotard’s essay, “Something like: “Communication”… without Communication”
        • “art is universally communicable without the mediation of a concept”
        • the new techne – the arts of computability and representation hide the question of the here and now
        • the ‘installation of the concept of space time is infinitely more fine in the new technologies than it was with what Heidegger was familiar with’.
        • Holderlin’s Remardks on Oedipus – Oedipus Tyannos is not the tragey, but Oedipus at Colonus, in which nothing more happens – his fat is already accomplished.
        • hegemony of concept brings with it the end of art
      • Stiegler offers a critique of Lyotard in La Technique et le Temps. all art is fundamental techne (technicity)
        • Lyotard calls multimedia and computers ‘culture’, not ‘art’ as they destroy the ‘here and now’ (a criteria questioning for art for Lyotard)
        • Lyotard: “artists have always used every possible kind of support, every possible kind of material, every possible kind of tool”
        • Perhaps our mature computational arts have revived the question of the here and now?  
      • Lyotard’s A Postmodern Fable (1997)
        • countering entropy with human activity, technology, language
        • progress and development is negentropy, which can only be checked by the dissapearance of the solar system – the sun’s dying. we are preparing for this, with all our sciences and systems theory, linguistics and potential literature.
        • the hero of the fable is ‘energy’ – not man. man is the “invention of development” – the result of local energy aw, blind gropping and chance
        • data giving and offering itself, instead of tabulating of data by the creator/artist
      • Lyotard’s “Can Thought Go On Without a Body?”
        • creative acts involve the emptying of the mind – waiting for the rule of how systems want to be organized
        • we think inside culture, and so thinking is suffering as it is hard to find new ways to think and produce within a culture
        • machines can suffer in this way? they can be creative?
        • thinking is the discomfort of the unthought – the hope that things will get better.
        • machines must suffer in order to think – they must suffer because of what is not thought and what they remember
        • the burden of memory



      • might be something at the end about machines suffering and their relationship to ‘failure of technologies’ being the only art/beauty inside art according to Nam June, etc. i.e.: is it true that computers (etc.), by depriving the world of the here-now-ness of art (the moment of being of something) by its capitalistic, technologized expanses of time, requires a ‘breakdown’ to occur for aesthetic to become present?
      readings to read




      Szeman- On Debray.pdf


      Debray-Trans.pdfDebray, What is Mediology.pdf