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Digital objects, in their simplest form, are data. They are also a new kind of industrial object that pervades every aspect of our life today—as online videos, images, text files, e-mails, blog posts, Facebook events.Yet, despite their ubiquity, the nature of digital objects remains unclear. On the Existence of Digital Objects conducts a philosophical examination of digital objects and their organizing schema by creating a dialogue between Martin Heidegger and Gilbert Simondon, which Yuk Hui contextualizes within the history of computing. How can digital objects be understood according to individualization and individuation? Hui pursues this question through the history of ontology and the study of markup languages and Web ontologies; he investigates the existential structure of digital objects within their systems and milieux. With this relational approach toward digital objects and technical systems, the book addresses alienation, described by Simondon as the consequence of mistakenly viewing technics in opposition to culture. Interdisciplinary in philosophical and technical insights, with close readings of Husserl, Heidegger, and Simondon as well as the history of computing and the Web, Hui’s work develops an original, productive way of thinking about the data and metadata that increasingly define our world.
In dieser wirkmächtigen philosophisch-technologischen Untersuchung stellt sich Gilbert Simondon dem ressentimentgeladenen Ausschluss der technischen Objekte aus der menschlichen Kultur ebenso entgegen wie technokratischen Machbarkeitsvisionen der Herrschaft durch Automaten. Stattdessen plädiert er für die Anerkennung und Reflexion der Existenz eines Kollektivs aus Mensch, offenen technischen Maschinen und Natur. Sein Ansatz vereint die detaillierte Analyse der Funktionsweisen von Motoren, Elektronenröhren oder frühen Computern mit weitreichenden philosophischen Erwägungen. In Auseinandersetzung mit der traditionellen Auffassung von Form und Stoff, dem Evolutionsdenken, Gestalttheorie, Kybernetik, Informationstheorie und Fragen der Gouvernementalität charakterisiert er technisches Denken und technische Existenzweise als Etappe im Werdensprozess von Leben und Denken.
Unsere Operations-, Wissens- und Existenzräume, unsere Selbst- und Weltwahrnehmung werden heute unhintergehbar von technologischen Objektkulturen geprägt. Insbesondere die allgemeine Kybernetisierung seit Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts, die in der umfassenden und allgegenwärtigen Computerisierung ihren vorläufigen Höhepunkt erreicht hat, macht die Technizität unserer sinnkulturellen Verfassung deutlich. Die Beiträge dieses Bandes, den die deutsche Erstübertragung eines brisanten Stücks aus dem Nachlaß des französischen Mechanologen Gilbert Simondon eröffnet, liefern die dringend nötige Neubeschreibung unserer zeitgenössisch-technischen Welt. Außerdem schreiben: Dirk Baecker, Massimo de Carolis, Alexander Galloway, Mark Hansen, Katherine Hayles, Nicole Karafyllis, Scott Lash, Jean-Luc Nancy, Frédéric Neyrat, Peter Risthaus, Bernard Stiegler und Eugene Thacker.
A complete history and theory of internet daemons brings these little-known—but very consequential—programs into the spotlight We’re used to talking about how tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon rule the internet, but what about daemons? Ubiquitous programs that have colonized the Net’s infrastructure—as well as the devices we use to access it—daemons are little known. Fenwick McKelvey weaves together history, theory, and policy to give a full account of where daemons come from and how they influence our lives—including their role in hot-button issues like network neutrality. Going back to Victorian times and the popular thought experiment Maxwell’s Demon, McKelvey charts how daemons evolved from concept to reality, eventually blossoming into the pandaemonium of code-based creatures that today orchestrates our internet. Digging into real-life examples like sluggish connection speeds, Comcast’s efforts to control peer-to-peer networking, and Pirate Bay’s attempts to elude daemonic control (and skirt copyright), McKelvey shows how daemons have been central to the internet, greatly influencing everyday users. Internet Daemons asks important questions about how much control is being handed over to these automated, autonomous programs, and the consequences for transparency and oversight.
Just what is the “participatory condition”? It is the situation in which taking part in something with others has become both environmental and normative. The fact that we have always participated does not mean we have always lived under the participatory condition. What is distinctive about the present is the extent to which the everyday social, economic, cultural, and political activities that comprise simply being in the world have been thematized and organized around the priority of participation. Structured along four axes investigating the relations between participation and politics, surveillance, openness, and aesthetics, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age comprises fifteen essays that explore the promises, possibilities, and failures of contemporary participatory media practices as related to power, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings, worker-owned cooperatives for the post-Internet age; paradoxes of participation, media activism, open source projects; participatory civic life; commercial surveillance; contemporary art and design; and education. This book represents the most comprehensive and transdisciplinary endeavor to date to examine the nature, place, and value of participation in the digital age. Just as in 1979, when Jean-François Lyotard proposed that “the postmodern condition” was characterized by the questioning of historical grand narratives, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age investigates how participation has become a central preoccupation of our time. Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College; Bart Cammaerts, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Nico Carpentier, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB – Free University of Brussels) and Charles University in Prague; Julie E. Cohen, Georgetown University; Kate Crawford, MIT; Alessandro Delfanti, University of Toronto; Christina Dunbar-Hester, University of Southern California; Rudolf Frieling, California College of Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute; Salvatore Iaconesi, La Sapienza University of Rome and ISIA Design Florence; Jason Edward Lewis, Concordia University; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; Graham Pullin, University of Dundee; Trebor Scholz, The New School in New York City; Cayley Sorochan, McGill University; Bernard Stiegler, Institute for Research and Innovation in Paris; Krzysztof Wodiczko, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Jillian C. York.
Sensors are everywhere. Small, flexible, economical, and computationally powerful, they operate ubiquitously in environments. They compile massive amounts of data, including information about air, water, and climate. Never before has such a volume of environmental data been so broadly collected or so widely available. Grappling with the consequences of wiring our world, Program Earth examines how sensor technologies are programming our environments. As Jennifer Gabrys points out, sensors do not merely record information about an environment. Rather, they generate new environments and environmental relations. At the same time, they give a voice to the entities they monitor: to animals, plants, people, and inanimate objects. This book looks at the ways in which sensors converge with environments to map ecological processes, to track the migration of animals, to check pollutants, to facilitate citizen participation, and to program infrastructure. Through discussing particular instances where sensors are deployed for environmental study and citizen engagement across three areas of environmental sensing, from wild sensing to pollution sensing and urban sensing, Program Earth asks how sensor technologies specifically contribute to new environmental conditions. What are the implications for wiring up environments? How do sensor applications not only program environments, but also program the sorts of citizens and collectives we might become? Program Earth suggests that the sensor-based monitoring of Earth offers the prospect of making new environments not simply as an extension of the human but rather as new “technogeographies” that connect technology, nature, and people.
Mixed Realism is about how we interact with media. Timothy J. Welsh shows how videogames, like novels, both promise and trouble experiences of “immersion.” His innovative methodology offers a new understanding of the expanding role of virtuality in contemporary life. Today’s wired culture is a mixed reality, conducted as exchanges between virtual and material contexts. We make balance transfers at an ATM, update Facebook timelines, and squeeze in sessions of Angry Birds on the subway. However, the “virtual” is still frequently figured as imaginary, as opposed to “real.” The vision of 1990s writers of a future that would pit virtual reality against actual reality has never materialized, yet it continues to haunt cultural criticism. Our ongoing anxiety about immersive media now surrounds videogames, especially “shooter games,” and manifests as a fear that gamers might not know the difference between the virtual world and the real world. As Welsh notes, this is the paradox of real virtuality. We understand that the media-generated virtualities that fill our lives are not what they represent. But what are they if they are not real? Do they have presence, significance, or influence exceeding their material presence and the user processes that invoke them? What relationships do they establish through and beyond our interactions with them? Mixed Realism brims with fresh analyses of literary works such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, along with sustained readings of controversial videogames such as Super Columbine Massacre and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Continually connecting the dots between surprising groupings of texts and thinkers, from David Foster Wallace to the cult-classic videogame Eternal Darkness and from Cormac McCarthy to Grand Theft Auto, it offers a fresh perspective on both digital games and contemporary literature.

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