Author Archive: lola192

McLuhan and Cage: Chance and Medium as Message

Monday, April 21st, 2014 by lola192

I have been interested in John Cage and his experiments with chance since learning of his work with choreographer, Merce Cunningham, in a modern dance class. Cage served as the musical advisor for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from its founding in 1953 until his death in 1992. During his time with the group, Cage and Cunningham extensively employed chance procedures in their compositions, experimenting with theories of causal relationships between sound and movement by paying little attention to structured musical form or any other traditional elements of musical arrangement. The I Ching, the Chinese book of changes, inspired the pair’s experimentations. Cunningham describes how Cage utilised the I Ching in his book, Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance:

“Cage took it to work in his way of making compositions then; and he used the idea of 64—the number of the hexagrams —to say that you had 64, for example, sounds; then you could cast, by chance, to find which sound first appeared, cast again, to say which sound came second, cast again, so that it’s done by, in that sense, chance operations. Instead of finding out what you think should follow—say a particular sound—what did the I Ching suggest?”

For my final project, I shall be writing an approximately 12-page paper on the Cagean method that will be physically formed by then using this method. That is, after completing the paper, I will separate the paper into random sections – breaking in the middle of sentences or paragraphs – rather than adhering to clearly defined and ‘natural’ delineations. I will then apply the Cagean method by rolling a dice to decide which medium to use to write up each section i.e. 1 = Typewriter, 2 = Word processor, 3 = Calligraphy, 4 = Typography, 5 = Stencil, 6 = Copier. The completed sections will then be put together in a hand-bound book. Whilst I have yet to figure out my thesis, my paper/creative book project will consider McLuhan’s theory that the medium is the message and explore his relationship with Cage/Cage’s take on McLuhan. I hope that the Cagean structure of the book will elicit a different response to/reading experience of the paper depending on the medium in which the ‘message’ is written.

Record Players and Sentiment

Monday, April 14th, 2014 by lola192

I’ve always been a music lover. I think the frequency with which music was played in the house when I was growing up made it impossible for it to be any other way, really. I would be devastated if I were to lose the contents of my iTunes. If my apartment were to burn down, you can be sure I’d grab my CD collection before evacuating. My devastation wouldn’t be solely because of the money I’ve spent over the years. Rather, it would be due to how much music affects my mood. A brilliant song can put a smile on my face in even the direst circumstance. However, I don’t think losing an iTunes library or my fit-to-bursting CD cases would make me as sad as if I were to lose a vinyl collection like my dad’s.

I have fond memories of my father’s record collection – rows upon rows of perfect vinyl, each record protected by its equally spotless sleeve – and his predilection for excellent record players on which to play them. I remember countless mornings filled with the sound of Fats Domino, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, and Dylan as the records spun on the player. When one album ended, he’d carefully lift the needle, remove the record, gently return it to its sleeve, and slot it vertically back into its place on the shelf. “You never store records lying flat – the vinyl will warp”, he would tell me. Those records were precious to my dad. He had brushes and clothes and all manner of tools to keep his vinyl in mint condition despite recurrent use. Looking back on the care he took of his vinyl collection and the time I’ve spent in the MAL this semester made me think of the sentimental relationship we have with various technologies, specifically where music is concerned.

There’s something about the care involved in maintaining a well-kept vinyl collection that allows us to assign sentimental value to its content. I would argue that this value is increased by the manner in which the user is occupied with the machine in a way modern music technologies don’t allow. There is a physicality involved in exchanging one record for another on the player – taking care to place the needle just so, to meticulously wipe the machine free of dust (if you’re my father, at least). The records themselves take up a physical space. Like books on a shelf, record collections are as much to be looked at and admired as listened to. So are the machines on which we play them. The same can’t be said of iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, or our MP3 players and smartphones.  They lack something distinct, a certain kind of tangibility, that renders the user as of secondary importance.

If were to lose the contents of our iTunes libraries due to a defunct hard drive, I hazard a guess that most of us would be more upset about the loss of our broken computer than its musical subject matter. Especially with the increasing presence of cloud technology, our hard drives have become less of a liability.

With this in mind, I wonder if archives, whilst unwelcoming to nostalgia, allow for a certain sentimentality? Or, is sentiment just a longer word for nostalgia?

“Let Us Strive Together To Part With Time More Reluctantly”: The Gorgeous Nothings and Temporality

Monday, April 7th, 2014 by lola192

In the preface to Emily Dickenson The Gorgeous Nothings, Susan Howe explains that Dickenson expressed an interest in time and temporality. In a letter to a friend, Dickenson had written, “Let us strive together to part with time more reluctantly, to watch the pinions of the fleeting moment until they are dim in the distance and the new coming moment claims our attention” (7). As Howe says, Dickenson’s envelope writings “are suggestive, not static” (7). Whilst she admits that she hopes that “someday [these gorgeous nothings] will be exhibited in a gallery situation because so often these singular objects balance between poetry and the visual arts”, even being collected in a book, in their suggestiveness, the envelope writings possess a temporal power all their own that appeals to the reader’s concept of time (6). From the need for transcriptions to the postmarked envelope fronts, the text draws us into a past that is very much Dickenson’s present, leading us to switch our temporal framework. I believe that letters and handwritten notes, like Dickenson’s envelope writings, break normative modes of temporality – allow us a longer-lasting relationship with time – as they enable the past to become ‘available’ within the present. This is not simply because, as common sense dictates, letters and notes must have been written prior to them being sent or read. Rather, letters and handwriting serve to confuse or decay temporal relationships. They do so insofar as they bring the past into an active dialogue with the present by preserving the writer’s identity within their script or they promote temporary stagnation within that same present. Simply put, handwritten letters and the like disclose particular identities whilst skewing the perception of time in some way.

Take an iconic scene from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. In reading and reflecting upon Catherine’s marginalia, Lockwood summons Catherine’s ghost. Reaching out to stop what he believes to be the obnoxious knocking of a tree branch against the nearby window, Lockwood’s fingers instead “closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand. The intense horror of the nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but, the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, ‘Let me in – let me in!’” (Bronte, 25).  Lockwood and Catherine become physically connected within an obscured temporal space of both past and present on account of her handwritten margin notes and his act of reading them. As Katherine Rowe posits in her book Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modern, even the narrative time becomes momentarily stalled at the arrival of the ghostly hand: “Even in their prose incarcerations, these sudden hands have what might be called a lyric temporality and effect: they interrupt, shock, and freeze the scene” (119).

Additionally, like Dickenson’s envelope writings, there is a privacy to Catherine’s handwritten notes that we as readers feel Lockwood is, to a certain extent invading. Like Angie remarks in her post, Dickenson’s notes, “scribbled on scraps of paper and envelopes, [were] never intended for a readership let alone wide publication”. Lockwood’s innocent foray in to Catherine’s private thoughts allows him further access to a temporality that is not his own. 

Thoughts on Typography from ‘Undergrad Lola’

Monday, March 17th, 2014 by lola192

I’ve been awfully pressed for time over the last week – one of those weeks where everything that could possibly be assigned is all due on the same day – so for my post, I would like to share two extracts from my undergrad paper on typography in digital poetry. I realise this is cheating somewhat, but I found it relevant and it remains true to my thoughts on poetry as a digital medium. i have also included the links to the three kinetic typographies mentioned in the conclusion. Be warned, they aren’t necessarily PG-rated as some are peppered with rather colourful language! Below are the introduction and conclusion from my paper titled, Typography: Digital Poems and Interpretative Closure.

“Even for a more sophisticated reader, the very label ‘poem’ may arouse many expectations that the text will not fulfill”

– Claus Culver

“Early Modernists, such as the French Symbolist poet Mallarme and Italian Futurist Marinetti, played founding roles in directing poetry away from its purely literary traditions by using new and innovative methods of typography to change the face of conventional poetry. By relying on similar typographical techniques and applying them to new mediums, today’s digital poets have further altered – and are continually altering – the way in which poetry is presented. However, in doing so, are they ultimately alienating poetry from the traditional reader? Furthermore, are contemporary techniques serving to push digital poetry so far away from a definition that it is becoming unrecognisable as something literary? Traditional poetry relies heavily on one’s ability to perform a close reading of a work in order to reach a comprehensive understanding of what the text is trying to communicate. However, as Dana Gioia asserts in Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture, due to the rising popularity of electronic mediums as a platform for poetry, “the orthodox views of contemporary poetry no longer are either useful or accurate in portraying the rapidly changing shape of the art”. Taking Gioia’s notion of orthodox views of contemporary poetry into consideration, one could posit that existing uses of typography in digital poetry function, albeit sometimes involuntarily, to make it somewaht resistant to, what Bernstein calls, “interpretive closure” as a genre. Consequently, the method of analysis that is integral to how traditional poetry functions is made especially difficult to attain. Such resistance further proves problematic for digital poetry insofar as it appears to cross boundaries that dictate what is to be accepted as ‘poetry’ versus what is not.

As poetry and poets alike become immersed in the advantages the Digital Movement has to offer the art form, the way in which digital poetic works are interpreted shall undoubtedly have to change in order for them to be sufficiently critiqued and appreciated. In order to garner interpretive comprehension of digital poems, such as the kinetic typographies of Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, and V for Vendetta, a reader who is accustomed to analyzing and interpreting conventional poetry needs to adjust their expectations and analytic methodology. Readers must disregard previous ‘training’ and any attachments to specific poetic genres that they may possess, as well as attempt to overcome any desire they may hold to somewhat maintain the academy or poetry as it exists within the paradigm of academia. With an inability to readily and concretely define what poetry is becoming within the digital age, there comes a fear that poets will begin to favour non-verbal means of communication, rendering language simply sound void of meaning. As poetry progresses within a digital framework, what remains to be seen is whether or not such a fear is a legitimate one.”

Fight Club: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbMa4MGFCOg

V for Vendetta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Q0dfrbr10 (Beautiful part of the film for we English nerds)

Pulp Fiction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FlcS9_LXho

What Sound Poetry Makes Me Think Of…

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 by lola192

On the Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong 
Where the Cows go Bong! 
and the monkeys all say BOO! 
There’s a Nong Nang Ning 
Where the trees go Ping! 
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo. 
On the Nong Ning Nang 
All the mice go Clang 
And you just can’t catch ’em when they do! 
So its Ning Nang Nong 
Cows go Bong! 
Nong Nang Ning 
Trees go ping 
Nong Ning Nang 
The mice go Clang 
What a noisy place to belong 
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!! 

– Spike Milligan

Media, Messages, and Subjectivity

Monday, March 10th, 2014 by lola192

I’ve just read McLuhan and my head hurts a little. It’s possible that my headache is a result of sleepiness due to Daylight Savings robbing me of an hour of sleep. However, it’s much more likely that I find McLuhan confusing and a little goofy. Consequently, I have lots of questions and very little in the way of answers. My post may get a little convoluted, but, hey, it may also make you think.

McLuhan states that, “It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action” and that the “medium is the message”. If McLuhan is correct and the medium is indeed the message, and if that medium does control the way readers respond to it, is there any room for subjectivity? If the medium is the message, then we need to learn how to read the message. If we fail to read the medium correctly, does the message becomes confused, fragmented, or possibly lost completely? As I mentioned in class last week, when reading a piece of digital literature or a text like Riddell’s Writing Surfaces, I frequently find myself imagining their content hanging on the walls of a contemporary art museum or gallery. I do so in order to access them in such a way that my traditional training in literature prevents.  Does that thinking process alter the message I receive from the medium? If so, can media be subjective? It seems counter-intuitive to say, “yes, it can”, but if the medium, rather than the content displayed by that medium, is the message, then surely different readers will unavoidably get various messages from the medium? Furthermore, if I am having to imagine one medium, i.e. book or computer screen, as another, i.e. pieces of modern art, in order to read it, am I reading the medium incorrectly and thus problematising the message? Or, does McLuhan allow for variations in how one reads and thus understands the medium as the message?

‘User Friendly’ – Is It All Relative?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by lola192

The last time I played around in the MAL, I started to think about the notion of user friendly and user intuition. I found that technologies that seem intuitive with regard to how you use them i.e. turn them on, insert paper or cartridges, produce something, become less intuitive and thus less (not?) user-friendly the further they are removed from present technology. For example, after losing my patience with the 56K dial up, I joined Lauren and played around with the typewriters. I assumed that loading paper would be simple, just like loading paper into a printer. It wasn’t. After several attempts, the paper slipped into its proper place. I assumed typing would be straightforward, just like on my laptop. It wasn’t. Despite pressing various keys, the ink deposited itself on the paper in roughly the same place each time. Unlike computer laptops and keyboards, especially the flat, perfectly square keys of Macs, which allow you to type and produce words on the screen at an incredible pace, typewriters make you to slow down, forcing you to somewhat respond to it rather than having it respond to you.

Having grown impatient with the typewriter – I’m sure it’s quite a cathartic writing experience once you settle in to its rhythm – we decided to play some video games on the NES. Nothing could be more user friendly than a simple gaming console, right? Wrong. If you didn’t put the game cartridge in exactly the right way, it either refused to stay in the console, or the screen became oddly divided, showing blocks of bright green amidst partial images from the game’s welcome screen. After a couple of attempts, Mario was ready to do his thing and we commenced playing. After 5 minutes or so, we switched to DuckTales, a game we both remembered from our childhood. We fiddled with the cartridge again until it successfully slotted into place. The game was much harder than either of us remembered. I decided that the game was now difficult because the controller offered less options than contemporary gaming controllers. Instead of two joysticks (sorry if my terminology is incorrect – I’ve never been a gamer), 8 buttons (LB,LT,RB,RT,X,Y,B,A), and an arrow pad, we had two buttons  (A,B) and arrow pad, none of which seemed to work in combination with another. As a self-professed often successful button masher, the button mashing capabilities that brought me Streetfighter fame were of no use in this antiquated world of gaming.

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Dial Up and iBooks: A Practice in Patience

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by lola192

“Patience, young grasshopper,” I said to myself after Kyle had kindly connected me to the Internet on the snazzy orange iBook via dial up. Yes, dial up. Unlike Will the week before, who seemed to embrace the slower access (Will, correct me if I’m wrong), I struggled with the snail-like speed. Usually, if a page is taking longer than 10 seconds to load, I’ll temporarily take my attention elsewhere by visiting another website or taking out my smartphone. Sometimes, I’ll just abandon ship altogether. However, whilst waiting for the first page to load, I purposefully resisted the temptation to do so. Instead, I just watched the little black and white wheel spin, my idle thoughts only interrupted by the iBook’s occasional chirping. Sidenote: If I’m being honest, I only intentionally refrained from browsing the web via my smartphone – I knew from the hours I spent as an adolescent in front of the computer that it was pointless to attempt opening a second browser window on the iBook with its 56K connection.

My experience with dial up – it really wasn’t the iBook’s fault – was frustrating and fruitless. I realised I had become the product of a society that wants what they want when they want it (say that 5 times quickly). With lightning fast connection speeds and multiple means of access, when we access the internet we expect to come away with something. That ‘something’ could be mountains of new knowledge gleaned from an hour of successful research. It could be a new trivia tidbit brought to you courtesy of Reddit, Buzzfeed, or Cracked.com. It could be the news that your high school classmate is pregnant with her second child, gossip acquired after hours wasted refreshing newsfeeds and stalking acquaintances (we all do it, don’t judge). We have become conditioned to expect information to be delivered to us with near immediacy. Regardless of the nature of the information we seek, we simply do not wish to wait any longer than we have to.

After 15 almost painful minutes, after two websites failed to load within an agreeable amount of time, and after one successfully accessed website refused to take me to my desired page chosen from the available links, I gave up. I disconnected, shut down, and went to play video games instead.

Writing and a Writer’s Identity

Monday, February 17th, 2014 by lola192

Printed text is often considered to be temporally and spatially bound, constrained to the perspectives it conveys or the place within which it exists. Depending on the reader’s ability to readily identify these perspectives or places, they either find themselves closely connected to text or distanced from it. To quote Richard McCabe,“Time, like distance, determines and alters perspectives”. Furthermore, standardised, printed texts tend to be bound by their reliance upon the popular opinion of what is publishable versus what is not – publication creates a normative temporal space within which the published item can exist. As a result of these limitations, standardised texts become restricted texts where “writing and soul fall apart” (Kittler). If we accept Friedrich Kittler’s assumption that standardised texts facilitate the crumbling of the relationship between writing and soul, then can understand these texts as posing a threat to the relationship between writing and the identity of the writer?

Think of handwriting. Handwriting exposes truths. It is handwriting’s elucidatory quality that enables it to possess its maker’s identity – “I’m ashamed of my handwriting. It exposes me in all my spiritual nakedness. My handwriting shows me more naked than I am with no clothes off. No leg, no breath, no clothes, no sound. Neither voice nor reflection. All cleaned out….His lines are all that’s left of him” (Kittler). Unlike printed or manufactured manuscripts, handwritten text embodies identity. Dickens strongly believed that you could never erase the self from handwriting. Rather, handwriting should be understood as something pure and unbreakable, essential to the understanding of self. If handwriting is indicative of a person’s identity, then handwritten texts are representative of their writer’s humanity for “(human) Being is in the hand” (Goldberg). In Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Kittler reinforces the idea that human identity and Being is present within handwriting. Kittler asserts the invention of the typewriter removed identity from the both the writing process and its resultant final product. When a writer uses a typewriter in place of a pen in his hand, they erase any trace of an identifiable self typically inherent within their own handwritten words.  Despite it functioning as a simple mediating step between the human hand and the page, the typewriter rendered handwriting utterly “autonomous” (Kittler). Additionally, Kittler maintains that by erasing the self from writing, typewriters relegated text to an unimaginative, restricted temporal sphere – readers would no longer be able to conjure fantasy from the words they read. For Kittler, “typewriters do not store individuals; their letters do not communicate a beyond that perfectly alphabetized readers can subsequently hallucinate as meaning…The dream of a real visible or audible world arising from words has come to an end” (Kittler).

If standardised, printed texts cause the crumbling of the relationship between writing and identity, then what is to be said of the relationship between writing and identity when we think of any generation of word processor? Of typing on a keyboard that uses something more than ink (I’m thinking here of the typewriter’s means for placing a barrier between the writing and the writer) as a mediatory between the writer and the work they produce? Or, do word processors and new means of writing and sharing the results offer us, as writers, new frontiers and greater freedoms? If so, are they allowing a more fluid identity to emerge within the act of writing?

I will be going into the MAL this evening to play around on some word processers to investigate my own question; to see if I agree that any writing beyond that done with my own hand renders me (as writer) absent. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

‘Between Page and Screen’ and Mappable Spaces

Sunday, February 9th, 2014 by lola192

In ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, Gilles Deleuze claims that in disciplinary societies, “the individual never ceases passing from one closed environment to another”. He goes on to assert, however, that we’re no longer existing within those societies of discipline. Rather, we now exist within expanding societies of control born of an increasing reliance on capitalism for societal movement. For Deleuze, this switch means that “man is no longer man enclosed but man in debt”. However, I believe that sadly (and yes, terrifyingly), man is both enclosed and in debt. Moreover, he is further enclosed by his debt. Society dictates our mappable spaces. It allows or denies entry or exit to whomever it pleases. It establishes who may move within which space, how much they may move, and bars us all from the non-mappable (read ‘uncontrollable’) spaces in between.

I started to think about societies of control and their mappable spaces in regard to Between Page and Screen. Is the text/piece of art allowing us to transcend these enclosed spaces and map our own spaces beyond them? Or, is it simply passing us from one closed environment to another under a flimsy title suggesting liminality? Whilst Between Page and Screen, as inherent in the title, seemingly desires to exist within the liminal spaces between ink printed on white paper and coded text displayed on a computer screen, I feel it fails to do so. Admittedly, the text does rely on the successful communication between the two spaces, that of the page and that of the screen, in order for it to work, and maybe that suggests some semblance of liminality. Maybe. I’m not convinced. However, the words themselves can only appear on the screen. The text is only readable on that previously mapped space. Moreover, the reader is afforded very little movement during their reading of the text. The book must be perfectly positioned in such a way as to allow the words to remain on the page whilst still enabling the reader to read. I found that the slightest movement too far right, left, up, or down, or simply the slight twitch of my finger, would cause the words to dissipate, leaving me to look uncomfortably at myself whilst I tried to remedy the book’s problematic orientation.

Additionally, as Erin mentioned in her post a couple of weeks ago, the text assumes a place of privilege amongst its readers. Firstly, one must have the $27 to buy the book with its printed shapes (maybe I’m just a jaded and broke graduate student, but that’s an outrageous price). Secondly, one must have reliable access to the internet in order to understand the purpose of those shapes. Thirdly, one must have a webcam in order to make the text readable.

Six Reasons Why I Will Never Get Behind Google Glass Regardless of How Often I Praise Google Otherwise

Monday, January 27th, 2014 by lola192

Like those who have blogged before me, I too would like to jump on the “Google Glass ain’t that great” bandwagon. To air my grievances in a succinct manner and to avoid subjecting you all to a soapbox address, this post shall be presented in a friendly list format.

  1. I found the entire concept bothersome. You can’t possibly remain aware of your surroundings or, more importantly, those within it whilst wearing that bright orange monstrosity (I’m telling you how I really feel). We have already become a society that doesn’t fully participate in everyday life because of our need for immediate access to our technology – there is no longer such a thing as uninterrupted social interaction – and Google Glass will only make it worse.
  2. The screen invades your field of vision as obnoxiously as a tween Justin Bieber fan with a Twitter account.
  3. It is neither user-friendly nor intuitive. Evidence: I accidentally sent a picture of the Media Archaeology Lab to a stranger at 8pm on a Tuesday. I can’t even tell you how I did it.
  4. As Will pointed out in his post, Google Glass serves to collect information about its consumers – It “hijacks our eyeballs” and mines away at our data. Disturbingly, the majority of consumers seem ok with that. In permitting our technology (and those behind it) access to our personal preferences, wish-lists, and how inefficiently we may ride a bike, we allow marketers to not only sell us a product, but to sell us the idea that we simply aren’t good enough people without that product. To use Will’s example, for Google, it isn’t sufficient that we are out riding bikes, that we are trying to leave a smaller carbon footprint or are merely trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. Rather, Google focuses on the fact that we aren’t doing it well enough. As a result, they are better able to sell us fitness software, cycling gear (because the right shorts will not only make you peddle faster, but boy, will you look good doing it), and a speedier, lighter bike.
  5. As Scott Fitzgerald, a popular glitch artist, said, people become empowered when they “understand the tools and the underlying structures… [when they] know what is going on in the computer”. Google denies its consumers this power. The hardware inside Google Glass is even more inaccessible than that powering our smartphones, our laptops, and our desktop computers. Since Apple began denying their customers knowledge of the inner-workings of their machines, technology has become a greater mystery. Google Glass, with its miniscule computer that only the most qualified, decaffeinated, and tech-savvy could pick apart, seems the epitome of this denial. With Glass, Google is denying real knowledge and understanding of its product to the consumers it relies so heavily upon. 

Media Archaeology and the Body

Monday, January 20th, 2014 by lola192

As I worked my way through the chapters of Jussi Parikka’s “What Is Media Archaeology?”, I began to wonder whether or not media archaeology concerns itself with the relationships between evolving media technologies and the human body, particularly with the hand – Parikka even mentions that the digital is “non-sensuous”. As technology rapidly advances, is the human hand becoming somewhat obsolete? Are we becoming increasingly physically alienated from the technologies so many of us strive to be involved with?

Even as our medium for communication evolved from handwritten letters and hand bound books, to manuscripts written on a typewriter to the efficiency of word processors to the first few generations of the smart phone, the human hand was vital to the success and imaginings of these changing media technologies. However, with the invent of smart watches, Google Glass, and even smart contact lenses designed to monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics, technology is becoming greatly removed from the human hand. Furthermore, as wearable technology focuses less on the hand it is strangely being integrated back into the body whilst simultaneously (and counter-intuitively) rendering it unnecessary. Even in the simple activity of listening to music, technology has gradually lessened the role of the human hand – we have gone from changing vinyl on a gramophone or record player to manually creating playlists on our mp3 players to software, such as Pandora or Spotify (even more so), that creates a playlist or radio station for us.

As the digital humanities come further to the fore, are we becoming more immersed in the digital and alarmingly less concerned with the human? As Freidrich Kittler argues, is the “ghostliness of media [an] index of how communication itself has fled from the human body”? If so, then how important, if at all, is the relationship between media archaelogy and the technologies it archives and the human body? In her post, Renee discusses the impact of smart technology on how human beings interact with the world. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that the premise behind and our reliance on these technologies stems from a “human desire for connectedness or communication or expression”, and that it certainly “connect [us] with people, geographic locations, and knowledge”, I wonder if technological advances are beginning to overlook the human element integral to those desires and connections?

P.S. I think these ideas will be important to my presentation/our discussion on Jonathan Crary’s 24/7 next week J