Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts

University of Chicago Press
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Half a century into the digital era, the profound impact of information technology on intellectual and cultural life is universally acknowledged but still poorly understood. The sheer complexity of the technology coupled with the rapid pace of change makes it increasingly difficult to establish common ground and to promote thoughtful discussion.

Responding to this challenge, Switching Codes brings together leading American and European scholars, scientists, and artists—including Charles Bernstein, Ian Foster, Bruno Latour, Alan Liu, and Richard Powers—to consider how the precipitous growth of digital information and its associated technologies are transforming the ways we think and act. Employing a wide range of forms, including essay, dialogue, short fiction, and game design, this book aims to model and foster discussion between IT specialists, who typically have scant training in the humanities or traditional arts, and scholars and artists, who often understand little about the technologies that are so radically transforming their fields. Switching Codes will be an indispensable volume for anyone seeking to understand the impact of digital technology on contemporary culture, including scientists, educators, policymakers, and artists, alike.
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About the author

Thomas Bartscherer is assistant professor of humanities and director of the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College. He is coeditor of Erotikon: Essays on Eros Ancient and Modern, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Roderick Coover is associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Arts at Temple University. He is the author of the digital publications Cultures In Webs: Working in Hypermedia with the Documentary Image and Vérité to Virtual: Conversations on the Frontier of Film and Anthropology.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 15, 2011
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780226038322
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Criticism & Theory
Art / General
Computers / General
Philosophy / General
Technology & Engineering / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Although few philosophers agree about what it is for something to be art, most, if not all, agree on one thing: art must be in some sense intention dependent. Art and Art Attempts is about what follows from taking intention dependence seriously as a substantive necessary condition for something's being art. Christy Mag Uidhir argues that from the assumption that art must be the product of intentional action, along with basic action-theoretic account of attempts (goal-oriented intention-directed activity), follows a host of sweeping implications for philosophical enquiry into the nature of art and its principal relata such as authorship, art forms, and art ontology: e.g., · An informative distinction between art, non-art, and failed-art that any viable theory of art must capture. · A far more productive minimal framework for authorship not only capable of systematically addressing issues of collective authorship appropriation, etc. but also one according to which artists just are authors. · A coherent and structurally precise account of art forms based upon the relation between artists, artworks, and the sortal properties thereof. · A unified and far less metaphysically suspect ontology of art according to which if there are such things as artworks, then artworks must be concrete things. Ultimately, Mag Uidhir aims neither to propose nor to defend any particular, precise answer to the question "What is art?" Instead, he shows the ways in which taking intention-dependence seriously as a substantive necessary condition for being art can be profoundly revelatory, and perhaps even radically revisionary, as to the scope and limits of what any particular, precise answer to such a question could viably be.
People all over the world make art and take pleasure in it, and they have done so for millennia. But acknowledging that art is a universal part of human experience leads us to some big questions: Why does it exist? Why do we enjoy it? And how do the world’s different art traditions relate to art and to each other?

Art Without Borders is an extraordinary exploration of those questions, a profound and personal meditation on the human hunger for art and a dazzling synthesis of the whole range of inquiry into its significance. Esteemed thinker Ben-Ami Scharfstein’s encyclopedic erudition is here brought to bear on the full breadth of the world of art. He draws on neuroscience and psychology to understand the way we both perceive and conceive of art, including its resistance to verbal exposition. Through examples of work by Indian, Chinese, European, African, and Australianartists, Art Without Borders probes the distinction between accepting a tradition and defying it through innovation, which leads to a consideration of the notion of artistic genius. Continuing in this comparative vein, Scharfstein examines the mutual influence of European and non-European artists. Then, through a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s major art cultures, he shows how all of these individual traditions are gradually, but haltingly, conjoining into a single current of universal art. Finally, he concludes by looking at the ways empathy and intuition can allow members of one culture to appreciate the art of another.

Lucid, learned, and incomparably rich in thought and detail, Art Without Borders is a monumental accomplishment, on par with the artistic achievements Scharfstein writes about so lovingly in its pages.
Pairing full-length scholarly essays with shorter pieces drawn from scholarly blogs and conference presentations, as well as commissioned interviews and position statements, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 reveals a dynamic view of a field in negotiation with its identity, methods, and reach. Pieces in the book explore how DH can and must change in response to social justice movements and events like #Ferguson; how DH alters and is altered by community college classrooms; and how scholars applying DH approaches to feminist studies, queer studies, and black studies might reframe the commitments of DH analysts. Numerous contributors examine the movement of interdisciplinary DH work into areas such as history, art history, and archaeology, and a special forum on large-scale text mining brings together position statements on a fast-growing area of DH research. In the multivalent aspects of its arguments, progressing across a range of platforms and environments, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 offers a vision of DH as an expanded field—new possibilities, differently structured.

Published simultaneously in print, e-book, and interactive webtext formats, each DH annual will be a book-length publication highlighting the particular debates that have shaped the discipline in a given year. By identifying key issues as they unfold, and by providing a hybrid model of open-access publication, these volumes and the Debates in the Digital Humanities series will articulate the present contours of the field and help forge its future.

Contributors: Moya Bailey, Northeastern U; Fiona Barnett; Matthew Battles, Harvard U; Jeffrey M. Binder; Zach Blas, U of London; Cameron Blevins, Rutgers U; Sheila A. Brennan, George Mason U; Timothy Burke, Swarthmore College; Rachel Sagner Buurma, Swarthmore College; Micha Cárdenas, U of Washington–Bothell; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown U; Tanya E. Clement, U of Texas–Austin; Anne Cong-Huyen, Whittier College; Ryan Cordell, Northeastern U; Tressie McMillan Cottom, Virginia Commonwealth U; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M U; Domenico Fiormonte, U of Roma Tre; Paul Fyfe, North Carolina State U; Jacob Gaboury, Stony Brook U; Kim Gallon, Purdue U; Alex Gil, Columbia U; Brian Greenspan, Carleton U; Richard Grusin, U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Michael Hancher, U of Minnesota; Molly O’Hagan Hardy; David L. Hoover, New York U; Wendy F. Hsu; Patrick Jagoda, U of Chicago; Jessica Marie Johnson, Michigan State U; Steven E. Jones, Loyola U; Margaret Linley, Simon Fraser U; Alan Liu, U of California, Santa Barbara; Elizabeth Losh, U of California, San Diego; Alexis Lothian, U of Maryland; Michael Maizels, Wellesley College; Mark C. Marino, U of Southern California; Anne B. McGrail, Lane Community College; Bethany Nowviskie, U of Virginia; Julianne Nyhan, U College London; Amanda Phillips, U of California, Davis; Miriam Posner, U of California, Los Angeles; Rita Raley, U of California, Santa Barbara; Stephen Ramsay, U of Nebraska–Lincoln; Margaret Rhee, U of Oregon; Lisa Marie Rhody, Graduate Center, CUNY; Roopika Risam, Salem State U; Stephen Robertson, George Mason U; Mark Sample, Davidson College; Jentery Sayers, U of Victoria; Benjamin M. Schmidt, Northeastern U; Scott Selisker, U of Arizona; Jonathan Senchyne, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Andrew Stauffer, U of Virginia; Joanna Swafford, SUNY New Paltz; Toniesha L. Taylor, Prairie View A&M U; Dennis Tenen; Melissa Terras, U College London; Anna Tione; Ted Underwood, U of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign; Ethan Watrall, Michigan State U; Jacqueline Wernimont, Arizona State U; Laura Wexler, Yale U; Hong-An Wu, U of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign.

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