Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Immersive Internet: Reflections on the Entangling of the Virtual with Society, Politics and the Economy

"The Immersive Internet provides the first omnibus account of the emerging world-view of people who spend most of their quality time mediated by computer-based technologies. It should be taken seriously by anyone trying to design a liberal arts curriculum for Humanity 2.0." – Steve Fuller, University of Warwick, UK

The Immersive Internet Reflections on the Entangling of the Virtual with Society, Politics and the Economy will be released by Palgrave Macmillan on Friday 29th March 2013. The internet has begun to develop into a much more immersive and multi-dimensional space. Three dimensional spaces and sites of interaction have not just gripped our attention but have begun to weave or be woven into the fabric of our professional and social lives. The Immersive Internet – including social media, augmented reality, virtual worlds, online games, 3D internet and beyond – is still nascent, but is moving towards a future where communications technologies and virtual spaces offer immersive experiences persuasive enough to blur the lines between the virtual and the physical. It is this emerging Immersive Internet that is the focus of this book of short thought pieces – postcards from the metaverse – by some of the leading thinkers in the field. The book questions what a more immersive and intimate internet might mean for society and for each of us.
1. Postcards from the Metaverse: An Introduction to the Immersive Internet; Dominic Power and Robin Teigland
2. Niggling Inequality: A Second Introduction to the Immersive Internet; Edward Castronova
3. The Distributed Self: Virtual Worlds and the Future of Human Identity; Richard Gilbert and Andrew Forney
4. Meta-dreaming: Entangling the Virtual and the Physical; Denise Doyle
5. Individually Social: Approaching the Merging of Virtual Worlds, the Semantic Web, and Social Networks; Francisco Gerardo Toledo Ramírez
6. Virtual Worlds as Radical Theater: Extending the Proscenium; Anthony M. Townsend and Brian E. Mennecke
7. Virtual Worlds and Indigenous Narratives; James Barrett
8. The Immersive Hand: Nonverbal Communication in Virtual Environments; Smiljana Antonijević
9. Discovering the 'I' in Avatar: Performance and Self-Therapy; Alicia B. Corts
10. Reflections and Projections: Enabling the Social Enterprise; Steve Mahaley, Chuck Hamilton and Tony O'Driscoll
11. Added Value of Teaching in a Virtual World; Inger-Marie Falgren Christensen, Andrew Marunchak and Cristina Stefanelli
12. Play & Fun Politics to Increase the Pervasiveness of Social Community: The Experience of Angels 4 Travellers; Maria Laura Toraldo, Gianluigi Mangia, Stefano Consiglio and Riccardo Mercurio
13. Framing Online Games Positively: Entertaining and Engagement through 'Mindful Loss' of Flow; Müberra Yüksel
14. Inhabitants of Virtual Worlds, Players of Online Games - Beware!; Antti Ainamo and Tuukka Tammi
15. Relationships, Community, and Networked Individuals; Rhonda McEwen and Barry Wellman
16. Gemeinschaft Identity in a Gesellschaft Metaverse; Cynthia Calongne, Peggy Sheehy and Andrew Stricker
Sorting out the Metaverse and How the Metaverse is Sorting Us Out; Isto Huvila
17. On the Shoulders of Giants: Understanding Internet-based Generative Platforms; Jonny Holmström
18. Social Norms, Regulatory Policies, and Virtual Behavior; Andrew Harrison, Brian E. Mennecke and William N. Dilla
19. Self-organising Virtuality; Rick Oller
20. Making Currency Personal: The Salutory Tale of the Downfall of the DomDrachma; Matthew Zook
Afterword; Tom Boellstorff

Sunday, March 17, 2013

NITLE's Bryan Alexander speaks on Digital Humanities and Liberal Education

The senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, Bryan Alexander speaks on the ways in which the digital humanities can affect the liberal arts institutions and how digital tools are changing the way we learn.


The blonde heavy breasted mannikin stares at me from the Facebook sidebar advertisement, telling me that thousands of women just like her are seeking men over 40, 'just like me'. I remain unconvinced that she is looking for a man just like me, as I would ask her to dismantle the apparatus in which she is caught, disband the hope and fear cycle which defines her, empty the erotic bath of desire and cease believing in the images that compose a reality I have no wish to be part of. But then again, choice for both of us is limited in the well-lit digital temples through which we are both forced to travel. I would however try, before she became too angry with me, to compose music dedicated to our mutual release from the capitalist prison in which we both find ourselves. A lament for the loss of our creative spirits in the harsh glare of specialist production and the meaningless repetition of hollow and senseless consumption masquerading as sex.

Film Showing: Bradley Manning Had Secrets

I will be a speaker at the showing of 'Bradley Manning Had Secrets', a short film that focuses on Bradley Manning, accused whistle blower and political prisoner. I will be making a statement, or perhaps it will be a declaration, anyway I will be speaking in HUMlab X 12:15pm Friday 21st March (Arts Campus) on the notion of private and public within an network information architecture. I suggest coming along!

"Bradley Manning, not as accused for leaking information to Wikileaks, but as a young American soldier, who question his gender identity and simultaneously goes through a crisis of conscience''.

Animated film by Adam Butcher, (7min, 2011, USA). Short interview with the filmmaker will follow.

Lunch Box learning is a series of film screening events at the HUMlab-X, Arts Campus. Just get your lunch box, scrunch in bean bags and enjoy the screening. There will be a coffee as well.

This time held by HUMlab-X, Arts Campus and Campus Royal - student film club at the Umea University.

More information about organizers:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rethinking the Human Sciences

Panel discussion at Rethinking the Human Sciences conference, March 30, 2012, at Columbia University in the City of New York.

Chair: Aunpama Rao (History and ICLS, Columbia University)
"The Problem of Scale: Narrative Universals in the Human Sciences"

Srinivas Aravamudan (English, Duke University)
"What is 'the Human' about the Humanities today?"

Rosi Braidotti (Centre for Humanities, Utrecht University)

Respondent: Lydia Liu (East Asian Languages and Cultures and ICLS, Columbia University)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Frankenstein for the Now

Neo, the hero of The Matrix is rebuilt following his release from the controlling program

Mary Shelley's  Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus published in 1818 is seen as  a historical and literary divergence between the poetic and the technical, and is today recognized as a significant reaction against this split as part of English Romanticism.

The monster of Frankenstein is an abomination that results from the misguided belief in science. Victor Frankenstein believes that  “The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind. ” But he is wrong with the monster, his creation murdering a child. Victor hunts down his creation and attempts to destroy it.

In contrast we have the contemporary figure of Neo, the young hacker turned savior in the Matrix trilogy.
When Neo is rebuilt it is very suggestive of the unnatural birth of the monster in Frankenstein. In this context the reborn man is released from the illusional world of the computer program that holds all humanity in a 'neo'-platonic grip. At the same time Neo has mastered the illusion; he controls technology because he is as one with it. As a telekinetic child says to Neo in the first Matrix film; "There is no spoon." For Neo there is no technology, only extensions of his own self. For this reason he can control the space around him, but at the same time the space around him must be controlled.

The huge difference between Neo and the monstrosity created by Victor Frankenstein is that Neo is here to save humanity; science and poetry have at last joined. Neo is that union. Avital Ronell in conversation with Werner Herzog said, “One text that shows the disaster of the divorce between science and poetry would be the one by Mary Shelley whose name is Frankenstein.” But the digital revolution that has Neo as the Chosen One is the marriage of science and poetry.The monster in Frankenstein is Neo's sibling that was abandoned when science no longer needed poetry and poetry stopped understanding science. This occurred when poetry got obsessed with form. Science lost interest in poetry when it began splitting atoms.

For Neo poetic form and atoms are the same thing. Reality is one great poem, a dance of code that can be read, interpreted and responded to with a Will to Power:
"My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on"- Nietzsche, The Will to Power.
The lie of the matrix is not the illusion of material reality, it is the will to power, the desire to master the space. While the power of the matrix could be use to liberate minds, it is being used to control space, in a violent and ongoing war, waged with the same technology that provides the awareness of reality -  which is defined by the struggle to control it and so on ad infinitum.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Poetics of the Spectacle

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Remix and Resistance in the Work of William S. Burroughs

Remix and Resistance in the Work of William S. Burroughs from jim on Vimeo.

Short excerpt from the film The Source (1999)