Ryan.Sean Cubitt - 2015 - Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 5 (1):87-90.details
This article considers the ending of the short Canadian animation, Ryan (2004) by Chris Landreth. It addresses the role of continuity editing in vector graphics to argue that the film exhibits, despite its fantastic surface, a paradoxical form of realism.
It is not only the physical digital media that pile waste upon waste in an era of built-in obsolescence driven by over-production attempting to balance the falling rate of profit. Energy used in the manufacture, employment and recycling of devices belongs to a system where waste is not merely accidental but integral to the operation of cognitive capitalism. Oil and gas, uranium and hydroelectricity all prey disproportionately on indigenous peoples, who are turned into economic externalities along with their lands. A (...) parallel is drawn between the waste of power in generation and transmission, and the exploitation of human energy as excess under a cyborg capital that increasingly treats all humanity as external. (shrink)
This paper argues that cultural analyses of electric light, including aspects of actor-network theory, may raise the spectre of complexity, but do not do it justice when they omit to provide analysis of the intertwined roles of culture and political economy in the formation of the provision and use of electric light. The essay looks at the marketization of electric power, at outages in the eastern and western US megacities, at the collapse of the public utility model and chaotic implementation (...) of market models in Mumbai, Lagos and other poor megacities, and concludes that while theft of power provides a temporary solution, abandoning centralized market models in favour of microgrids is the only sure way to return agency to slum dwellers. (shrink)
Using a number of his recent site-specific installations, conceptual artist and theorist Victor Burgin discusses the status and future of the camera from photography to moving image to computer-generated virtual works that combine both still and moving images. In the process he modifies Bazin’s question ‘What is cinema?’ to ask ‘What is a camera?’ These works extend and develop Burgin’s long-standing interest in the relationship of aesthetics and politics as rendered through visualization technologies, especially as it pertains to space. Burgin’s (...) discussion constructs a genealogy of seeing, visualizing and image-making as technologically-determined and crafted. The ideology of vision and the ideological artefacts produced by and through visual technologies from perspectival painting to analog photography to computer imaging constitute, in Burgin’s argument, ‘the ideological chora of our spectacular global village’. (shrink)
This essay deals with technologies, techniques, business models and legal structures governing telecommunications infrastructures. Megacities are especially vulnerable to shifting agencies in telecoms provision. This paper addresses the relation of the economics of growth, built-in obsolescence and product life cycles with the complex determinations of telecommunications governance in relation to the physical environment of megacities. It argues that an ‘environmentalism of the poor’ must be integrated into considerations of both ecological critique and analyses of telecommunications infrastructure and business practice.
The transition from analogue to digital photography was not accomplished in a single step. It required a number of feeder technologies which enabled and structured the nature of digital photography. Among those traced in this article, the most important is the genesis of the raster grid, which is now hard-wired into the design of the most widely employed photographic chip, the charge-coupled device. In tracing this history from origins in half-tone printing, the authors argue that qualities available to analogue photographers (...) are no longer available to digital, and that these changes correspond to historical developments in the wider political and economic world. They conclude, however, that these losses may yet be turned into gains. (shrink)
Analysis of the material properties of the Internet reveals its true weight: the mass of component routers, switches, cables, satellites, cellnet masts, and of course computers, and the vast network of resource extraction, manufacturing, energy generation, and waste in which its functioning is embedded. Equally important is understanding the massless but highly regulated system of software and legislation affecting the ostensibly free and open evolution of network media. The chapter traces some exemplary standards bodies responsible for the design of key (...) features such as protocols and codecs, and discusses the vexed dialectic of intellectual property rights and the notion of an information commons, arguing that the Internet bears the hallmarks of three major types of institutional construction, those proper to the nation-state, to commerce, and to network systems themselves. It concludes with a critical challenge to future archaeology: the ephemerality of digital files. (shrink)
The modern library derives from a vision of public service developed in the 19th century. At various times in the past a commercial service, an educational resource, a religious domain and a political institution, the library today exists in various forms, including all these but in addition the professional libraries held by law firms and scientific or technological associations, multimedia lending libraries and certain areas of the world-wide web.
Virilio's work as commentator and critic of new media forms takes its inspiration from the urgent need for an ethical dimension to our accommodation of these media in already complex social formations. Although Virilio relies upon a Catholic humanist liberalism and, it is argued here, a very specific mode of philosophical individualism and although these premises govern and constrain the grounding of his ethical critique in a simplistic conceptualization of representation, the article argues that certain facets of his thesis are (...) still worthy of serious contemplation. Virilio's scenarios of disempowernment and indifferentiation can be re-read in the light of media theoretical concepts, specifically those concerned with suture, apparatus, dialogue, communication and mediation to provide an ethical aesthetics of the technologization of community. (shrink)