Archive

Scratching the Surface #72: Shannon Mattern

I used to kind of deify these peo­ple, pre­sum­ing that they were pre­sent­ing some gospel that I just had to work and work and work to try to under­stand so that I could like, put on their glass­es and see the world through their lens­es. But ulti­mate­ly I real­ized that these are—and I’ve writ­ten this else­where, too—like, these are fal­li­ble peo­ple, often ego­ma­ni­acs, often real­ly bad writ­ers. And that’s why I can’t under­stand it. So it’s not to give up on them too quick­ly. If you put in the work to try to under­stand what they’re say­ing. But not to regard their work as gospel. Essentially to think of it as tools to think with. And that’s how I try to desacral­ize the­o­ry in my class­es, to help stu­dents think these are tools to be crit­i­cal, inter­est­ing frame­works that you can apply to the work that you’re doing. But they should not have the pow­er to become par­a­lyz­ing forces.

Film is Evil, Radio is Good

By and large images tend to always be in the lead, always run­ning ahead because of ease of con­sump­tion, because it requires less brain pro­cess­ing on our parts. But text is nev­er oblit­er­at­ed.

Media, Technology & Culture 1.1: Messages about the Medium

We’re going to talk at length about new media. And in our first few install­ments we’re going to begin by think­ing for a bit about what makes a medi­um new.

Hearsay Culture #252 — Prof. Ben Peters on the History of the Failed Soviet Internet

The Soviet expe­ri­ence sug­gests some­thing real­ly impor­tant for us today, which is that net­works are entire­ly com­pat­i­ble with sur­veil­lance. And many of our favorite things to talk about, then, peer-to-peer pro­duc­tion, or end-to-end intel­li­gence, kind of missed the point that I think is now obvi­ous. That whether you’re the NSA or Google or who­ev­er else…you’re a gen­er­al sec­re­tari­at, seek­ing to pri­va­tize our pow­er, and you are sur­veilling us, because you have a net­work in place.

How Interfaces Demand Obedience

I’m going to dis­cuss the theme of inter­face and maybe the pol­i­tics of inter­face through the com­mu­ni­ca­tion cycle, the idea of pro­to­cols, and then I’ll try to sug­gest inter­faces for resis­tance, and ways for that to be addressed as well.