MachineMachine /stream - tagged with text en-us LifePress <![CDATA[How philosophy came to disdain the wisdom of oral cultures | Aeon Ideas]]>

A poet, somewhere in Siberia, or the Balkans, or West Africa, some time in the past 60,000 years, recites thousands of memorised lines in the course of an evening. The lines are packed with fixed epithets and clichés.

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 04:54:34 -0700
<![CDATA[Books after the Death of the Book | Public Books]]>

Last summer I decided to assign Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects in the graduate course I was getting ready to teach.

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 04:54:32 -0700
<![CDATA[The Materiality of Research: ‘On the Materiality of Writing in Academia or Remembering Where I Put My Thoughts’ by Ninna Meier | LSE Review of Books]]>

In this feature essay, Ninna Meier reflects on the materiality of the writing – and re-writing – process in academic research.

Mon, 09 May 2016 01:16:32 -0700
<![CDATA[In the Name of Humanity | Limn]]>

The total archive is already here, Balázs Bodó finds it hidden in the shadows and run by pirates. As I write this in August 2015, we are in the middle of one of the worst refugee crises in modern Western history.

Sun, 06 Mar 2016 07:20:02 -0800
<![CDATA[The Block is the Successor to The Book: A Publishing Proposal]]>

In this text, we introduce Txtblock, a decentralized tool for publishing and distribution of digital text in a format called the block—a squarely defined, eternally immutable unit of information. The block is the successor of the book. Cryptographically bound, the block is given a name that is directly derived from its content. In this way it is made tamper-proof and resistant to censorship. We see this proposal as a small contribution to the internet renaissance.

Sat, 21 Nov 2015 08:45:41 -0800
<![CDATA[How Google is Destroying the Act of Reading – Tablet Magazine]]>

I have come to my favorite café (which has very fast Wi-Fi) and ordered a coffee.

Sat, 11 Oct 2014 07:40:00 -0700
<![CDATA[The novel is dead (this time it's for real) | Books | The Guardian]]>

If you happen to be a writer, one of the great benisons of having children is that your personal culture-mine is equipped with its own canaries.

Fri, 02 May 2014 09:56:22 -0700
<![CDATA[Reinvention without End: Roland Barthes | Mute]]>

Peter Suchin reappraises the prismatic works of Roland Barthes – an author who defied his own pronouncement of the designation’s demise. From the Marxist of Mythologies to the ‘scientist’ of S/Z, Suchin discovers a writer who understood the pleasure of text

Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes, Seuil, 1975In her obituary of Roland Barthes Susan Sontag observed that Barthes never underlined passages in the books he read, instead transcribing noteworthy sections of text onto index cards for later consultation. In recounting this practice Sontag connected Barthes’ aversion to this sacrilegious act of annotation with ‘the fact that he drew, and that this drawing, which he pursued seriously, was a kind of writing.’[1] Sontag was making reference to the 700 or so drawings and paintings left by Barthes – usually regarded as a literary critic and social commentator – at his death as the result of a road accident in 1980.

Occasionally reproduced in his books, most visibly on the cover of Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes (1975), but never exhibited during his lifetime, these paintings were, as Barthes himself pointed out, the work of an amateur. ‘The Amateur’, he noted, ‘engages in painting, music, sport, science, without the spirit of mastery or competition[...] he establishes himself graciously (for nothing) in the signifier: in the immediately definitive substance of music, of painting[...] he is – he will be perhaps – the counter-bourgeois artist.’[2]

If Barthes was happy to be an amateur he nonetheless gave this word the weight of a serious critical designation. The practice of an amateur is ‘counter-bourgeois’ insofar as it manages to escape commodification, having been made for the pleasure implicit in production itself, rather than for monetary gain or cultural status. Barthes’ paintings relay an indulgence in the materiality of the brush or pen as it moved across the support, in the body’s engagement with the texture of paint, the physical trace of a shimmering track of ink or a riotous collision of colours. ‘I have an almost obsessive relation to writing instruments’, he reflected in 1973. ‘I often switch from one pen to the other just for the pleasure of it. I try out new ones. I have far too many pens – I don’t know what to do with all of them.’[3] For Barthes, who wrote all his texts by hand, this concern with the tools of writing was connected with his experience and recognition of the intimate materiality of artistic production. Each day he found time to sit at the piano, ‘fingering’ as he called it, and had taken singing lessons in his youth and acted in classical Greek theatre whilst a student at the Sorbonne in the 1930s. The ‘corporeal, sensual content of rock music...expresses a new relation to the body’, he told an interviewer in 1972: ‘it should be defended.’[4]

Barthes’ perceptive analyses of French culture, collected together in Mythologies (1957), were, like his other early writings, overtly Marxist. This approach was later superseded by one in which his prose mimicked the ostensible neutrality of scientific discourse. S/Z (1970), for example, mapped five cultural codes onto a Balzac short story which had been divided up by Barthes into 561 fragments or ‘lexias’, the text being taken to pieces as though it were being examined in a laboratory. His tour de force semiological study of The Fashion System (1967) had relied on a similarly ‘objective’ approach to the linguistic niceties of fashion writing. But the practice of the later Barthes – the Barthes of The Pleasure of the Text (1973), A Lover’s Discourse (1977), and Camera Lucida (1980) – revealed the earlier publications to be complicated machines for the generation of diverse forms of language, modes of writing, as opposed to ‘matter of fact’ commentaries or critiques. When considered together as a corpus or oeuvre, Barthes numerous books suggest an emphatically idiosyncratic individual and author whose ‘political’ and ’scientific’ writings were but elements in a constantly shifting trajectory, stages in a literary career whose central motivation was the repeated reinvigoration of language. Like that of Proust, whose work he described as being for him ‘the reference work...the mandala of the entire literary cosmogony’[5], Barthes’ life might be said to be inseparable from this practice of writing. ‘The language I speak within myself is not of my time’, he mused in The Pleasure of the Text; ‘it is prey, by nature, to ideological suspicion; thus, it is with this language I must struggle. I write because I do not want the words I find...’ (p. 40). This act of writing was not so much a reflection of the ‘self’ Barthes happened to be at a given moment as a means of self-invention, of, in fact, reinvention without end. To work on language was, for Barthes, to work upon the self, engaging with received ideas, cultural stereotypes, and cliches of every kind in order to overthrow or reposition them, moving around and through language into another order of action and effect. ‘All his writings are polemical,’ suggests Sontag, but a strong optimistic strand is clearly evident too: ‘He had little feeling for the tragic. He was always finding the advantage of a disadvantage.’[6]

But if one was, as a human being, condemned to relentlessly signify, to make, and be oneself made into ‘meanings’, Barthes seriously pursued in his watercolours and assiduous scribbles the impossible position of the exemption of meaning. If these paintings are ‘a kind of writing’, they are forgeries, fragments of false tongues and imaginary ciphers, closer to what Barthes himself termed ‘texts of bliss’, rather than ‘texts of pleasure’, though positioned somewhere between the two.

This opposition, which runs through The Pleasure of the Text, defines texts of pleasure as constituting an attractive but ultimately mundane aesthetic form, whilst those of bliss or, in the French, jouissance, comprise a radical break, not merely within language but within the very fabric of culture itself. Such a binary opposition can be found elsewhere in Barthes’ writings. The terms ‘studium’ and ‘punctum’ in Camera Lucida are a case in point, the former referring to the commonality of photographic representations with which we are today surrounded, whilst ‘punctum’ designates a puncture or disturbance in the viewer. ‘A detail overwhelms the entirety of my reading; it is an immense mutation of my interest...By the mark of something, the photograph is no longer “anything whatever”.’ (p. 49) With such an emphasis on the reader’s or viewer’s individual response Barthes moved closer and closer to autobiography and the subjective format of the jotting or journal. Most famous for his 1968 essay ‘The Death of the Author’, the acutely particular tone of Barthes’ writing later appears to contradict the loss of authorial authority celebrated in this immensely influential work.[7] Rather than ‘critic’, ‘literary historian’ or ‘structuralist’, the appelation ‘writer’ looks to be the most succinct for all the different ‘Barthes’ we encounter in his writings. He is finally all these things and none, ‘a subject in process’, to use a term from his student Julia Kristeva.[8] Yet Barthes recognised that the artist or author can never control meaning, that the last word always belongs to someone else: ‘to write is to permit others to conclude one’s own discourse, and writing is only a proposition whose answer one never knows. One writes in order to be loved, one is read without being able to be loved, it is doubtless this distance which constitutes the writer.’[9]

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:42:37 -0800
<![CDATA[Nicolas Cage is one of the most versatile actors of all time]]>

Nicolas Cage is one of the most versatile actors of all time.Nicolas Cage moves fruit to mouth with imperceptible motion.Nicolas Cage doesn’t usually like to admit his feelings.Nicolas Cage’s face hand painted on a denim jacket.Nicolas Cage was attractive in the 1980s.Nicolas Cage meant to steal the Declaration of Independence, But instead he stole her heart.Nicolas Cage can do anything you can do better.Nicolas Cage surfs with the emotions of others.Nicolas Cage has a way with words.YESTERDAY, I REPLACED ALL OF OUR FAMILY PHOTOS WITH NICOLAS CAGE’S FACE, AND MY PARENTS STILL HAVEN’T NOTICED.Keep Calm And Imagine Nicolas Cage Saying : “Mumbo Jumbo.”Nicolas Cage leaps out, cackling and howling at the moon.Nicolas Cage texts with no spaces.Nicolas Cage sings “Love Shack” by the B-52’s.Nicolas Cage’s Face on Every Character in ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’.Nicolas Cage is looking at himself in a mirror right now.Nicolas Cage owns a 9-foot-tall pyramid in New Orleans and plans to be buried in it. But instead he stole her heart.Nicolas Cage stars as Nicolas Cage in: Nicolas Cage.Nicolas Cage smells like new born baby birds.Find out how Nicolas Cage handles his relationships and test what you and Nicolas Cage have going in love, marriage, friendship, partnership, dating and more.Sometimes at parties, two or more people ask Nicolas Cage questions at the same time.Nicolas Cage meets Shia Labeouf at the Oscars when competing in the same category. Shia Labeouf teaches Nicolas Cage how to ‘feel’.Nicolas Cage gets more than he bargained for during the new moon.Nicolas Cage sponsored by Crocs on Internet Explorer.Nicolas Cage isn’t affected by water, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, since he isn’t a normal cat.Nicolas Cage Performs John Cage’s Silent Masterpiece, “4:33”.Nicolas Cage became the first person to ever check his email without a computer, But instead he stole her heart.Nicolas Cage is switching on the Christmas lights in Bath.“Some religious extremists speculate Nicolas Cage’s head is a hollow vessel that angels will occupy on Judgment Day.”Please don’t masturbate, Nicolas cage.Nicolas cage thinks YOU are a terrible actor.Nicolas Cage’s condition is caused by two magnetic poles.Nicolas Cage is on a plane full of convicts.Nicolas Cage developed his own acting method, and it’s called Nouveau Shamanic.Nicolas Cage rode a centaur through a local Woolworths demanding ‘all the midget gems’.Nicolas Cage is inspired by his pet cobra.Nicolas Cage Pisses Fire.Nicolas Cage is the pinnacle of all human achievement.Nicolas Cage was temporary President of Angola for six months in 1997.Nicolas Cage is at home, reading a new script and drinking coffee, when he, after a short period of time and a couple of sudden happenings, finds himself in Equestria, whereupon he is arrested. But instead he stole her heart.Tonight: Nicolas Cage WILL be here.When I die, throw pictures of Nicolas Cage into my grave.

Sun, 28 Apr 2013 07:53:18 -0700
<![CDATA[Nightmares Submitted by Nathan Altice | Featuring music by...]]>

Nightmares Submitted by Nathan Altice | Featuring music by Circuit Lions GIF Source : GifMovie

Want to take part in future episodes? : Submit a GIFbite

Fri, 28 Dec 2012 02:55:00 -0800
<![CDATA[The Library of Babel in 140 characters (or fewer)]]>

The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word in the English language; Shakespeare's folios, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, exploded; Constantine XI, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard, in abundance; and definitive discographies of Every. Artist. Ever...

All this, I repeat, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be.

Sat, 27 Oct 2012 09:15:00 -0700
<![CDATA[War and Peace ebook readers find a surprise in its Nooks]]>

A few days ago a blogger who identifies himself as just "Philip" took to his site to recount his experience of reading War and Peace – specifically, a 99¢ version as sold through Barnes and Noble's Nook store. A contextually important reminder: the Nook is Barnes and Noble's answer to Amazon's Kindle and the two devices have invariably been pitted against each other in a kind of ereader war.

When, however, Philip came across the line, "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern", the Kindle/Nook rivalry wasn't foremost in his mind. Instead, he thought he'd just stumbled on an unorthodox verb-translation or some other minor textual hiccup. It was only when that rogue "Nookd" struck again that he realised, via the text's search function, that every instance of the word "kindle" or "kindle" had, in fact, been changed to "Nook" and "Nookd".

Which means Tolstoy has been subjected to indignities – and absurdities – such as this: "When the flame of the sulphur splin

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 05:23:00 -0700
<![CDATA[In the Digital Era, Publication Isn’t Preservation]]>

Publication used to mean preservation but it no longer does. Let me explain.

When a print book is published its metadata is literally attached to its content. The author and title, publisher and imprint, price, ISBN and barcode, as well as the size, the shape, the binding are clear, easily referenced at a glance. Part of the complicated process of digitizing books that the Hathi Trust, the Internet Archive, and Google, for example, faced was how to record and connect all of this information to a digital file. For scanned and even more seriously for born-digital e-books, as Digital Book World pointed out earlier this month (Brian O’Leary clearly agrees), the matter is more complex.

First of all, it’s not always readily obvious that the metadata is correct. But just as important, the connection of metadata to digital book content is more tenuous. Without a hard copy to refer back to, a piece of information that goes missing may not be retrievable. For this reason (and more), the Intern

Mon, 21 May 2012 10:46:01 -0700
<![CDATA['Will reading in the digital era erode our ability to understand the world?' No, the world has designs of its own...]]>

Quite the opposite, so long as we grasp the fresh routes to knowledge, and connection, that technological change brings, says Nick Harkaway.

These are old, old fears in a new form. In ancient Greece, Socrates reportedly didn't fancy a literate society. He felt that people would lose the capacity to think for themselves, simply adopting the perspective of a handy written opinion, and that they would cease to remember what could be written down. To an extent, he was right. We do indeed take on and regurgitate information, sometimes without sufficient analysis, and we do use notes as an aide memoire - though even now, when our brains have begun to assume the ability to Google information, studies show we can still memorise facts perfectly well if we know we will need to. But Socrates was also wrong: literacy isn't a catastrophe for knowledge, but a huge boon. It allows us to gain an understanding of the work of lifetimes in short order, preparing the way for research into topics we might

Thu, 17 May 2012 03:38:40 -0700
<![CDATA[How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper?]]>

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author's real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)." 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader's time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:05:41 -0800
<![CDATA["Models of communication are…not merely representations of communication but representations for..."]]>

“Models of communication are…not merely representations of communication but representations for communication: templates that guide, unavailing or not, concrete processes of human interaction, mass and interpersonal.” - James Carey, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society

The Shannon and Weaver Model - The Late Age of Print

Mon, 20 Feb 2012 07:21:08 -0800
<![CDATA[Life after Papyrus: The Swerve]]>

Books. They have an almost alarming corporeality. Stephen Greenblatt, esteemed Harvard professor and founder of New Historicism, tells us that between the eras of papyrus and paper, books were often made of the pumice-smoothed skins of sheep, goats, deer, or, most luxuriously, of an aborted calf. The act of writing required rulers, awls, fine pens, and weights to keep the surfaces flat. Ink was a mix of soot, water, and tree gum; it was revised with knives, razors, brushes, rags, and page-restoring mixtures of milk, cheese, and lime. Squirming black creatures called bookworms liked to eat these pages, along with wool blankets and cream cheese. In the silence of monastery libraries, even the books’ contents were indicated by bodily gestures. Monks copying pagan books requested them by scratching their ears like dogs with fleas, or, if the book were particularly offensive, shoving two fingers in their mouths, as if gagging. In Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, these objects, offensive or sacred, are the primary players.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 05:05:50 -0800
<![CDATA[E-books Can't Burn]]>

E-books Can't Burn: Could it be that ebooks bring us closer to the Could it be the fact that the e-book thwarts our ability to find particular lines by remembering their position on the page? Or our love of scribbling comments (of praise and disgust) in the margin? It’s true that on first engagement with the e-book we become aware of all kinds of habits that are no longer possible, skills developed over many years that are no longer relevant. We can’t so easily flick through the pages to see where the present chapter ends, or whether so and so is going to die now or later. In general, the e-book discourages browsing, and though the bar at the bottom of the screen showing the percentage of the book we’ve completed lets us know more or less where we’re up to, we don’t have the reassuring sense of the physical weight of the thing (how proud children are when they get through their first long tome!), nor the computational pleasures of page numbers (Dad, I read 50 pages today). This can be a problem for academics: it’s hard to give a proper reference if you don’t have page numbers.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 15:50:20 -0800
<![CDATA[Worth a new Mass?]]>

How should seminal texts from the remote past be translated in a contemporary idiom?

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 07:06:14 -0800
<![CDATA[Zombie Editions: An Archaeology of POD Areopagiticas]]>

This is a zombie edition, one of many I found for early modern texts on Amazon. Produced as cheap print-on-demand editions from EEBO or GoogleBook scans, they're listed alongside reputable scholarly print editions published by university presses, indistinguishable at first glance except for a few glaring markers. Like a mismatched cover image --

-- or excessively expressive titles:

Closer examination reveals their undead status. In the case of English Reprints Jhon Milton Areopagitica, the publisher is the aptly-named BiblioLife, a project of BiblioLabs, which designs software "to address the challenges of cost-effectively bringing old books back to life." (BiblioLabs takes the "brining things back to life" shtick pretty seriously. Their website proudly boasts that their company is located in a "Renewal Community" -- a distressed urban zone where businesses are eligible for billions in tax incentives.)

Sun, 16 Oct 2011 09:06:15 -0700