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Publishing | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"metaLAB is committed to developing and experimenting with new models of scholarly and cultural communication. Its publishing projects involve partnerships with university presses, museums, libraries, and archives, and explore the boundaries of both print plus and post-print publishing. Print plus refers to innovative intertwinings between digital and printed artifacts; post-print to purely digital/multimedia models of dissemination.

There are four main areas of publishing that we are currently exploring:

◉ alternate futures for the scholarly book (the metaLABprojects series)
◉ multichannel publishing (ludic variations on the metaLABprojects series books)
◉ iterative and instant publishing (print as process, not as product)
◉ digital publishing (natively digital publishing experiments)

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Beautiful Data Publications

These publications serve as entry points to engagement with both the material and the modes of inquiry that shaped the Beautiful Data workshop. With the intention of “open-sourcing” the elements and processes that came out of the workshop, these publications complement the material available on this website, offering routes for exploration of this material that are meant to be applicable in diverse contexts. We hope that you will activate whatever elements seem useful to you, fostering the continuing evolution of Beautiful Data.

◉ The field guide documents the concepts and flows of information that came out of the Beautiful Data workshop, linking critical discussion with invitations to experimentation and making. Using a range of modes, including case studies, maps, activities, and prototypes (and linking to online documentation of these elements), the guide aims to serve as a resource, providing various entry points into the dialogue surrounding Beautiful Data and promoting further experimentation around this material.

◉ The prototyping game provides a set of raw materials for remixing and rethinking the ways in which we design experiences with objects. This playful framework, drawn from institutional missions and contexts, offers springboards for discussion, ideation, and project development.

◉ The provocation cards, drawn from the work of participants in Beautiful Data’s weekend workshop component, provide prompts for adventures in museums, lightly provoking users to engage with these spaces in new and generative ways.

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metaLABprojects Series

Developed with our partner, Harvard University Press, the series provides a platform for emerging currents of experimental scholarship, documenting key moments in the history of networked culture, and promoting critical thinking about the future of institutions of learning. The volumes’ eclectic, improvisatory, idea-driven style advances the proposition that design is not merely ornamental, but a means of inquiry in its own right. Accessibly priced and provocatively designed, the series invites readers to take part in reimagining print-based scholarship for the digital age. The first three books in the series are:

Matthew Battles, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, The Library Beyond the Book

Johanna Drucker, Graphesis – Visual Forms of Knowledge Production

Todd Presner, David Shepherd, Yoh Kawano, HyperCities – Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities

The “provocations” strewn throughout The Library Beyond the Book may also be found in playing card deck form:

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sandBOX

Inspired by mid-twentieth century experimental publications like Aspen Magazine, metaLAB is planning a “documentary in a box” project that will serve as a lab archive, time capsule, and collection of remixable provocations in material form. The publication, with sandBOX for its working title, will consist of a set of objects—maps, field guides, card decks, lego sets, and sundry unnameables that breach the analog/digital divide—delivered to its audience in a box. Under the editorial direction of metaLAB fellow Maggie Gram, sandBOX will eventuate through an iterative cascade of publishing phenomena beginning in early 2015."
metalab  2014  publishing  books  lcproject  openstudioproject  cscrd  print  srg  johannadrucker  matthewbattles  jeffreyschnapp  toddpresner  davidshepherd  yohkawano  hypercities  sandbox  beautifuldata  fieldguides  prototyping  cards  epublishing  digital 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles: Going Feral on the Net: the Qualities of Survival in a Wild, Wired World on Vimeo
"How do we balance the empowering possibilities of the networked public sphere with the dark, unsettling, and even dangerous energies of cyberspace? Matthew Battles blends a deep-historical perspective on the internet with storytelling that reaches into its weird, uncanny depths. It’s a hybrid approach, reflecting the web’s way of landing us in a feral state—the predicament of a domestic creature forced to live by its imperfectly-rekindled instincts in a world where it is never entirely at home. The feral is a metaphor—and maybe more than just a metaphor—for thriving in cyberspace, a habitat that changes too rapidly for anyone truly to be native. This talk will weave critical and reflective discussion of online experience with a short story from Battles’ new collection, The Sovereignties of Invention."
feral  matthewbattles  internet  via:tealtan  2012  web  online  cyberspace  networkculture  dogs  storytelling  paulford  everchanging  uncertainty  unnatural  discomfort  middlegrounds  survival  wild  caution  nomansland 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The Library Beyond The Book - Jeffrey Schnapp - YouTube
"Harvard Prof. Jeffrey Schnapp on redundancy between digital and analogue formats, physically assembled communities, and multiple types of libraries"
libraries  jeffreyschnapp  2014  reading  books  ebooks  digitalbooks  digitalpublishing  epublishing  digitalage  future  matthewbattles  archives  databases  knowledge  pop-ups  popuplibraries  multiplicity  plurality  thirdspaces  diversity  libraryfuturism  bookfuturism  collecting  access  local  communities 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The future of the library: How they’ll evolve for the digital age.
"Across the United States, librarians have been experimenting with ways of expanding on this newly elaborated mission—for instance, by opening so-called “maker spaces” in annexes and areas where bookshelves have been cleared out. A throwback to the mechanic’s library of the 19th century, maker spaces collect old and new technologies, from sewing machines to 3-D printers, and encourage patrons to develop and share skills that cannot be practiced over the Internet.

For those who might look askance at the prospect of their library morphing into a bookless social club for gearheads and gadget nerds, a group of young arts-oriented librarians have formed the Library as Incubator Project to promote a different, though by no means incompatible, vision of “third place.” On its website, the Library as Incubator Project highlights library programs from around the country that involve displaying, facilitating, or disseminating art, often by and for the local community. Favorite projects include the Local Music Project at the Iowa City Public Library, where librarians lease recordings from local artists and offer them online to cardholders for free, and the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project, a traveling bookmobile that accumulates donated 32-page sketchbooks from both professional and amateur artists and displays them around the country. It’s easy to imagine how a local institution built on these sorts of programs could continue to serve as hospital of the soul and theme park of the imagination long after all the paper books have been cleared away.

Both maker spaces and Library as Incubator–style art programs engage library patrons to produce their own content. Also in this vein, some wealthier libraries have begun hosting self-publishing and print-on-demand technologies like the Espresso Book Machine. If basic Internet access is no longer anything to write home about, it’s notable that the cutting-edge technologies that libraries can boast of providing on-site access to are used more for creating and less for passive, traditional library activities like reading and watching.

On a broader scale, the recently-launched Digital Public Library of America, operating out of the Boston Public Library, is building a nationwide digital collection of historical materials sourced everywhere from libraries and private collections to family photo albums and boxes of old letters in the attic. According to founder Dan Cohen, the DPLA’s ambition is to work with local libraries to collect materials and perhaps eventually to present them at touch-screens designed to help patrons explore the history of their specific communities. “We love the idea of making a connection between the digital and physical realm,” Cohen says.



Patching the gaps of the fraying social safety net with shelter, bathrooms, and other very basic services for people in crisis is not part of the original mission of public libraries. It can detract from other services, particularly those aimed at children. Perhaps for this reason, a library in Orange County, Calif., recently instituted a napping and odor ban.

However, public libraries have long served a progressive, interventionist agenda, putting knowledge directly into the hands of the poor, the immigrant, and those historically excluded from certain educational institutions. If no better resources can be cobbled together, isn’t it against the spirit of the library to turn away a person in need? It remains to be seen how this commitment will affect middle-class willingness to fund public libraries.

Outside of the publicly financed system, the library-as-intervention model thrives in fringy endeavors like books-to-prisons projects, the Occupy Wall Street library, or the Little Free Library’s outdoor book-sharing boxes. It’s a good time to operate one of these outsider libraries, which are particularly well positioned to make use of the vast detritus of unwanted paper books currently washing up every day at Goodwill stores and recycling centers.

It remains uncertain exactly what will happen to the New York Public Library’s Main Branch in the renovations already underway. Supposedly forthcoming is a plan that will preserve the Snead stacks as part of a new circulating library, allowing patrons to see and experience the historic stack design, which has been off-limits to visitors up until now. This plan should satisfy preservationists, if not scholars hoping to keep the research collection intact. If it carries the day, the stacks will have survived less as a functional element of city infrastructure and more as a museum curiosity for tablet-toting patrons of the future.

But perhaps it’s in the model of the museum that nostalgic and futurist visions of libraries converge. Just as families have begun to visit NC State’s campus to gawk at the book-fetching robots, so tourists of the coming decades might plan trips to 42nd Street to walk the venerable stacks that once served as intellectual aquifer to a great city in its era of cultural blossoming.



These days, of course, cathedrals aren’t in much better shape than libraries. To maintain a monumental institution in the middle of a community requires patronage, in both the financial and civic engagement senses. If the people want emerging technologies more than they want books, libraries have to respond to that, even if it means closing up shop and moving entirely online.

Matthew Battles, who since publishing his history of libraries has become a principal at Harvard’s forward-looking metaLAB, believes that the future of libraries must be decided not by nostalgic scholars or librarians hoping to save their jobs, but in conversation with communities. “Librarians, scholars, policy makers all have to be part of that dialogue, but it must embrace a civic context, not the institutional context,” he says. “If you do that, having spent a lot of time in libraries and meetings with library administration, you end up in this conversation of how do you save the library. People say, ‘We know we have to change, but we don’t know how.’ There’s a death spiral in that dialogue.”
michaelagresta  libraries  digital  matthewbattles  nypl  dpla  makerspaces  2014  future  history 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Urge of the Letter: Social media surely change identity performance....
"Often, the critique of device dependence in connected life today turns on forms of etiquette that emerge or change in the context of technology. Sherry Turkle is perhaps the best-known and most grounded of such critics—and yet I often find myself wondering whether she gets the moral and psychological import of such social forms precisely backward. “I talk to young people about etiquette when they go out to dinner,” she writes in a recent op-ed, “and they explain to me that when in a group of, say, seven, they make sure that at least three people are ‘heads up’ in the ‘talking’ conversation at any one time.” For Turkle, this is evidence of how “[t]echnology doesn’t just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are.” But isn’t this evidence instead of our social malleability and adaptability, our capacity for incorporating devices and signals into new modes of address? And as Jurgenson points out in the quote above, it isn’t as though devices arrived in the midst of a sociable utopia of autonomous persons engaged in exchanges of authenticity—for we humans always have deployed rituals and discursive forms to discipline, mediate, and construct social selves.

On the other hand, I’m reminded of Bruce Sterling’s observations about disconnection, in which device-independence becomes a kind of luxury practice akin to boutique poultry farming and meditation retreats—an indulgence of those wealthy enough to afford assistance in human form, or can avoid those dependencies of work, social, and civic life that increasingly require us to maintain our tech-mediated connectivity. Devices can make us susceptible to surveillance and control in insidious and comprehensive ways. It’s important to remember, however, that such control is not a thing technology does to us out of some inherent hegemonic impulse, but the result of choices we make about its design and use."
2014  matthewbattles  digitaldualism  nathanjurgenson  sherryturkle  brucesterling  nuance  disconnection  socialmedia  identity  performance  etiquette  context  technology  morality  psychology  malleability  behavior  adaptability  society  social  mediation  discipline  connectivity  surveillance  control  design  choice 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Library Beyond the Book
"My colleague Matthew Battles and I recently completed the lead book in the new metaLABprojects series that will be launched by Harvard University Press in the spring of 2014. Under the title of The Library Beyond the Book, it reflects on what libraries have been in the past from a broad cultural anthropological and architectonic standpoint in order to speculate on what they will become in the future: hybrid places that intermingle books and ebooks, analog and digital formats, paper and pixels.

Throughout history, Matthew and I argue, libraries have been sites for new media, new technical demands, and new cultural forms, that have encompassed an array of typologies that build into future scenarios for the library after the book. These scenarios include:

• the Mausoleum—a place to commemorate and commune the dead

• the Cloister–a refuge for reflection, meditation and contemplation in shared solitude [Neocloister]

• the Database—a container for information that is classified, accessible, controllable, infinitely expansible

• the sort of Warehouse where the willy-nilly proliferation of documents and stuff is rendered navigable thanks to computational supports and machine eyes [The Accumulibrary]

• a Material Epistemology, where collocations and consanguinities among different kinds of knowledge are proposed, experimented with and affirmed [The Programmable Library]

• and a series of Libraries of the Here and Now untethered to collections, from Mobile Vectors to Civic Spaces (where public ties are forged and affirmed) to freestanding Reading Rooms as spontaneous, popular, insurrectionary responses to closed and controlled versions of all of the above.
 
Such library types have been mixed and matched in the past, and we argue that remix remains the most plausible future scenario.

Here are some sample layouts from the volume (yet to be finalized), developed by the series art director, Daniele Ledda, and his team at XY communications."
jeffreyschnapp  matthewbattles  books  libraries  metalab  metalabprojects  neocloister  accumulibrary  hereandnow  danieleledda  hybridplaces  future  databases  containers 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Past Will Not Be Flat — 5 Viridian Years — Medium
"The network that was supposed to abolish space ended up moving to abolish time instead. Although we once dreamt of cyberspace as a frictionless grid, the network we ended up with needs the x, y, z of realspace. It reminds us of it constantly; it wants to reside in the spaces we inhabit, rather than the other way round. Space is the network’s chief uncanny affordance, lending it a kind of cultural potential energy, a latency of meaning.

When I was young, I had a newspaper route. One morning while walking and flipping the folded papers onto porches, I had a sudden realization that the road I walked along was connected to every other road. There was only the one big road, really—a single surface to comprehend a continent.

What struck me with special force, however, was the authority of time over that space. Leaning down to place a palm on the asphalt that morning, feeling its cool and the bite of its grit, I touched that single surface—and yet its remotest parts remained absolutely alienated from me by sheer walls of time. I can’t get there from here—not without time’s transforming consent.

This time-bounded webwork of roadway is very nearly the opposite kind of network from the one we call the internet. Of course, time plays its role online. Information flows in arteries, where it remains subject everywhere to materiality—indeed it thrives on that materiality, that texture of flow and impedance. That we don’t see it thusly—even when the page-load wheel appears with its spinning memento mori—is merely a trick of ideology. No, we find that everywhere we look, the internet makes light of time. Time is the internet’s too-cheap-to-meter cultural resource, and it’s only just begun burning through it, generating a storm of atemporal media traces that pile up before us as our wings beat furiously."



"Elsewhere in “On the Concept of History,” Benjamin acknowledges that an event is not historic by nature, but instead “becomes this, posthumously, through eventualities which may be separated from it by millennia.” Acknowledging this, the historian “ceases to permit the consequences of eventualities to run through the fingers like the beads of a rosary,” preferring to record “the constellation in which his own epoch comes into contact with that of an earlier one.” The past isn’t one damn thing after another, but a constellation — a network. It’s only through the interface of this network, Benjamin seems to be saying, that we are rendered a sense of the “here-and-now” — a moment, “in which splinters of messianic time are shot through.”

Finally (but never finally), this: history is not another country, not the not-even-past, not even that which we are condemned to repeat. History is everywhere, rather; you’re soaking in it. And yet we’re not angels: our faces are turned away, and we’re trailing history in our wakes. Each wake swerves as it unfolds; they swerve in groups, as nations and populations and assemblages yet unknown (but already in potential). And at every scale — from the single missed mixed message to whole constellations of the here-and-now — history, as it escapes from the box a trace at a time, is precisely this multiple and individual.

Meanwhile at every second, Benjamin concludes, the future offers “the narrow gate, through which the Messiah could enter.”"
walterbenjamin  2013  matthewbattles  time  atemporality  constellationalthinking  thinking  viridiannote  environment  sustainability  networks  space  brucesterling  leomarx  benjaminfranklin  context  storytelling  internetasliterature  history  memory  past  present  future  internetasfavoritebook 
october 2013 by robertogreco
slope: intercept // A Search for Ramps and Elevations Everywhere
"It might seem counterintuitive—it doesn’t even move, after all—but its very structure affords an operative effect of force, allowing you to elevate and transfer an object you can’t lift with brute strength. It’s an elegance of physics.

In mechanical engineering, a ramp is an inclined plane, a flat surface that sits at an angle for raising and lowering a load. The inclined plane joins the pulley, the wheel-and-axle, the lever, the wedge, and the screw to create the historical pantheon of simple machines; they’re the core structures that give mechanical advantage. They transform energy, which is why they’re the building blocks of compound machines, of all sophisticated engineering."
sarahendren  ramps  machines  physics  art  engineering  2013  elevations  architecture  access  accessibility  mobility  visibility  matthewbattles  inclinedplanes  accelerations  diminutives  transversals  vantages 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Libraries & Occupations on Vimeo
"A history talk comparing the libraries of today's Occupation movements in Wall Street and elsewhere to the reading rooms of the Chartist movement of 19th-century Britain."
matthewbattles  ows  occupywallstreet  libraries  history  2012  chartists  readingrooms  progressivism 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles – What is a specimen
"The little ivory characters are examples of tupilaq, a genre of carved critter widespread among the Inuit and other peoples of the far north. The tupilaq that live outside of museum time, outside of gallery time, are evil spirits called into being by a shaman for the purpose of making mischief. They carry curses to rivals and enemies. Made from bone and fur and other materials, the tupilaq are powerful magic — and dangerous for those who wield them, for if discovered, their powers turn back on their users unless an immediate public confession is made. Secrecy and darkness are the native habitat of the tupilaq; they lose their power when exposed to the sociable light."



"Objects arrive webbed in connections, and hoard their most intimate gestures and relations in unreachable treasure-houses. A collected object is a kind of vessel, freighted with an irredeemable record of acts and things, inaccessible worlds of sense and event, a tissue of phenomenal dark matter caught up in time’s obliterative machinery."



"Forged in an organismic manufactory, tooled by genes (it’s symbols all the way down), a tooth takes its place for a time in a network of perception and action: catching the piercing resonance of whale song bounding in the deep canyons — testing and metering the shifting temperatures of Arctic air — tearing and gripping the trauma-tautened flesh of smolt salmon."



"I want a museum with the modesty to realise that the objects of its interest do not take their sole, true, or final form beneath its gaze. As seen by science, objects withdraw their auras — burning coronas that connect sense and experience to the deep past — and when the galleries and museums are in ruins, they will expose new banners to time’s unfolding."



"Upon leaving the dermestid room, you had to stand in the airlock and brush down your clothes. There was an aroma of putrefaction in the room, but it was faint — you got used to it. The sound, however, was oppressive. The place hummed with a static song of tens of thousands of beetle grubs, hairy and grey, all chewing at sinew and dried muscle."



"Although to call the specimens dead does not sound quite right. For the specimens had transcended or exceeded death, had passed beyond its dominion by means of a process that arrested, ostensibly in perpetuity, their participation in the carbon cycle, the wheel of disarticulation and recombination, that is life on earth."



"An act of predation subsumes and reincorporates phenomenal animal affordances; the scientific sacraments of collecting and accessioning, by contrast, call forth abstract and motive truths, just as the expertise of the shaman reveals and directs the powers of the tupilaq spirits."



"Only later, upon its post-mortem discovery, was this dead creature turned into data. Now roughly preserved and enshrined in the Smithsonian, the dead insect serves as holotype for the computer bug. Like the tupilaq, computer bugs are ungovernable spirits evoked by a kind of transubstantiation. As the uncanny architecture of the computer unfolded itself in Harvard’s labs, the bug found its way not only into the machine’s works but into a new role as an object in our midst — a role that took its place among the object’s other histories and meanings, its penumbra of qualities.

This patterned assemblage of purposes, roles, and given characteristics, this accidental and ephemeral fate, I want to call by the name habit. An effigy, an insect, an animal’s measured, pinned-out pelt — we have our ways of domesticating these objects, of bringing them to ground, fixing them in amber or in print. The precise practices vary with what habits we bring to bear (from science to shamanism) and the collections they inhabit. And here is a clue — for dwelling in the word ‘inhabit’ is ‘habit’ itself. What if the habits in question are not ours, but those of the objects themselves?

A habit is not only a way of acting, but also a costume of a kind. Some objects — books, dice, celery stalks, lens caps — have deeply ingrained habits, while others — seashells and stars, perhaps, but also bottlecaps, icicles, and plastic six-pack yokes twirling in the mid-ocean gyre — wear their habits more lightly. And some objects take on the habit of naphtha and indelible ink, of cotton wool and alum, of cabinet drawer and taxonomic order.

The word ‘habit’ catches for me a sense of the shoddy assortment of qualities that knits an object into the fabric of things, weaving into one whole its social roles, the cultural codes it keys, and its whence-and-whither entanglements with deep time."



"After a long moment, the bat fled in a blur, disappearing into Chicago’s booming late-autumn breeze. It disappeared into the invisible cabinet of its unmeasured curiosity, its habit secreted in the wind."

[Previously: http://hilobrow.com/2013/01/29/resistant-objects/ ]
matthewbattles  objects  collections  museums  nature  aura  2013  tupilaq  meaning  meaningmaking  taxonomy  whales  animlas  teeth  inuit  art  culture  srg  edg  glvo  specimens  life  death  memory  memories  storytelling  holotypes  preparators  procedures  metadata  autotelos  naturalhsitory  georgescuvier  secrecy  darkness  magic  eowilson  history  bugs  computerbugs  habits  time  qualities  shamanism  science  understanding  misunderstanding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Resistant Objects | HiLobrow
"What I’m trying to do is understand how things come to take their place—especially in museums and collections—as embodiments of knowledge, artifacts out of time and nature, and objects provoking curiosity and wonder, how they become objectified. And just as much as Foucault long ago pointed out, neither the natural nor the human sciences exist until “nature” and “the human” take their modern form as such, I’m eager to imagine a science that employs enough modesty to realize that the objects of its interest do not take their sole, true, or final form beneath its gaze. Even under the light of science, objects withdraw their auras, that dark matter reaching back into deep time; and when the museums are in ruins, they will expose new banners to unfolding time. I think Tamen would agree with me here—the tupilaq are players in a luminous, long-durée ecology in which paintings and pelts, sculptures and scarab beetles, clay pots and crania take equal part."

[Expanded here: http://www.aeonmagazine.com/nature-and-cosmos/matthew-battles-museum-pieces/ ]
matthewbattles  objects  2013  museums  withdrawal  foucault  darkmatter  meaning  context  collections  knowledge  stories  storytelling  auras  resistantobjects  ebay  tupilaq  lowellgeorge  corbis  interpretation  interpretableobjects  figurines  sculpture  sociability  northwestterritories  migueltamen  michelfoucault 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Paper Machines | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"I have had the good fortune to work at metaLAB this summer on an open-source tool for text analysis and visualization in the digital humanities. This effort, funded through the Google Summer of Code, is taking place under the tutelage of metaLAB’s own Matthew Battles and the historian and Harvard Junior Fellow Jo Guldi, who will be joining Brown University’s faculty in the fall.

Jo’s project is one of remarkable scope: to chart the history of land reform across the globe, making use of texts and archival data spanning more than a century. The spatial, temporal, and intellectual diffusion of land reform can already be traced in outline, thanks in large part to the scholars and archivists of prior generations who have assembled numerous bibliographies, archives, monographs and glossaries in their attempts to come to grips with the myriad outputs of “paper machines”: colonial administrations, government ministries, NGOs, utopian social movements, academic institutions, and other producers of texts dealing with land and its (re)distribution. But to look both more broadly at and more deeply into the data we have, to find the subtle patterns at unfathomable scales that are the digital humanities’ raison d’être, it is necessary to build new tools that can leverage the best extant algorithms in service of our human powers of perception and intuition."
papermachines  data  global  landreform  history  digitalhumanities  datavis  chrisjohnson-roberson  matthewbattles  metalab  joguldi  summerofcode 
july 2012 by robertogreco
But it moves: the New Aesthetic & emergent virtual taste | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"It’s not totally unreasonable to suppose that *something* is going on in nature, that its constituent objects have some kind of motivation, even if they’re composed of mere chemical gradients or pressure differentials or quantum states. The computer opens up a special case because we made it, and yet it manifests itself in all kinds of ways that seem like a nature—another nature—a little nature, perhaps. There is a strong sense that with computers and their networks, something is going on in there, something emergent and radically other, which nonetheless does begin to infiltrate our edges."

"I don’t think the New Aesthetic is heralding the approach of the Singularity’s event horizon, where computers will vault into consciousness and begin writing a sui-generis literature that drops fully formed from the brow of Stanislaw Lem. The New Aesthetic is making a much humbler move: pointing out these feral phenomena erupting into our midst and saying, but they move."
galileo  jgballard  berg  metalab  theory  technology  2012  jamesbridle  brucesterling  matthewbattles  newaesthetic  thenewaesthetic 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Dreams of Flatland | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"“Wellman is finding that Twitter isn’t flat,” Vidantam says—as if Tom Friedman’s chimerical “flatness” (the analytic value of which has proven to be nil) is the only possible quality of transformative political agency.

In last year’s revolutions, it wasn’t flatness that gave social media its power. It was its hyperlocality, its novel blending of intimate communities and witness at a distance.

Other work in which Wellman is involved argues for the richness of real-world community life that gets instantiated in Twitter. In a paper called “Imagining Twitter as an Imagined Community,” Wellman & his coauthors find that Twitter networks are “the basis for a real community, even though Twitter was not designed to support the development of online communities. There they conclude that “studying Twitter is useful for understanding how people use new communication technologies to form new social connections and maintain existing ones.”

Here’s the thing: Twitter is part of the “real world.”"
networks  hyperlocal  flatness  connections  place  language  nationality  borders  barrywellman  shankarvidantam  andycarvin  tejucole  communitites  thomasfriedman  worldisflat  2012  matthewbattles  community  twitter  sociology  socialmedia  geography  horizontality  horizontalidad 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles: It doesn’t take Cupertino to make textbooks interactive » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Schiller made a sentimental play to this constituency, opening his presentation with a series of excerpted interviews in which teachers sang the sad litany of challenges they face: cratering budgets, overcrowded classrooms, unprepared, disengaged students. The argument that Apple — founded by dropouts and autodidacts — is fundamentally motivated to change this set of conditions is as ludicrous as the notion that the company could ever hope actually to do any such thing…

We can never count Apple out — the company’s visions have an implacable way of turning into givens — but the future is undoubtedly more complex. There will still be overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, and shrinking budgets in an education world animated by Apple. But I prefer to think of teachers and students finding ways to hack knowledge and make their own beautiful stories to envisioning ranks of studens spellbound by magical tablets."
ibooksauthor  ibooks  technology  schooliness  rubrics  standardization  autodidacts  pearson  timcarmody  matthewbattles  publishing  tablets  knwoledgebowl  knowledge  interactive  textbooks  books  schools  learning  storytelling  teaching  education  2012  ipad  apple 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Going dark: SOPA, Wikipedia, and expressive absence | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"The occupations rejuvenated an embodied rhetoric of people in places, a fundamental politics of presence; the impending darkness of Wikipedia (in which the online encyclopedia will be joined by a growing cohort of Internet actors, including the Berkman-born Global Voices project) manifests a complimentary absence.

Occupy rediscovered the politically-compelling qualities of place; in going dark, Wikipedia strives to remind us that while the Internet may exist in virtual space, it has fast become a very real place."
matthewbattles  place  space  protest  pipa  wikipedia  expressiveabsence  presence  2011  ows  2012  sopa 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Call of the Feral | HiLobrow
"Like weeds, we grow in disturbed soil, subsiding between progress and collapse. And yet the very qualities of the feral, qualities that condition our thriving — anonymity, wariness, curiosity — have a way of shading imperceptibly into liabilities.…In London’s Wild we find much that is glowering and judgmental —a gospel of the strong — an exaltation of the primordial qualities of the Law.

The feral, by contrast, is the quality of having no qualities…

we should presume that the feral will only gain in importance in years to come. For as power evades the work of politics, infiltrating the circuits that connect consciousness to consciousness; as the planet urbanizes, filling up with walls to hem us in; as the climate tilts inexorably under the deranging influence of that preeminent domesticated species, Homo sapiens; all creatures must learn to cultivate the feral qualities."

[See also: http://hilobrow.com/tag/feral-muse/ ]
matthewbattles  feral  anarchism  anarchy  literature  jacklondon  animals  deschooling  consciousness  zizek  anonymity  4chan  wariness  curiosity  callofthewild  tovejansson  dhlawrence  zygmuntbauman  jeanstafford  refugees  liquidtimes  thetruedeiver  themountainlion  thefox  progress  collapse  wilderness  wild 
september 2011 by robertogreco
what’s wrong with “prosthetics porn”? (part I) | Abler.
"Which brings me to consider a question someone asked me after a lecture I gave last year: Is it preferable to design adaptive devices that are elegantly designed to be camouflaged (think hearing-aid jewelry), or beautiful & conspicuous, like the legs above? &, with Wallace in mind, should we ethically aim more design research toward near-future applications, rather than wildly speculative gear that may never see the light of day?

Well—yes. To quote Maile Meloy: Both ways is the only way I want it.

I think our energy can go in all these directions, provided we’re reflective enough. I’ve already affirmed the inherent value in playful experimentation. But the bigger challenge is to make extensive machinery that is truly extensive, truly outward in its posture. I think design matters crucially to these questions, because design for disability has the opportunity to critique the weakness of all personal technologies: its tendency to hermetically seal its user from engaging…"
interdependence  design  prosthetics  prostheticsporn  sarahendren  abler  architecture  disabilities  aesthetics  bespokeinnovations  matthewbattles  aimeemullins  objects  mailemeloy  hearing-aids  jewelry  disability 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Reading isn’t just a monkish pursuit: Matthew Battles on “The Shallows” » Nieman Journalism Lab
"In ecosystems like the Gulf of Mexico, the shallows are crucial. They’re the nurseries, where larval creatures feed and grow in relative safety, liminal zones where salt and sweet water mix, where light meets muck, where life learns to contend with extremes. The Internet, in this somewhat dubious metaphor, is no blowout — it’s a flourishing new zone in the ecosystem of reading and writing. And with the petrochemical horror in the Gulf growing daily, we’re learning that the shallows, too, need their champions." [via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5790]
matthewbattles  books  culture  internet  reading  thought  nicholascarr  clayshirky  social  writing  cv  howwework  howwelearn  learning  conversation  gutenberg  complexity  history  journalism  philosophy  ideas 
july 2010 by robertogreco
shirky's surplus - library ad infinitum
"Cognitive Surplus is about a specific kind of free time: not the Hundred-Acre-Wood or the endless summer, but the stock of leisure hours produced by modernity, and the rise of technologies that make it possible to spend that time in engaging ways. And yet the notion of free time itself should be suspicious to us, shouldn't it? "Free time" is something born of an industrial economics of time, a commoditized temporality. Leisure is a boon granted by the system—a perk, a benny. Compensation. And as long as it helps us recharge our batteries and never keeps us from being productive, high-performance workers, free time isn't free... I'm still excited by Shirky's idea. But I want to bring Carr's highbrow concern for the vital uses of cognition, contemplation, and communication to bear upon it. The technologies Shirky celebrates present us with a choice: do we use them as the means of liberation, or as Skinner boxes to while away the off-hours?"

[Also available here: http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/06/not-all-free-time-is-created-equal-battles-on-cognitive-surplus/ ]
cognitivesurplus  clayshirky  via:preoccupations  matthewbattles  nicholascarr  herbertmarcuse  leisure  modernity  technology  recharging  productivity  freedom  cognition  contemplation  communication  2010 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: Constellations of Intelligence
"Ultimately...blending of academy & social web is inevitable...genuine dilemma which one will ultimately remake the other...I would bet on web...here’s why...it’s not head-to-head but 3-way competition. The base of the uni is still probably wash after wash of traditional intellectual culture - medievalism, humanism, Enlightenment...increasingly uprooted by first state & then corporate bureaucracies...ethos of digital culture is actually more sympathetic to traditional humanism than corporate office suite. But technology & economic possibilities of digital culture can also peel away more futurist-thinking of capitalist side...real clincher is writing. If writers, students, researchers & administrators at unis begin to port assumptions about how all of these things work into classroom & academic conference, then it’ll be a relentless wave. W/in generation, nothing will look same. (Nothing will be wiped out, either - unis, as archives of world, retain everything, like the unconscious.)"
universities  colleges  socialmedia  gamechanging  future  writing  teaching  learning  newliberalarts  snarkmarket  institutions  matthewbattles 
august 2009 by robertogreco

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