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Cyber_Reader
critical writings for the digital era
319 pages
Phaidon Press, London, New-York, 2002
ISBN: 0714840718

The collection of articles come from a variety of backgrounds and are organised in chronological order. The oldest one being from Charles Babbage 1864 - the latest one from Anthony Dunne 1999. Among them are essays from Eric Drexler, Steven Levy, William Gibson, Erik Davies, Stelarc, Cedric Price, Greg Bear, Sherry Turkle, Kevin Kelly, Hans Moravec and Vannevar Bush - among others. Get "incurably informed" ...

And some MESSY NOTES:
Cedric Price: "to cater [...] control, containment and delight."

McLuhan: "Man has become the sex organ of the machine." We become what we make. If radio retribalised - media now solipsises. Everyone his own station, also customizing news. No more talk with the butcher the baker the candelstickmaker. Could be from Norman or Jung. Or Virilio.

Roger Lewin with a nice essay about "Life in the Computer" - complex behaviours by simple rules.

Erik Davies bores with memes, language as a virus and Philip K. Dick.

Baudrillard: "We are in a univers where there is more and more information, but less and less meaning."

Kevin Kelly writes a brilliant and wise essay about emergent behaviour, bottom-up development (the only real development, forget Stelarc) a different concept of artificial and real!

The first relevant, essay new for me i find at page 238 by Karen A. Franck. "When i Enter Virtual Reality, What Body Will I Leave behind? from 1995.

We ARE our bodies, our relationship to the world and to artefacts are determined by the abilities and constraints of our bodies. All the talk of Gibson and Stelarc or Moravec about our bodies as "flesh cages" is obsolete. You would be aware of this reading Heidegger, Buber.
We are who we are because of our bodies. We would be different otherwise.

So, Franck is the same opinion, and describes similarities between real and virtual spaces and how we interact in them. In both we have to move an arm, turn the head to see or touch something.
One can change the appearance, gender.
We could say that VR is becoming more interesting since the environment is more and more devastated and Otaku's write the essays on VR. And its a continuing of the enmity and neglect the physical body has received in western culture.

Michael Heim surprises with a very spiritual and poetic view of VR. "The virtual REality of the Tea Ceremony" from 1998.
He sees "Cyberspace" as a tool to actually re-discover our relationship with reality - and does he does so by making suggestions for adding more subtle, poetic features to it. Though at least one has to be aware of them to implement them.

"One day a young man observes an old sage fetching water from the village well. The old man lowered a wooden bucket on a rope and pulled water up, hand over hand. The youth disappeared and returned with a wooden pulley. He approached the old man and showed him how the device works ... 'If I use a device like this, my mind will think itself clever. With a cunning mind, I will no longer put my heart into what I am doing. Soon my wrist alone will do the work, turning the handle. If my heart and whole body is not in my work, my work will become joyless. When my work is joyless, how do you think the water will taste?'

Heim refers to parts of the Tea Ceremony ritual as described by D T Suzuki. Here the subtle qualities are refered to as "psychosphere" a psychic atmosphere or "inner field of consciousness."

"We need more tea ceremonies" more wind in the trees, teaching us to appreciate nature. Does radiomap do that?

Zusammenhang - things must hang together ... holism means a unified atmospere.

There is a sense of place in webdesign. "Without distance true intimace cannot arise."

Anthony Dunne describes in "Hertzian Space his idea of a new connection with our artefacts. Electronic objects dream - they leak radiation. They are hybrids made of matter and radiation.

"Nothing is known for certain, all we can do is offer the content of our heads."

last update: 4/20/02010 15:48

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