Scientists have used metaphors to conceptualize and understand phenomena since early Greek philosophy. Aristotle used many anthropomorphic ideas to describe natural occurrences, but the technology of the time, needing constant human intervention, offered little in the way of metaphors for the mind. Since then, theorists have compared the human mind to the clock, the steam engine, the radio, the radar, and the computer, all of increasing complexity.
Sound Unbound is now available! I recently served as Assistant Editor to Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky on his essay collection, Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Contributors include Erik Davis, Manuel De Landa, Cory Doctorow, Chuck D, Brian Eno, Dick Hebdige, Vijay Iyer, Jaron Lanier, Jonathan Lethem, Moby, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, and Saul Williams, among many others — and now it’s out.
The scariest moment of Bowling for Columbine (2002) was watching the security camera footage of the shootings. Something about seeing that black and white representation of Eric Harris’ and Dylan Klebold’s grainy forms stalking the cafeteria that morning was just plain eerie.
In a 2005 Daniel Robert Epstein interview, Pi director Darren Aronofsky likened writing to making a tapestry: “I’ll take different threads from different ideas and weave a carpet of cool ideas together.” In the same interview, he described the way those ideas hang together in his films, saying, “every story has its own film grammar so you have to sort of figure out what the story is about and then figure out what each scene is about and then that tells you where to put the camera.”
Remember when music was good — when bands stood for something and the music they created was from the heart? Remember when music was real?
The mailbox at my parents’ house in Alabama is at the end of winding asphalt strip, the only interruption in acres of sporadic deciduous trees, save their house of course. One day almost exactly twenty years ago, some of the best mail I ever received happened upon that mailbox.
Marié Digby was lauded as the internet’s next big find, a phenomena that had grown organically through digital word-of-mouth, but the media’s multi-roomed echo chamber told on itself. Maybe it was too much, too quickly, but just after Digby’s couple of homey, simple YouTube videos started spreading online, she was featured on radio stations, MTV, iTunes, announcing that she’d been signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records. The official press release headline read, “Breakthrough YouTube Phenomenon Marié Digby Signs With Hollywood Records.” What didn’t come out until later was that her name …
In 1959, C. P. Snow lamented a chasm between what he called the Two Cultures: artsy types on one side and stuffy science folks on the other. Well, Jonah Lehrer has been trying to bring them back together. His book Proust was a Neuroscientist (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) makes large strides toward their collusion by showing how the insights of several artists, musicians, writers, and one chef were a step ahead of the science of their time. In spite of Sir Karl Popper’s insistence that “real” science be falsifiable (though …
The much-discussed, much-explored interface between humans and machines is seemingly our final frontier. Comparing the interface to the Victorian novel and the 1950s television show (both of which shaped society’s understanding at the time), Steven Johnson wrote, “There are few creative acts in modern life more significant than this one, and few with such broad social consequences.” The graphical user interface has come to represent all of the many processes going on inside the computer — and the way we interact with each other through them.