Articles Archive for March 2015

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March 31st, 2015 | No Comment | Category: Reviews
Blank Solitude: The Alien Gaze of <em>Under the Skin</em>

Somehow over the past decade or so, Scarlett Johansson has emerged in film as the ultimate human. She shook Bob Harris (Bill Murray) out of a late-life lull in Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003). She repeated Logan’s Run in The Island (2005). She’s the voice of the artificially intelligent operating system in Spike Jonze’s her (2013). She transcends her own brain and body in the woefully disappointing Lucy (2014). And she is rumored to be starring in the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, which is currently in …

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March 26th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gaming the Change: Cyborgs and Representation | Category: Reviews
Gaming the Change: Cyborgs and Representation

At the onset of network culture, the online dream of the 1990s was a world without gender, a cyber-sidestepping of patriarchy’s reign on the body, Foucault’s biopower re-imagined through integrated circuits. Though this vision was only tangentially related to gaming, one look at the multiple controversies involved in Gamergate is enough to declare the dream of the 1990s long dead. In A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway (1991) writes, “Some differences are playful; some are poles of world historical systems of domination” (p. 161). Parsing the layers of these embedded systems …

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March 23rd, 2015 | Comments Off on Scanning the Skies for Daylight Deities | Category: Reviews, Videos
Scanning the Skies for Daylight Deities

Belief in aliens is often used as a trope on television and movies to signify instability or insanity. The hundreds of accounts available consist largely of unverifiable evidence and arguments that are shaky at best. Many of the reporters of alien phenomena seek to find them. Their seeking is “wishful thinking” in the words of Carl Jung (1964, p. 69). Yet, in his one book on the subject, Jung (1978) admits that “a purely psychological explanation is illusory, for a large number of observations point to natural phenomenon, or even a …

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March 20th, 2015 | Comments Off on Bookshelf Beats Interview | Category: About, Announcements
Bookshelf Beats Interview

Bookshelf Beats is an interview site run by Gino Sorcinelli. He interviews different authors and writers about their favorite books. For mine, I chose James Gleick‘s Chaos (Viking, 1987), a book that blew my head wide open during a tumultuous time in my late 20s.

Here are a few excerpts:
My life while reading Chaos went through a total upheaval. The start-up company I was working for was purchased and shut down, I broke up with my girlfriend of six years, and I moved from Seattle to San Francisco to work as …

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March 17th, 2015 | Comments Off on On the Grid: Nice New Notebooks | Category: Reviews
On the Grid: Nice New Notebooks

If there’s anything I’ve learned definitively about the creative process, it’s that you can’t skimp on tools. Computers, software, and tablets are great and useful for many tasks, but notebooks are the tools I can’t work without. To that end, Princeton Architectural Press puts out Grids & Guides (2015), lovely sets of notebook paper with lines of all kinds.

There’s also the super-good Grids & Guides hardback notebook. Subtitled “A Notebook for Visual Thinkers,” this one has the periodic table of the elements, the planets, the human skeletal system, basic geometry, …

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March 04th, 2015 | Comments Off on Kim Gordon: Femme Fearless | Category: Essays, Reviews
Kim Gordon: Femme Fearless

When I started discovering music on my own, Sonic Youth was already a band with records out. In that sense, I don’t know a world without them. I once wrote that they weren’t a band, that they were an institution. One could say the same about Kim Gordon. Her presence in the band and her relationship with Thurston Moore showed us what was possible—and not only that it was possible but that it was also sustainable. Writer Elissa Schappell said that they’d shown an entire generation how to grow up. And …