Author Archives: Roy Christopher

Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT by Institute Historian T. F. Peterson

The Massachusetts Institue of Technology has been host to the leaders of innovations in many fields: Artificial Intelligence, media and communication technology, open source development, and on and on. One of its lesser known areas of bleeding-edge innovation has been pranks and hacking. Well, Institute Historian T. F. Peterson is here to set that straight with Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT. (more…)

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Cyberactivism Edited by Martha McCaughy and Michael D. Ayers

Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice illuminates many current vectors in online activism, never losing sight of the big picture. Martha McCaughy and Michael D. Ayers have assembled a stellar collection of scholarly essays. Sitting at the intersection of virtual and corporeal, theory and praxis, Cyberactivism observes the brief history, the current actions, and the future implications of online activism. (more…)

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From Modernism to Postmodernism and Philosophy of Technology

In short, that contradictions must be accepted. — David Jones

To unify the thing that is postmodernism might sound futile at the outset, but Lawrence Cahoone’s anthology From Modernism to Postmodernism (Blackwell) sets out to do just that. The very term “postmodernism” is fraught with misconception, misuse, and implies an adherence to fragmentation over unity. Cahoone’s selections combat this by demonstrating postmodernism’s origins, its disparate applications and definitions in different fields, and the ongoing debates about what exactly it all means. From Descartes and Hume to Nietzche and Sartre, and from the post-structuralists (e.g., Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Guittari, etc.) to the architects (e.g., Le Corbusier and Robert Venturi), Cahoone’s anthology provides an excellent overview of an inherently fractured lens on the world. (more…)

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Dispositions by McKenzie Wark

Armed with only a notebook and a GPS device, McKenzie Wark set out against the world in words. Each entry of Dispositions (Salt Publishing) is marked by Wark’s global position, and the date and time of entry. The style is part journal, part epic poem and in turns reminds me of the oblique observations of Jean Baudrillard, the playful verse of Lewis Carroll, and the incessant wordplay of James Joyce. Subsequently, Dispositions is rife with astute observations, memorable aphorisms, and quotable bon mots. Ground covered includes Deleuze and Guitarri, DJ Spooky, Walter Benjamin, 9/11, and lots of locales in New York City and Europe. (more…)

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Dead Cities by Mike Davis

The ground on which you walk is the tongue with which I talk — Saul Williams

Mike Davis gives voice to just what the hell we’ve done to our environment, what’s transpiring in the gaps in our relationships with each other, and what goes on underneath the deep and wide footprint of our rampant urban development. Dead Cities (The New Press) is a postmortem excavation of our postmodern urbanscape, a conjugation of all the verbs at work in the human condition. (more…)

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