Category Archives: Reviews

Rhythm Science by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky

If you believe that your thoughts originate inside your brain — do you also believe that television shows are made inside your television set? — Warren Ellis

We’re all connected. Our saturated selves are each a part of a collective, socially constructed mix of language games and habits without names. “All minds quote,” once quoth Ralph Waldo Emerson, but let’s forget about the mind, the brain, and the head that holds them. It’s not about nouns; it’s about verbs. It’s not about the dots, it’s about the connections between them. Networks, not nodes. The journey, not the destination. It’s a trigger, not a gun. Software is the paradigm of the now. It’s where nouns become verbs and all are subject to “the changing same.” (more…)

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R.I.P. Rest in Pieces: A Portrait of Joe Coleman Directed by Robert-Adrian Pejo

For the uninitiated, Joe Coleman paints meticulously constructed circus-dream visions that often depict serial killers and does performance pieces in which he bites the heads off rats and sets off explosions on his own body. One Chicago performance found him arrested and charged with “possession of an Infernal Machine” (a machine or apparatus maliciously designed to explode and destroy life or property) — a charge not levied against anyone since the 19th Century. (more…)

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The Architect’s Brother by Robert ParkeHarrison

The pieces in Robert ParkeHarrison‘s The Architect’s Brother depict a character named “Everyman” coping with a number of distraught scenarios in which the pace of technology has out-stepped the resources of the earth. As tired as this theme may sound, ParkeHarrison brings a new perspective to each of many glimpses of these possible futures. These images are riddled with melancholy, but the weight is ultimately lifted by an unflagging belief in human agency. (more…)

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I Want That! by Thomas Hine

Columbus killed more Indians than Hitler did Jews, but on his birthday you get sales on shoes — The Goats

What at first might seem mundane subject matter is made illuminating and interesting by Thomas Hine’s engaging narrative, personal and historical examples, and downright deep digging. Excavating our culture of consumption from the perspectives of power, responsibility, discovery, self-expression, insecurity, attention, belonging, celebration, and convenience, Hine unearths the desires and rituals that have made us all shoppers in one sense or another. In the spirit of the quote above, I Want That! (HarperCollins) points out the fact that we “mix up reverence with consumption.” Our every holiday is tied to purchases and a subsequent sale of some sort. (more…)

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A Place So Foreign (and 8 More) by Cory Doctorow

Ah, frustrating read — not because of Cory Doctorow’s stories, but because I wish I’d found them earlier. Not that everyone else won’t enjoy them too, but these stories are perfect for the Web geek, the technoscience hack, the computer nerd, and others of that ilk. Cory is all-of-the-above and then some, and his knowledge and familiarity with all-things-geek comes shining through brightly in the stories in this collection. (more…)

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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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