Digital_Humanities is a compact, game-changing report on the state of contemporary knowledge production. Answering the question “What is digital humanities?,” it provides an in-depth examination of an emerging field. This collaboratively authored and visually compelling volume explores methodologies and techniques unfamiliar to traditional modes of humanistic inquiry—including geospatial analysis, data mining, corpus linguistics, visualization, and simulation—to show their relevance for contemporary culture.
The computer, writes Peter Lunenfeld, is the twenty-first century’s culture machine. It is a dream device, serving as the mode of production, the means of distribution, and the site of reception. We haven’t quite achieved the flying cars and robot butlers of futurist fantasies, but we do have a machine that can function as a typewriter and a printing press, a paintbrush and a gallery, a piano and a radio, the mail as well as the mail carier.
In these essays, Peter Lunenfeld does theory and criticism "in real time," looking at (among other subjects) art, video games, book design, "techno-masturbation," The Matrix, and life extension diets. "Readers will have to determine for themselves," he writes, "if this range is symptomatic of pluralism or promiscuity." User illuminates the patterns and repetitions that link -- for example -- nanotechnology to electronic music, artist/archivist Harry Smith to architect/superstar Rem Koolhaas, Pontiacs to open source software.
In Snap to Grid, an idiosyncratic guide to the interactive, telematic era, Peter Lunenfeld maps out the trajectories that digital technologies have traced upon our cultural imaginary. His clear-eyed evaluation of new media includes an impassioned discussion--informed by the discourses of technology, aesthetics, and cultural theory--of the digital artists, designers, and makers who matter most. "Snap to grid" is a command that instructs the computer to take hand-drawn lines and plot them precisely in Cartesian space.
Computers linked to networks have created the first broadly used systems that allow individuals to create, distribute, and receive audiovisual content with the same box. They challenge theorists of digital culture to develop interaction-based models to replace the more primitive models that allow only passive use.