The message from educators, the tech community, and even politicians is clear: everyone should learn to code. To emphasize the universality and importance of computer programming, promoters of coding for everyone often invoke the concept of “literacy,” drawing parallels between reading and writing code and reading and writing text. In this book, Annette Vee examines the coding-as-literacy analogy and argues that it can be an apt rhetorical frame.
Virtual entities that populate our digital experience, like e-books, virtual worlds, and online stores, are backed by the large-scale physical infrastructures of server farms, fiber optic cables, power plants, and microwave links. But another domain of material constraints also shapes digital living: the digital representations sketched on whiteboards, encoded into software, stored in databases, loaded into computer memory, and transmitted on networks. These digital representations encode aspects of our everyday world and make them available for digital processing.
I want to say to all the hacker-bards from every field—gamers, researchers, journalists, artists, programmers, scriptwriters, creators of authoring systems . . . please know that I wrote this book for you.” —Hamlet on the Holodeck, from the author’s introduction to the updated edition
Many pioneering works of electronic literature are now largely inaccessible because of changes in hardware, software, and platforms. The virtual disappearance of these works--created on floppy disks, in Apple’s defunct HyperCard, and on other early systems and platforms--not only puts important electronic literary work out of reach but also signals the fragility of most works of culture in the digital age.
The ever-expanding capacities of computing offer new narrative possibilities for virtual worlds. Yet vast narratives--featuring an ongoing and intricately developed storyline, many characters, and multiple settings--did not originate with, and are not limited to, Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Marvel’s Spiderman, and the complex stories of such television shows as Dr. Who, The Sopranos, and Lost all present vast fictional worlds.
In Archive Everything, Gabriella Giannachi traces the evolution of the archive into the apparatus through which we map the everyday. The archive, traditionally a body of documents or a site for the preservation of documents, changed over the centuries to encompass, often concurrently, a broad but interrelated number of practices not traditionally considered as archival. Archives now consist of not only documents and sites but also artworks, installations, museums, social media platforms, and mediated and mixed reality environments.
Internet memes—digital snippets that can make a joke, make a point, or make a connection—are now a lingua franca of online life. They are collectively created, circulated, and transformed by countless users across vast networks. Most of us have seen the cat playing the piano, Kanye interrupting, Kanye interrupting the cat playing the piano. In The World Made Meme, Ryan Milner argues that memes, and the memetic process, are shaping public conversation. It’s hard to imagine a major pop cultural or political moment that doesn’t generate a constellation of memetic texts.
The task of archiving was once entrusted only to museums, libraries, and other institutions that acted as repositories of culture in material form. But with the rise of digital networked media, a multitude of self-designated archivists—fans, pirates, hackers—have become practitioners of cultural preservation on the Internet. These nonprofessional archivists have democratized cultural memory, building freely accessible online archives of whatever content they consider suitable for digital preservation.
Focusing on early social media in the arts and humanities and on the core role of creative computer scientists, artists, and scholars in shaping the pre-Web social media landscape, Social Media Archeology and Poetics documents social media lineage, beginning in the 1970s with collaborative ARPANET research, Community Memory, PLATO, Minitel, and ARTEX and continuing into the 1980s and beyond with the Electronic Café, Art Com Electronic Network, Arts Wire, The THING, and many more.
This book offers a decoder for some of the new forms of poetry enabled by digital technology. Examining many of the strange technological vectors converging on language, it proposes a poetics appropriate to the digital era while connecting digital poetry to traditional poetry’s concerns with being (a.k.a. ontological implications).