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Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom

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.

The Whole Earth Catalog was a cultural touchstone of the 1960s and 1970s. The iconic cover image of the Earth viewed from space made it one of the most recognizable books on bookstore shelves. Between 1968 and 1971, almost two million copies of its various editions were sold, and not just to commune-dwellers and hippies. Millions of mainstream readers turned to the Whole Earth Catalog for practical advice and intellectual stimulation, finding everything from a review of Buckminster Fuller to recommendations for juicers.

Protecting Health on a Warming Planet

Climate change affects not just the planet but the people who live on it. In this book, physician Alan Lockwood describes how global warming will be bad for our health. Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

Maintenance plays a crucial role in the production and endurance of architecture, yet architects for the most part treat maintenance with indifference. The discipline of architecture values the image of the new over the lived-in, the photogenic empty and stark building over a messy and labored one. But the fact is: homes need to be cleaned and buildings and cities need to be maintained, and architecture no matter its form cannot escape from such realities.

Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead

In the year 2014, Google fired a shot heard all the way to Detroit. Google’s newest driverless car had no steering wheel and no brakes. The message was clear: cars of the future will be born fully autonomous, with no human driver needed. In the coming decade, self-driving cars will hit the streets, rearranging established industries and reshaping cities, giving us new choices in where we live and how we work and play.

Camping can make us feel a powerful connection to nature and our rugged backwoods forebears. Campers once confronted the elemental facts of life, but now, the millions of Americans taking to the road on camping trips are more likely to drive to a campground, hook up service conduits, connect to WiFi, drop their awnings, and set out patio chairs. It is as if, Martin Hogue observes, each campsite functions as a stage upon which campers perform a series of ritualized activities (pitching the tent, building a fire, cooking over flames).

Remaking the Politics of Displacement

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful, livable cities in the United States. It has walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, low-density housing, public transportation, and significant green space—not to mention craft-beer bars and locavore food trucks. But liberal Portland is also the whitest city in the country. This is not circumstance; the city has a long history of officially sanctioned racialized displacement that continues today.
 

Contemporary computing technologies have thoroughly embedded themselves in every aspect of modern life—conducting commerce, maintaining and extending our networks of friends, and mobilizing political movements all occur through a growing collection of devices and services designed to keep and hold our attention. Yet what happens when our attention needs to be more local, collective, and focused on our immediate communities? Perhaps more important, how can we imagine and create new technologies with local communities?

The Writings of Hans Haacke

Hans Haacke’s art articulates the interdependence of multiple elements. An artwork is not merely an object but is also its context—the economic, social, and political conditions of the art world and the world at large.

Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

Most of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask—read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table.

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