The Interactivity Reader, Notes

09.14.16 Interactivity as Cultural Perception, Part 1: Sections 3 & 4

 

How is interactivity structured in a networked system?

“The End of Books” by Robert Coover

“Osama Bin Laden and the Advent of Netwar” by John Arquilla and David Ronfelt

“The Extended Mind” by Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers

 

 

Do contemporary media structures promote cultural interactivity?

“The Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan

“The Work of Art in the Electronic Age” by Jean Baudrillard

“The Filter Bubble” by Eli Pariser

 

How is interactivity structured in a networked system?

“The End of Books” by Robert Coover

  • Some people say that print books are dead! DEAD dead as God I tell you! DEAD DEAD DEAD!!!
  • Personal Note: Silliness
  • Obviously this means the novel and all the terrible things it represents is also dead dead dead
  • Novels power is in the line. Author forces reader to move from left to right in a uniform manner. Orderly, linear
  • Many people have tried to counter the power of the line. James Joyce, Cervantes, Milorad Pavic etc.
  • Personal Note: Puig
  • True Freedom from the line has only been achieved with the introduction of hypertext.
  • Defined by Ted Nelson, Hypertext – describes writing done in the nonlinear or non sequential space provided by the computer
  • Provides multiple paths through text segments
  • lexias – the paths through text segments in hypertext
  • provides multiple paths through the text
  • frees reader from tyranny of writer
  • Many systems to configure space for hypertext: Storyspace (Brown University), HyperCard, Guide
  • Advocates say that hypertext is the most important innovation in writing since movable type
  • 1987, Michael Joyce “Afternoon” published on floppy disk, moved to Storyspace in 1990
  • No linear time , no structured paragraphs, everything in windows
  • New kind of Fiction/Reading. Determined by interest, Navigating looping paths
  • Writing students resisted hypertext but then embraced it enthusiastically
  • Hypertext focuses on structure and shape of narratives that are often hidden in print.
  • Linkage is as important as text. Much of the story is in linkage of ideas
  • Deconstructs narrative into its separate bits
  • fictions developed are diverse, Our Town type work to Sex Novels
  • Hypertext incorporates elements of graphic novels, graphic design and other media
  • Font changes, images, music, video, etc
  • Workshops in hypertext writing have a celebratory feel because of the interconnected nature of the work. Writers engage in traditional criticism as well as online debate, assessment etc
  • “Hotel” is a program that allows authors to work collaboratively and even adversarial to intrude on and take control of plot elements to create a community space to tell a story
  • Hypertext may last forever but the programs that support it change frequently
  • Operating systems need to be established or it won’t be useful. Everyone needs a common language with which to interact
  • Also, navigational methods that are both intuitive and unified
  • criticism of constantly changing texts is difficult
  • narrative flow still has movement but in the weird infinity of hyperspace it is more like continuous expansion
  • Personal Note: Big Bang of Writing
  • How do you have closure in hypertext?
  • Age old argument from Gilgamesh to now
  • print can be read in hypertext but hyper text cannot be read in print
  • Hypertext is the emerging power in literature

 

“Osama Bin Laden and the Advent of Netwar” by John Arquilla and David Ronfelt

  • “Networks and Netwars” Project sponsored by the office of the US assistant secretary of defense, command, control, communications and intelligence. Article is an excerpt of their introduction to the report.
  • “age of networks” heralds “attack on America”
  • easy for networked groups to swarm down on a target
  • Bin Laden – highly organized network
  • Powell – to win against terror network must be destroyed
  • nation states also need networks to fight back. Special Forces Networks
  • Organization more important than advanced tech.
  • intelligence world needs to move away from “central” intelligence into broader, fast moving networks
  • improved military networking will help but also need to cooperate with civilian networks
  • US Strategy avoid class of civilizations. Not a war of West against East
  • It is a time war between emerging global civilizations and xenophobic, conservatives
  • Personal Note: Links back to previous articles. From determinate to Indeterminate universe
  • Network structures are becoming more powerful than hierarchal structure
  • rise of networks means power migrating to non-state actors
  • Information Revolution means that conflict often revolves around knowledge. Use of “soft power”
  • The conflict spectrum is changing. More like Go than Chess.
  • “netwar” – emerging model of conflict (and crime) at societal levels, short of traditional military warfare, in which the protagonists use network forms of organization and related doctrines, strategies and technologies attuned to the information age.
  • Includes old actors, new entries , cyber terrorism, etc
  • many, maybe all, netwar actors are non-state
  • Broad spectrum. Underlying pattern of organized network use
  • 3 types of netwar networks:
  • chain or line network – smuggling (gods or people) along a chain of contacts that must move from one end to the other
  • hub or star wheel network – hub of actors tied to a central (not hierarchal) wheel and must go through nodes to access
  • all-channel or full-matrix network – collaborative network were everybody is connected to everybody else
  • nodes can be diverse, individual, segmented. inclusive, exclusive etc.
  • hybrid versions possible including merge with hierarchy
  • hierarchy may exist within nodes of network
  • all-channel is hardest to maintain because it requires dense communications. Could be headless could be many headed
  • groups unified by shared principles
  • “they know hat they have to do”
  • communication doesn’t need to be constant just easy
  • Technology makes netwar easier
  • but it is not necessary
  • can carry on communication without technology
  • e. runners
  • Somali warlord, Chechen War
  • does not take place in “cyberspace” relies on real world outcomes
  • not about technology, about doctrine!
  • Swarming is the key mode of conflict in the information age
  • swarming seems unstructured but is actually organized and deliberate
  • hard to defend against
  • useful when forces are not massed
  • networks easier to defend, multiple backups, redundancies
  • lines between defense and offense blurred
  • Blurred lines make it hard to assign responsibility for attacks
  • challenges government sovereignty
  • hierarchy has a hard time fighting networks
  • many examples
  • Mexican Zapatists
  • Networks to fight networks
  • not desirable to replace all hierarchy.
  • challenge is to blend
  • empowers non-state actors reduces relative power of nation-states
  • Netwar can be waged by good and bad actors, peaceful and non peaceful
  • sometimes used for good, non battle way of wining through changing the story
  • duality places criminals on one side, enlightened civil society on the other
  • Netwar has two faces

 

“The Extended Mind” by Andy Clark and David J. Chalmers

  • Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?
  • Is it physical?
  • Words are not “just in the head” meaning is external
  • Externalism about Meaning caries into externalism about mind
  • Text proposes 3rd kind of externalism. “Active Externalism”
  • Active Externalism is based on the active role of the environment in driving cognitive processes
  • mental rotation, physical rotation, neural implant rotation = all are similar
  • The Skull and skin are arbitrary barriers of the mind
  • It isn’t that weird. We use all kinds of tools to assist our brains. Calculators, lists, etc
  • Tetris, 100 milliseconds for physical rotation, 1000 milliseconds for mental
  • Physically moving the shape is an Epistemic action. It is a physical action designed to aid the cognitive process
  • We consider it cognitive when done in the head, why not when done with a physical action?
  • A human agent is linked with an external entity in two-way interaction, creating a coupled-system which can be seen as a cognitive system in its’ own right.
  • Different from Twin Earth. Twin earth context is passive, no driving role in cognitive process
  • Active externalism is active, context is actively involved in process
  • part of the here and now, not part of the past
  • active externalism allows a more natural explanation of actions
  • not part of the action, part of the thought
  • pp 66

 

Do contemporary media structures promote cultural interactivity?

“The Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan

* See Class Notes

 

“The Work of Art in the Electronic Age” by Jean Baudrillard

  • Interview with La Sept
  • We are in the age of electronic communications; do you think that this communication has fundamentally changed the way in which we see and understand the world or is it merely an accelerated form of technical reproduction?
  • transformation not revolution (not subversive)
  • transformation of the relations of exchange
  • McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message”
  • The strategies which revolve around the medium become more important than the content of the message
  • The reality of images count’s for more…
  • The images (or discourses) proliferate apart even from the meaning that they bear and they become autonomous, the system gains upper hand over the meaning
  • so then, where is reality still situated?
  • That is the problem. Is there reality?
  • I say “hyper reality”
  • function communication more important than message
  • doesn’t matter what is said anymore
  • just keep saying it
  • imperialism of communication
  • When you say hyper-reality, you might specify, in relation to reality, the reality of my daily life…
  • yes
  • we can say that when events exist as broadcasts in the media, they are born, live and die there, so they lose their real meaning, their own reality disappears
  • takes place on the level of the screen, no longer authentic
  • hyper-reality is a domain where you can no longer interrogate what is reality or unreality
  • no reality principle, just a communication principle or mediatizing principle
  • Therefore we are all becoming images?
  • not just screens and terminals but we ourselves, listeners and spectators become the terminals of the communication network
  • interlocutors are no longer human beings
  • medium conversing with itself
  • integrated man-machine circuit
  • difficult to determine the difference between man and machine
  • And that goes for artists, works of art?
  • Absolutely
  • A work of art no longer has any privilege as a singular object of breaking through the circuit
  • .. that is what it would be, singular and unique within all the proliferation
  • even if it has an authentic origin, which it may, that will be less and less retrievable
  • it must circulate
  • it is removed from its own time and place, its own uniqueness
  • Thus change of medium -the work becomes image- change of consumption…
  • Yes
  • the change would perhaps be that while the work of art create sit’s own unique space, it invents itself, it takes inspiration from itself, it has a unique reality
  • it becomes, itself, an object on the screen and is transmitted by the screen
  • it moves from its own stage to the stage 0f the screen
  • it is superficial, no time or place
  • it must move on mo matter what
  • But if the work of art has fallen, has been banalized like the other products of communication, how is it that we consume so many of them? The state, individuals, businesses…
  • You have answered it yourself
  • because there are so many
  • there is no limit to consumption
  • there is a kind of limit to creation but not to consumption
  • commercialization
  • competition
  • market strategies
  • There you seem to be returning to a kind of nostalgia for the aura…
  • Not exactly
  • hard to say
  • of course something has been lost
  • Benjamin said it well (research)and Baudelaire (research) before him had an even more modern vision of things
  • The modern artist should not try to revalorize or resacralize traditional art, instead go further into the commodity.
  • the modern artist owes it to himself to give the commodity a heroic status
  • It makes me think of Andy Warhol…
  • yes, in a way
  • ultra-radical practice of mediation.
  • grandiose but sublime
  • cool v. warm
  • And so, in your opinion, what remains of the order of traditional aesthetic or nostalgic creation? There cannot be an avant-garde -more disenchantment is still needed.
  • there are two paths
  • artists work as creative individuals, wonderful but not contemporary
  • modern art condition is mediation
  • art in the process of playing out its own disappearance
  • Therefore, instead of resistance do we accept the deed of mediation, banalization and go as far as possible?
  • yes, that would seem a less banal strategy, say that of nostalgia?
  • so what about you is all this, your own identity?
  • yes, it’s a paradox
  • if art is disappearing so is critical discourse etc
  • You mean more experts than mediators?
  • yes, perhaps that is the way
  • Difficult therefore to… How are you… are you an image?
  • yes, we are in a paradox now
  • paradox of communication
  • message is there but medium no longer responds
  • or
  • medium is there but there is no message
  • how do we resolve?
  • Do you think that one can still think?
  • Because I think it, it must be true
  • not provable
  • abandon the objective, radical position of the subject and of the message
  • But economic power relations are determining, all the same?
  • I am in no position to speak about it
  • I don’t think so, but stupid to say that
  • but sure, structure exists

 

 

“The Filter Bubble” by Eli Pariser

  • Dec 4, 2009 – Google article on “Personal Search for Everyone”
  • Different for different people based on filters we do not know of
  • we can’t control the filters that well
  • even if we log out of Google and other identity sites, it still has a lot of baseline knowledge
  • two people with exact same search at exact same time will get different results
  • shows us what we want to know, what we already agree with
  • limits oppositional views
  • internet no longer anonymous
  • free service but cost is information about you
  • sometimes useful
  • sometimes highly limiting
  • even if some sites keep data personal, not all do, no way to control who gets your data
  • or what data they get
  • great business strategy, more personally relevant ads
  • in 3-5 years the idea of a website that isn’t customized will be absurd
  • Filter bubble 3 dynamics
  • you are alone in your bubble
  • bubble is invisible
  • you don’t choose to be in the bubble, can’t turn it off or control it
  • structure of our media affects the character of our society
  • printed word is conducive to argument in a way that laboriously copied scrolls are not
  • television changed everything
  • personalization is changing it even more