16.032 new books

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Wed May 22 2002 - 01:50:16 EDT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 32.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (53)
             Subject: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality

       [2] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (27)
             Subject: Writing Machines

             Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 06:45:15 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality

    Digital Sensations: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality by
    Ken Hillis, University of Minnesota Press (October 1999, 248 Pages, 5
    black-and-white photos, 2 figures IS AVAILABLE!!)

    "Digital Sensations is the best critique of virtual reality's implications
    we now have. Rather than breathlessly celebrating the limitless digital
    future, Hillis carefully explores its continuities with certain earlier
    tendencies in Western culture and shows their common dangers." --Martin

    Virtual reality is in the news and in the movies, on TV and in the air.
    Why is the technology--or the idea of the technology--so prevalent
    precisely now? What does it mean--what does it do--to us? Digital
    Sensations looks closely at the ways representational forms generated by
    communication technologies--especially digital/optical virtual
    technologies--affect the "lived" world.

    Virtual reality, or VR, is a technological reproduction of the process of
    perceiving the real; yet that process is "filtered" through the social
    realities and embedded cultural assumptions about human bodies,
    perception, and space held by the technology's creators.

    Through critical histories of the technology--of vision, light, space, and
    embodiment--Digital Sensations traces the various and often contradictory
    intellectual and metaphysical impulses behind the Western transcendental
    wish to achieve an ever more perfect copy of the real. Because virtual
    technologies are new, these histories also address the often unintended
    and underconsidered consequences--such as alienating new forms of
    surveilance and commodification--flowing from their rapid dissemination.
    Current and proposed virtual technologies refelct a Western desire to
    escape the body.

    Exploring topics from VR and other earlier visual technologies, Digital
    Sensations' penetrative perspective on the cultural power of place and
    space broadens our view of the interplay between social relations and

    "His discussion is ambitious; not only does he bring together multiple
    disciplines and philosophies, he traces history from the Renaissance to
    the present." [Technical Communication Quarterly]

    Ken Hillis has written a wise interrogation of the impact of virtual
    environments and the marriage of new digital and visual technologies.
    Carefully balancing between the dangers of all-too-common and too-easy
    skepticism and the risk of being seduced by the new medium, this book
    analyses the manner in which the use of technologies to produce virtual
    environments (VEs) changes the bases on which assumptions concerning
    democratic politics and identity flourish." Space and Culture

    Ken Hillis received his Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of
    Wisconsin at Madison in May, 1996. His dissertation -- Geography, Identity
    and Embodiment in Virtual Reality -- looked at Information Technologies
    (IT), new media, and more specifically at Virtual Reality (VR). He argued
    the importance of distinguishing the technologies that collectively
    constitute the "platform" that individuals rely on to "enter" virtual
    environments from these environments or "worlds" in and of themselves.

    ((Ken Hillis is assistant professor in the Department of Communication
    Studies and adjunct professor of geography at the University of North
    Carolina at Chapel Hill.))

    Thank you!

    best regards,

             Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 06:45:59 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Writing Machines

    A new book, "Writing Machines" (November 2002, ISBN 0-262-08311-6) SERIES:
    Mediaworks Pamphlets by N. Katherine Hayles and Designed by Anne Burdick
    is available!

    Tracing a journey from the 1950s through the 1990s, N. Katherine Hayles
    uses the autobiographical persona of Kaye to explore how literature has
    transformed itself from inscriptions rendered as the flat durable marks of
    print to the dynamic images of CRT screens, from verbal texts to the
    diverse sensory modalities of multimedia works, from books to technotexts.

    Weaving together Kaye.s pseudo-autobiographical narrative with a
    theorization of contemporary literature in media-specific terms, Hayles
    examines the ways in which literary texts in every genre and period mutate
    as they are reconceived and rewritten for electronic formats. As
    electronic documents become more pervasive, print appears not as the sea
    in which we swim, transparent because we are so accustomed to its
    conventions, but rather as a medium with its own assumptions,
    specificities, and inscription practices. Hayles explores works that focus
    on the very inscription technologies that produce them, examining three
    writing machines in depth: Talan Memmott.s groundbreaking electronic work
    Lexia to Perplexia, Mark Z. Danielewski.s cult postprint novel House of
    Leaves, and Tom Phillips.s artist.s book A Humument. Hayles concludes by
    speculating on how technotexts affect the development of contemporary

    Writing Machines is the second volume in the Mediawork Pamphlets series.

    More details at


    Thanking you!

    With regards,
    Arun Tripathi

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