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University of Chicago Press
SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing

SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing

by Johanna Drucker
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Nearly a decade ago, Johanna Drucker cofounded the University of Virginia's SpecLab, a digital humanities laboratory dedicated to risky projects with serious aims. In SpecLab she explores the implications of these radical efforts to use critical practices and aesthetic principles against the authority of technology based on analytic models of knowledge.

Inspired by the imaginative frontiers of graphic arts and experimental literature and the technical possibilities of computation and information management, the projects Drucker engages range from Subjective Meteorology to Artists' Books Online to the as yet unrealized 'Patacritical Demon, an interactive tool for exposing the structures that underlie our interpretations of text. Illuminating future possibilities such experiments could enable, SpecLab functions as more than a set of case studies at the intersection of computers and humanistic inquiry. It also exemplifies Drucker's contention that humanists must play a role in designing models of knowledge for the digital age-models that will determine how our culture will function in years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226165080
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 05/30/2009
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Johanna Drucker is the Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of several books, including Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction: The Background to SpecLab xi

1.0 Speculative Computing 1

1.1 From Digital Humanities to Speculative Computing 3

1.2 Speculative Computing: Basic Principles and Essential Distinctions 19

2.0 Projects At Speclab 31

2.1 Temporal Modeling 37

2.2 Ivanhoe 65

2.3 Subjective Meteorology: A System of Mapping Personal Weather 99

2.4 Modeling a Critical Approach: Metadata in ABsOnline 109

2.5 The 'Patacritical Demon 119

3.0 From Aesthetics To Aesthesis 127

3.1 Graphesis and Code 133

3.2 Intimations of (Im) materiality: Text as Code in the Electronic Environment 145

3.3 Modeling Functionality: From Codex to e-Book 165

3.4 Aesthetics and New Media 175

3.5 Digital Aesthetics and Critical Opposition 189

4.0 Lessons Of Speclab 197

Notes 201

Bibliography 219

Index 229

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