Circuses, post-prefixes and the digital (week ending 06072012)

The week ending the 6th of July brought success with apps, international seminars, cogitation of the ‘post’ digital and torrential rain, as well as marking the 148th week of the operation of the DCRC. 148 years ago, in 1864, Roscoe and Busen reputedly carry out the first ‘flashlight photography’, the sociologist Max Weber was born and the Clifton Suspension bridge opened, with a posthumous tribute to its designer I.K. Brunel. In week 148, Curzon Memories featured in the London AppCircus, the DCRC collectively (critically) considered the notion of what has been described as ‘post’ digital and we have been preparing for the Future of the Book.

During week 148 DCRC researcher Sy Taffel led a seminar conversation around the theme and problematic of what has been described as the ‘post’ digital. Sy gave a fairly comprehensive overview of the various ays in which the concept has been evoked and led us in a discussion about how the various research projects and activities of the DCRC cut across and perhaps against such theorisations. Interestingly, a significant theme of materiality arose – which resonates nicely with current explorations of the changing nature of books, design practices for for app experiences and the mediation of our capacity for attention. We will be posting more on these topics in due course.

We are pleased to highlight the fact that, in week 148, two DCRC-related apps have reached significant milestones. Two fantastic examples of the creative practice work conducted as a part of the remit of the DCRC.

On the the 4th of July, Charlotte Crofts and Jo Reid, from Calvium, attended the AppCircus event at the Google London Campus to pitch the Curzon Memories app to a distinguished panel of judges. The prize for the selected app was to be taken forward for consideration in the global Mobile Premier Awards. Curzon Memories received eoncouraging and complimentary feedback and Charlotte has returned buzzing. Thie assocaited practice-based research for the development of this app has been taken forward with the REACT Heritage Sandbox project ‘City Strata‘, which will be showcased in September.

The DCRC team were really pleased to hear from MA Media Practice and Culture alumnus Geriant Ffrancon that his Channel Weather Symmetry app has been accepted in the Apple and Android App Stores. The project received grant funding from the PRS for Music Foundation and was commissioned by Local Journeys and the National Trust. Channel Weather Symmetry formed the final project for Geriant’s MA practice, exploring sound and music influenced by the spectacular landscape of Rhossili and Brean Down, located either side of the Bristol Channel.

Patrick Crogan is currently in Australia working his way through a number of conferences and seminars. In week 148, Patrick gave two papers that offer some insights into the development of some themes from his book Gameplay Mode concerning robotics and our shifting understanding of what ‘digital’ means, refracted through Patrick’s significant engagement with the work of Bernard Stiegler.

On the 3rd of July Patrick gave a paper entitled ‘From the ‘Man in the Loop’ to the ‘Perceive and Act Vector’: Animating Military Robotics’ at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney, in collaboration with Transit Labour. The full abstract is available on the Transit Labour website, however here is the first sentence to give a flavour:

This paper examines the massive and intensive development of military robotics, a development that can be understood (and not metaphorically) as envisaging their bringing to life as fully functioning perceiving and acting beings.

On the 4th of July, Patrick gave a seminar entitled ‘Attention, technics, and the digital: Bernard Stiegler’s Post-Grammatology’ at School of the Arts and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales. In this seminar Patrick brought together the contemporary concerns of our capacity for attention and expanding digital mediation with expert analysis drawing upon Bernard Stiegler’s recent ‘activist’ philosophy. Evoking themes central to the work of the DCRC, Patrick introduced the seminar as a means to

situate Stiegler’s critical diagnosis of digital media technoculture in relation to his post-Derridean philosophy of technology. Elaborated in recent works as a ‘pharmacological’ account of the emergence of the prevailing digital technoculture, this diagnosis identifies the threat posed by the increasing ‘grammatisation’ of experience produced by the ‘short termism’ of commercial design and marketing logics dedicated to the coordination of consumption with the needs of industrial production. Contributing to the critique of the ‘attention economy’ and ‘experience design’ notions popular in the promotion of e-commerce and digital media marketing, Stiegler identifies the channelling and impoverishment of forms of ‘attention’ as a central topos for the waging of a ‘battle for criticality’ to rescue a properly cultural and intersubjective notion of attention as a taught and learnt technique of individual calibration with the collective.

In the coming week we are looking forward to the Future of the Book event, jointly convened with our sister research centre – the Centre for Fine Print Research. Please see the event page for more information. Also, Research Fellow Sam Kinsley will be participating in the ‘The Smart City‘ artists commission that forms a part of the Watershed’s ‘Open City‘ programme for European Capital of Culture Guimarães 2012.

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