Archive Page 2



Sherry Turkle, The Second Self (1984, 2004)

TheSecondSelf(2004)

The Second Self documents a moment in history when people from all walks of life (not just computer scientists and artificial intelligence researchers) were first confronted with machines whose behavior and mode of operation invited psychological interpretation and that, at the same time, incited them to think differently about human thought, memory, and understanding. In consequence, they came to see both their minds and computational machines as strangely unfamiliar or “uncanny” in the sense that Sigmund Freud had defined it. For Freud, the uncanny (das Unheimliche) was that which is “known of old and long familiar” seen anew, as strangely unfamiliar.

Psychoanalysis shares with computation a subversive vocation: each in its own way defamiliarizes the mind. In the Cartesian tradition, the mind is taken to have immediate and privileged knowledge of itself. There is nothing in nature that each of us, theoretically speaking, is in a better position to comprehend than our own mind. Psychoanalysis called this transparency of mind into question. It asserted that our conscious thoughts and actions, our deepest feelings and our strongest moral convictions, are shaped by powerful psychical forces of which we are not normally aware. It pointed to serious, previously unrecognized obstacles to self-knowledge. According to psychoanalysis, the mind—known of old and thought to be quite familiar—was actually unexplored territory, an internal but expansive terra incognita.

The computer, too, called longstanding assumptions about self-understanding into question. From the earliest days, computer science borrowed terms from everyday psychology to describe the operations of computing machines just as psychology borrowed language from computer science to describe the mind. […] Twenty years later, the computer would seem secure in its role as an evocative object for thinking about human identity. Cognitive science has developed far more sophisticated computational models of mental processes than were dreamt of two decades ago, and the Internet has opened up new paths for the exploration of self and sociability. However, with time grows a sense of familiarity. What was once exotic begins to seem “natural.”

Today, we take for granted our lives with computation (our personal computers, personal digital assistants, our cellphones that serve as organizers and cameras) and within computation (our computer games, e-mail, instant messaging, and online communities). And we show increasing nonchalance about the idea of computation within ourselves. In the medical arena, cochlear implants are a current reality, and we look forward to computational implants that might help with epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. In 1984 the notion of mind as program was controversial. These days, the use of computational metaphors to speak about the mind has become banal.

In the early days of the computer presence in the wider, nontechnical culture, the time frame of The Second Self, it was commonplace to describe the computer as “just a tool,” in a way that dismissed its effects on child development and on our emotional lives. In The Second Self I was writing against the common view that the computer was “just a tool,” arguing for us to look beyond all the things the computer does for us (for example, help with word processing and spreadsheets) to what using it does to us as people. I was helped in this task by the very newness of the computer. Most people could remember when it hadn’t been around. In the twenty years that followed, the situation became more complex. The trend was for new computational objects—personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellphones, laptops—to become even more intimate partners to their users, more like thought-prosthetics than simple tools. The subjective side to computer technology became more apparent, even as the ubiquity of these objects began to dull our sensitivity to their effects.

Sherry Turkle, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004 [1st ed. 1984], pp. 1-3.

O eu como sensação e como percepção

Variações_Goldberg_01

Glenn Gould (1932-1982), The Goldberg Variations: Glenn Gould Plays Bach (1981)

Bach: variações Goldberg

A música é só música, eu sei. Não há
outros termos em que falar dela a não ser que
ela mesma seja menos que si mesma. Mas
o caso é que falar de música em tais termos
é como descrever um quadro em cores e formas e volumes, sem
mostrá-lo ou sem sequer havê-lo visto alguma vez.
Vejamo-lo, bem sei, calados, vendo. E se a música
for música, ouçamo-la e mais nada. No entanto,
nenhum silêncio recolhido nos persiste além
de alguns minutos. E não dura na memória como
o silêncio. Ou, se dura, esse silêncio cala
a própria música que adora. Porque a música
não é silêncio mas silêncio que
anuncia ou prenuncia o som e o ritmo.

Se os sons, porém, não são de devaneio,
e sim a inteligência que no abstracto busca
ad infinitum combinações possíveis bem que ilimitadas;
se tudo se organiza como a variada imagem
de uma ideia despojada de sentido;

se tudo soa como a própria liberdade dos acasos lógicos
que os grupos, e os grandes números, e as proporções
conhecem necessários; se tudo se repercute como
em cânones cada vez mais complexos que não desen-
volvem um raciocínio mas o transformam de um si mesmo em si;

se tudo se acumula menos como som que como pedras
esculpidas em volutas brancas e douradas cujos
recantos de sombra são um trompe-l’oeil
para que elas mais sejam em paredes curvas;

se uma alegria é força de viver e de inventar e de
bater nas teclas em cascatas de ordem;
e se tudo existiu na música para tal triunfo
e dele descende tudo o que de arquitectura
possa existir em notas sem sentido — COMO
não proclamar que essa grandeza imensa
não se comove com íntimos segredos (mesmo implica
que não haja segredo em nada que se faça
a não ser o espanto de fazer-se aquilo),
é como que uma cúpula de som dentro da qual
possamos ter consciência de que o homem é, por vezes,
maior do que si mesmo. E que nada no mundo,
ainda que volte ao tema inicial, repete
o que só foi proposto como tema para
se transformar no tempo que contém. Quando, no fim,
aquele tema torna não é para encerrar
num círculo fechado uma odisseia em teclas,
mas para colocar-nos ante a lucidez
de que não há regresso após tanta invenção.
Nem a música, nem nós, somos os mesmos já.
Não porque o tempo passe, ou porque a cúpula se erga,
para sempre, entre nós e nós próprios. Não. Mas sim porque
o virtual de um pensamento se tornou ali
uma evidência: se tornou concreto.

Um concreto de coisas exteriores — e o espanto é esse —
igual ao que de abstracto têm as interiores que o sejam.
Será que alguma vez, senão aqui,
aconteceu tamanha suspensão da realidade a ponto
de real e virtual serem idênticos, e de nós
não sermos mais o quem que ouve, mas quem é? A ponto de
nós termos sido música somente?

[9 de Janeiro de 1966]

Jorge de Sena, Arte de Música (1968)

Como é que a escrita produz o sujeito?

Miguel_Azguime_Itinerário_do_Sal_2007«O autor está no meio do silêncio. Um silêncio tão profundo que o impele a olhar para o interior de si próprio.»
Miguel Azguime, Itinerário do Sal: Ópera Multimédia, DVD, 2007.

Hoje que a tarde é calma e o céu tranquilo,
E a noite chega sem que eu saiba bem,
Quero considerar-me e ver aquilo
Que sou, e o que sou o que  é que tem.

Olho por todo o meu passado e vejo
Que fui quem foi aquilo em torno meu,
Salvo o que o vago e incógnito desejo
De ser eu mesmo de meu ser me deu.

Como a páginas já relidas, vergo
Minha atenção sobre quem fui de mim,
E nada de verdade em mim albergo
Salvo uma ânsia sem princípio ou fim.

Como alguém distraído na viagem,
Segui por dois caminhos par a par.
Fui com o mundo, parte da paisagem;
Comigo fui, sem ver nem recordar.

Chegado aqui, onde hoje estou, conheço
Que sou diverso no que informe estou.
No meu próprio caminho me atravesso.
Não conheço quem fui no que hoje sou.

Serei eu, porque nada é impossível,
Vários trazidos de outros mundos, e
No mesmo ponto espacial sensível
Que sou eu, sendo eu por ’star aqui ?

Serei eu, porque todo o pensamento
Podendo conceber, bem pode ser,
Um dilatado e múrmuro momento,
De tempos-seres de quem sou o viver?

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), 01-08-1931, in Poesias de Fernando Pessoa, Lisboa: Ática, 1952, pp. 138-139.

Walter Benjamin, A Obra de Arte na Era da sua Reprodutibilidade Técnica (1935)

theworkofartintheageofmechanicalreproduction19351

The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated. This holds not only for the art work but also, for instance, for a landscape which passes in review before the spectator in a movie. In the case of the art object, a most sensitive nucleus – namely, its authenticity – is interfered with whereas no natural object is vulnerable on that score. The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced. Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter. And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object.

One might subsume the eliminated element in the term “aura” and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art. This is a symptomatic process whose significance points beyond the realm of art. One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and renewal of mankind. Both processes are intimately connected with the contemporary mass movements. Their most powerful agent is the film. Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is, the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage. This phenomenon is most palpable in the great historical films. It extends to ever new positions. In 1927 Abel Gance exclaimed enthusiastically:

Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Beethoven will make films… all legends, all mythologies and all myths, all founders of religion, and the very religions… await their exposed resurrection, and the heroes crowd each other at the gate.

Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (edição original: “Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit”, 1935).

Friedrich A. Kittler, Art and technology (2005)

Análise digital da cultura digital [«Cultural Analytics»], segundo Lev Manovich (2008)

Representação numérica, modularidade, automação, variabilidade e transcodificação

the_language_of_new_media20011

In section “Media and Computation” I show that new media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computing and media technologies. Both begin in the 1830’s with Babbage’s Analytical Engine and Daguerre’s daguerreotype. Eventually, in the middle of the twentieth century, a modern digital computer is developed to perform calculations on numerical data more efficiently; it takes over from numerous mechanical tabulators and calculators already widely employed by companies and governments since the turn of the century. In parallel, we witness the rise of modern media technologies which allow the storage of images, image sequences, sounds and text using different material forms: a photographic plate, a film stock, a gramophone record, etc. The synthesis of these two histories? The translation of all existing media into numerical data accessible for computers. The result is new media: graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces and text which become computable, i.e. simply another set of computer data. In “Principles of New Media” I look at the key consequences of this new status of media. Rather than focusing on familiar categories such as interactivity or hypermedia, I suggest a different list. This list reduces all principles of new media to five: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability and cultural transcoding. In the last section, “What New Media is Not,” I address other principles which are often attributed to new media. I show that these principles can already be found at work in older cultural forms and media technologies such as cinema, and therefore they are by themselves are not sufficient to distinguish new media from the old.

Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2001, p. 20.

Novos média e práticas políticas, segundo Jay David Bolter (2009)

Remediação, imediação e hipermediação

remediation2000

The two logics of remediation have a long history, for their interplay defines a genealogy that dates back at least to the Renaissance and the invention of linear perspective. We do not claim that immediacy, hypermediacy and remediation are universal aesthetic truths; rather, we regard them as practices of specific groups in specific times. Although the logic of immediacy has manifested itself from the Renaissance to the present day, each manifestation in each age may be significantly different, and immediacy may mean one thing to theorists, another to practicing artists or designers, and a third to viewers. The diversity is even greater for hypermediacy, which seems always to offer a number of different reactions to the contemporary logic of immediacy. Remediation always operates under the current cultural assumptions about immediacy and hypermediacy.

We can not hope to explore the genealogy of remediation in detail. What concerns us is remediation in our current media in North America, and here we can analyze specific images, texts, and uses. The historical resonances (to Renaissance painting, nineteenth-century photography, and twentieth-century film, and so on) will be offered to help explain the contemporary situation. At the same time, the practices of contemporary media constitute a lens through which we can view the history of remediation. What we wish to highlight from the past is what resonates with the twin preoccupations of contemporary media: the transparent presentation of the real and the enjoyment of the opacity of media themselves.

[…]

Again, we call the representation of one medium in another “remediation,” and we will argue that remediation is a defining characteristic of the new digital media. What might seem at first to be an esoteric practice is so widespread that we can identify a spectrum of different ways in digital media remediate their predecessors, a spectrum depending upon the degree of perceived competition or rivalry between the new media and the old.

Jay David Bolter & Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press, 1999; 2ª ed. 2000, pp. 21, 45.

Os média como extensões de faculdades humanas

A simulação tecnológica da consciência

understanding_media19641

After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man – the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media. Whether the extension of consciousness, so long sought by advertisers for specific products, will be “a good thing” is a question that admits of a wide solution. There is little possibility of answering such questions about the extensions of man without considering all of them together. Any extension, whether of skin, hand, or foot, affects the whole psychic and social complex.

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, London: Routledge, 2001 [1ª ed. 1964], p. 3.

A invenção da televisão

john_logie_baird_1st_image-1926

Fotografia da primeira imagem transmitida pelo ‘televisor’ de John Logie Bard, 1926.

A invenção da rádio

marconi_company19061

Companhia Marconi, Inglaterra, 1906.

As primeiras máquinas de escrever (c. 1874-1878)

remington_n2_1878Remington Nº2, c. 1878. O primeiro modelo a ser comercializado em larga escala.

A saída da fábrica (Lyon, 1895)

La sortie de l’usine, Auguste Lumière e Louis Lumière, 1895.

Vista de uma janela em Le Gras (c. 1826)

vista_de_uma_janela_em_gras_1827Primeira fotografia, por Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (c. 1826).

Sarah J. Arroyo, Hands and Writing (2007)

A autenticação da reprodução através da inscrição física do real

gramophone_film_typewriter1986

In contrast to the arts, media do not have to make do with the grid of the symbolic. That is to say, they reconstruct bodies not only in a system of words or colors or sound intervals. Media and media only fulfill the “high standards” that (according to Rudolf Arnheim) we expect from “reproductions” since the invention of photography: “They are not supposed to resemble the object, but rather guarantee this resemblance by being, as it were, a product of the object in question, that is by being mechanically produced by it – just as the illuminated objects of reality imprint their image on the photographic layer,” or the frequency curves of noises inscribe their wavelike shapes onto the phonographic plate.

A reproduction authenticated by the object itself is one of physical precision. It refers to the bodily real, which of necessity escapes all symbolic grids. Media always provide the appearances of specters.

Friedrich A. Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999 [1ª ed. alemã, 1986], pp. 11-12.

O fonógrafo (1878)

harpers_weekly_march_30_1878_phonograph2

Michael Wesch, The Machine is Us/ing Us (2007)


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