Elena Bertozzi’s academic research submitted in 2003 for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy belongs to the class of the most enjoyable dissertations you could read, if you ever read one. Bertozzi, currently an associate professor of game design and development at Quinnipiac University, published it in 2012 under the title: “The Clitoris and the Joystick: Play, Pleasure, and Power in Cyberspace.” It’s also available below as a free ebook – republished here with her permission.
The book discusses the increasing relevance of play – the digital kind – in our society, especially that women, more than ever, compete in online games. We might believe that the organic body, with its natural restrictions (gender-imposed or otherwise) becomes irrelevant in a cyberculture fundamentally based on binary digits, however Bertozzi’s findings prove that the reality couldn’t be more different. She shows how fixed gender roles of game players continue to persist, if not fortified, in cyberspace. Furthermore, her book puts on display the contemporary culture’s view of women through the common virtual representation of the female body. Then she elaborates on why, despite the opportunities provided by technology, such representation of women thus far has been detrimental to their identity.… Read More
1. You don’t enjoy a similar sense of achievement after you finish reading a “huge” ebook
On your favorite gadget, after you read the last sentence in a 2,000-plus-page book, like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, you conclude your digital reading experience with, well, a swipe of the finger. Now, compare that ending to the self-congratulatory satisfaction you feel as you smack the bulky book shut, and hug it close to your chest with joy.
Marilyn Monroe reading the last page of Ulysses
2. You can’t show off an ebook collection
Traditional books have long been status symbols. In the mid-1700s, the mere ownership of a book was a sign that you’re very wealthy and educated. With an increase in production and affordability, a higher social status became associated with the possession of a home library with a large book collection, or the ownership of expensive volumes, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica. The 19th-century British politician and bookwork William Ewart Gladstone most probably wouldn’t have found a Kindle to be a good place to store his proud possession of 32,000-book collection. Next time your fingers are smudging up your touch screen flipping the virtual pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged… Read More
Dear Boko Haram,
You have the most ridiculous name of a terrorist organization in the world. Although it’s your unofficial name, your official one is not much better either: The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. You’ve been known in the media by Boko Haram for more than a decade, which means, at least in the mind of most of news readers, “Western Education is Forbidden.” Not only are the two words from different languages, Hausa and Arabic, also no one knows the exact meaning of the first. You probably meant by the Hausa word “Boko” all things Western culture.
You could use some education to learn how to find on the Internet better potential names. With some research, you’d learn that when you’re starting a terrorist organization, you should opt for a name that makes people shudder at its mention. It should also make a clear statement of how armed, dangerous and explosive you are, like Irish National Liberation Army, Red Hand Commando or Islamic Jihad (Arabic for “holy war”). There isn’t a shortage in good examples that boldly claim that violence and mayhem is the modus operandi: Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, Revolutionary … Read More
An Interview with Louis J. Boston II (Boston Math Designs)
By Cyberculture Gallery
Louis J. Boston II of Pittsburgh, PA, converts Pi, binary codes, prime numbers and other mathematical concepts into illustrated works of digital art. Math, science and technology inspire him, as well as the daily bell chimes of a castle near his suburban house.
The Art of Pi – Every 10th Decimal
1. Why did you choose digital technology as your medium?
For my occupation in telecommunications, I had already been using MS Office programs for about 20 years. Tie this in with my finding internet sites concerning mathematical anomalies, while doing unrelated internet searches, and I quite literally started to put 1+1+1 together to create digital artwork.
What’s really ironic to me is that I am not even really able to draw two stick figures by hand. However, common office software tools (MS Office programs, MS Paint) and other digital art software programs such as GIMP have all allowed me to become a visual artist.
2. Why does your art focus on mathematical concepts? Do you create art depicting other ideas?
Around June 2013, out of boredom, I was fooling around with a consecutive set of number … Read More
This article was initially published in The Writers’ College Times.
“Is there a future for newspapers?” “Can the magazine industry survive?” “Is print journalism dead?” For two decades, these headlines have been popping up in the news. It’s true that, with the ongoing digital tsunami, many newspapers and magazines will continue to decline in circulation and some have had to shut down, but predicting their total demise is an exaggeration that ignores many factors: the different markets they cater to, the demands of their target audiences, and, most importantly, how they adapt to new technologies. Here are the top five trends that prove that print media is capable of successfully evolving.
Image via zmags.com
1. Graphic design: You almost forget it’s not a web page
From its inception, web design tried to duplicate the experience of reading printed paper, which is evident in words like “web page,” “browsing” and “bookmarks.” Web design matured over the years and became an art form in its own right. Today, graphic designers and illustrators in the print industry are aware that the majority of readers spend much of their time immersed in things digital. So recently, in an ironic twist, their work has … Read More
If you heard a story about someone who never met his girlfriend but eagerly “connects” with her every day and hopes to meet her one day in real life, you might think it’s one of those typical relationships that form on the Internet. You wouldn’t think that it could be an 1899 ragtime song (“Hello! Ma Baby”), which was also the first to mention the then-recent invention of the telephone.
“Hello! Ma Baby” (song and lyrics below) is a reminder that, in many ways, the world, after more than a hundred years, hasn’t changed that much, even in the realm of technologically-facilitated relationships. After all, online relationships still mainly rely on the telephone network, like everything else you access on the Internet.
Today, you don’t have to wait for a telephone exchange (“Central”) to connect, however those manually-operated switches were probably more efficient than our ISPs – at least you talk to humans (“switchboard operators”). Not only that, but also with those locally-known operators, you occasionally would’ve been able to have a talk about your latest “online” fling.
Hello! Ma Baby
Lyrics and Music by Ida Emerson and Joseph E. Howard (1899)
I’ve got a little baby, but
… Read More
Find any book on the history of science and as you browse chapters narrating scientific progress in the 17th century, you’ll learn that Galileo, in 1609, was the first person to point a telescope at the heavens, enabling him to prove beyond any doubt that the Sun, not the Earth, was the centre of the Solar System. You’ll also learn that the telescope was one of the earliest inventions to result in the revolutionising of science, a process that would forever change the human perspective on the Universe. But you most probably will not find mention of the views of those who strongly opposed the use ofsuch instrument. Naked-eye astronomers, whose ancient method of star gazing was fast becoming obsolete with the advent of telescopes, were not the only ones who were troubled. Galileo’s discoveries brought the telescope, and for that matter, scientific instruments in general, to the centre of a philosophical debate around the relationship between humans and nature.
Art by Ben Goossens
First, philosophers worried that recently invented optical instruments, like telescopes and microscopes, separate us from nature: while they enable us to see more, they deprive us of a natural sensory experience, intervening between us and the … Read More
“Your friend will die,” said the native Congolese man in his best English translation of what the medicine man had just said. He delivered the news to Arthur and Joseph at the foot of the bed where Henry was lying asleep. Shock and horror overwhelmed them. It was 1887, and the three British friends were in the middle of Africa, far from civilization. The local medicine man was their last resort. Their friend had been deteriorating day after day, gradually losing all his strength and sleeping almost all the time. Arthur felt guilty and second-guessed the collective decision to reject their ancestors’’ traditional coming-of-age journey across Europe and instead take their “grand tour” in Africa. After exploring central Africa for six months, they settled in a cabin by the Congo River.
One serene day, Henry went for a walk in the bush. After some time, his friends heard loud knocking on the cabin door, and opened it to see him panting, carrying his shirt in his left hand. He had bite marks all over his shoulders, arms and back. “What happened to you?” Joseph asked. “I just saw it – the Tsetse fly. Remember the fly that was mentioned in … Read More
Dan R. wrote an intriguing post on the evolution of the web, from 1997 to 2013, titled “A Visual History Of The Web Told Through Webby Winners.” On April 2, 2013, it was was published on ReadWrite, one of the most popular technology blogs in the world. He knew it would arouse interest. It did. That must’ve been apparent from how it trended on social networks. He waited for feedback at the bottom of the page from the throngs of readers. But the expected barrage of comments never happened. He was fed up and a few days later commented on his own work, implicitly reprimanding his readers, saying: “Surprised nobody has commented. I was expecting, at least, a “oh man, the Web was soooo slow in 1997.”
Art by Sarolta Bán
His readers were not totally heartless. They sympathized with him and upvoted his comment a whopping three times (upvotes in a blog comment service are the equivalent of the iconic Facebook Thumbs-up). Nevertheless, nobody cared to leave a response. It would take two full months before someone wrote this four-worded overenthusiastic comment: “Geocities. I remember Geocities.”
Dan is not the only blogger to ever wonder why … Read More
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #1: George Jung website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #2: well+done website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #3: Coilhouse website
Cyber Gallery Masterpiece #4: Unfold website
… Read More