ahorbinski: a bridge in the fog (bridge to anywhere)
Bibliographic Data: Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2011.

Main Argument: Ramsay calls for an "algorithmic criticism" that "seeks, in the narrowing forces of constraint embodied and instantiated in the strictures of programming, an analogue to the liberating potentialities of art. … It proposes that we channel the heightened objectivity made possible by the machine into the cultivation of those heightened subjectivities necessary for critical work" (x). Furthermore, Ramsay argues, "scientific method and metaphor (or, more precisely, the uses of these notions within the distorted epistemology we call 'scientism') is, for the most part, incompatible with the terms of humanistic endeavor" (ibid).

Textual formations and deformations )

Critical assessment: This little book is a thought-provoking read and a good introduction to the digital humanities. I read it as part of my work with Prof. Gail de Kosnik on internet and fandom history last summer, and it's no accident that many of Ramsay's conclusions about digital humanities inquiry are ones we learned, so to speak, in our own bodies: first and foremost, the data by themselves are not sufficient to tell the story.

Further reading: Neal Stephenson, Anathem; Alfred Jarry, Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician; Lucretius, De Rerum Natura; the I Ching

Meta notes: "If code represents a radical form of textuality, it is not merely because of what it allows us to do but also because of the way it allows us to think" (66).


ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

August 2017

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