quantification prescribing interaction

Artist and composer ↑Ben[jamin] Grosser, currently teaching at the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, two days ago has published his fine article “↓What do metrics want? How quantification prescribes social interaction on Facebook.” Here’s the abstract: Abstract The Facebook interface is filled with numbers that count users’ friends, comments, and “likes.” By combining theories of agency in artworks and materials with a software studies analysis of quantifications in the Facebook interface, this paper examines how these metrics prescribe sociality within the site’s online social network. That prescription starts with the transformation of the human need … Continue reading

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graeber on play

Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real question is: Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is? (Graeber 2014) GRAEBER, DAVID [ROLFE]. 2014. ↑What’s the point if we can’t have fun? The Baffler 24. Available online. via email from Flo—tnx! … Continue reading

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watterson on comics

[Jake Rossen:] Where do you think the comic strip fits in today’s culture? [↑Bill Watterson:] Personally, I like paper and ink better than glowing pixels, but to each his own. Obviously the role of comics is changing very fast. On the one hand, I don’t think comics have ever been more widely accepted or taken as seriously as they are now. On the other hand, the mass media is disintegrating, and audiences are atomizing. I suspect comics will have less widespread cultural impact and make a lot less money. I’m old enough to find all this unsettling, but the world … Continue reading

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players unleashed

Players Unleashed is a thought provoking and well-argued reconstruction of the history of digital games and the role of player modifications to such artifacts. Focusing on the wide-ranging universe of mods for the best selling game The Sims, Sihvonen presents a cogent and persuasive argument for the importance of such activities, and in doing so helps us understand the vital role that players have claimed in the development and evolution of digital games. (Mia Consalvo) SIHVONEN, TANJA. 2011. ↑Players unleashed! Modding The Sims and the culture of gaming. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. … Continue reading

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technology, society, and the scope of anthropology

The ↓next biannual conference of the German Anthropological Association (↑GAA) will take place exactly one year from today, from 2nd to 5th October 2013, in Mainz, Germany. I am organizing a workshop there, called ‘Technology, society, and the scope of anthropology.’ The official call for papers will be sent out by the GAA around end of this month, but here you already have it: Technologies like—for example, but not exclusively—digital electronics in all its guises, on the one hand permeate everyday life on a global scale and at an accelerating pace. On the other hand, hardly surprising, those are omnipresent … Continue reading

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beyond the game

‘↑Beyond the Game‘ is the motto of the World Cyber Games and also the intended title of the documentary film by filmmaker Jos de Putter. The film is set in the world of incredibly popular cyber games and portrays several top players from very different cultures in the run-up to the coming world Championships in October 2008 in Seattle, which will also be the climax of the film.     Protagonists are an Asian and a European player, known in the cyber world as Sky and Grubby. Sky is 19, comes from China and is world champion in the game … Continue reading

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