Monday, May 28, 2007


gone gallery


this weekend, sarah and i flew to omaha, nebraska to see sarah's auntie lee who lives in lincoln. auntie lee, a real gem of a person and a lifelong influence on sarah, recently turned 94 and it's unclear how many birthdays she has remaining. it was a beautiful visit.

Monday, May 21, 2007

new books ready for review

please feel free to forward, distribute, and cross-post.

nearly each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies, or RCCS, publishes book reviews related to the field of contemporary media and culture. these book reviews are free, open to the public, and available on this page.

if YOU are interested in writing a 1000-1500 word review and can write the review by the end of august 2007, please contact me. please include: a) the name of the book you wish to review, b) your professional affiliation, and c) a sentence or two about why you want to review this book. if selected, i will send you a free review copy of the book and ask you to send me your review by the end of august. if you already have many commitments for summer and do not think you can read and review the book by the end of august, please pass until next time.

if YOU are an author/editor of a book related to cyberculture and contemporary media and you do not see your book on the list below, please send a review copy (or copies) to:

David Silver/RCCS
University of San Francisco
Department of Media Studies
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080

i am especially interested in reviewing books published outside the US and UK and books written in languages other than english.

the following books are available for review. if interested, please contact me (dmsilver [ at ] prior to june 1, 2007.

Charles R. Acland, Residual Media (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)

Mark Amerika, META/DATA: A Digital Poetics (MIT Press, 2007)

Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (Chelsea Green, 2006)

Chris Atton, An Alternative Internet (Columbia University Press, 2005)

Michael D. Ayers (Editor), Cybersounds: Essays On Virtual Music Culture (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006)

Axel Bruns, Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (Peter Lang Publishing, 2005)

Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs (Editors), Uses of Blogs (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006)

Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Linchuan Qiu, and Araba Sey, Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective (MIT Press, 2006)

Annmarie Chandler and Norie Neumark, At a Distance: Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet (MIT Press, 2006)

Roy Christopher (Editor), Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes (Well-Red Bear, 2007)

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT Press, 2006)

Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell (Editors), Videogames and Art (Intellect, 2007)

Mia Consalvo, Nancy Baym, Jeremy Hunsinger, Klaus Bruhn Jensen, John Logie, Monica Murero, and Leslie Regan Shade (Editors), Internet Research Annual: Selected Papers from the Association of Internet Researchers Conferences 2000-2002 (Peter Lang Publishing, 2004)

Steve Dixon, Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation (MIT Press, 2007)

Timothy Druckrey (Editor), Ars Electronica: Facing the Future: A Survey of Two Decades (MIT Press, 1999)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006)

Patrice Flichy, The Internet Imaginaire (MIT Press, 2007)

Kirsten Foot and Steven M. Schneider, Web Campaigning (MIT Press, 2006)

Anne Friedberg, The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft (MIT Press, 2006)

Ted Friedman, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture (New York University Press, 2005)

Alexander R. Galloway, Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)

Alexander R. Galloway, Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization (MIT Press, 2006)

Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, CODE: Collaborative Ownership and the Digital Economy (MIT Press, 2005)

Tarleton Gillespie, Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT Press, 2007)

Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (MIT Press, 2006)

Ken Goldberg (Editor), The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2001)

N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland (Editors), Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1 (Electronic Literature Organization, 2006)

Ken Hillis, Michael Petit, and Nathan Scott Epley (Editors), Everyday eBay: Culture, Collecting, and Desire (Routledge, 2006)

Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (New York University Press, 2006)

Caroline A. Jones, Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art (MIT Press, 2006)

David Joselit, Feedback: Television against Democracy (MIT Press, 2007)

Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture's New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (MIT Press, 2004)

James E. Katz and Ronald E. Rice, Social Consequences of Internet Use: Access, Involvement, and Interaction (MIT Press, 2002)

Lori Kendall, Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online (University of California Press, 2002)

Martin Kevorkian, Color Monitors: The Black Face of Technology in America (Cornell University Press, 2006)

Randy Kluver, Nicholas Jankowski, Kirsten Foot, and Steven Schneider (Editors), The Internet and National Elections: A Comparative Study of Web Campaigning (Routledge, 2007)

Petra Kuppers, Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge, 2003)

Geert Lovink, Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture (MIT Press, 2003)

Peter Lunenfeld (Author) and Mieke Gerritzen (Designer), User: InfoTechnoDemo (MIT Press, 2005)

Milton L. Mueller, Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004)

Ned Rossiter, Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions (NAi Publishers, 2007)

Nicholas Ruiz III, The Metaphysics of Capital (Intertheory, 2006)

Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (University of Chicago Press, 2006)

McKenzie Wark, Gamer Theory (Harvard University Press, 2007)

David Weinberger, Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder (Times Books, 2007)

Darren Wershler-Henry, The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting (Cornell University Press, 2007)

Michele White, The Body and the Screen: Theories of Internet Spectatorship (MIT Press, 2006)

Monica T. Whitty, Andrea J. Baker and James A. Inman (Editors), Online Matchmaking (Palgrave, 2007)

Monica T. Whitty and Adrian N. Carr, Cyberspace Romance: The Psychology of Online Relationships (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

Michele A. Willson, Technically Together: Rethinking Community Within Techno-society (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006)

Friday, May 18, 2007

congratulations class of 2007!

i love graduations. the students are excited and enjoy a very real sense of accomplishment. the parents are proud, thrilled, and relieved. the younger siblings are in awe - and often in double awe to see their sister or brother become the family's first college graduate. the grandparents are busy soaking everything in and can't stop smiling. i love graduations.

from our side of the stage, things are pretty chill. all of us are excited to see students - some more than others - graduate and it's particularly great when you have worked with them over multiple years. simultaneously, we are well aware that upon submitting our grades, we enter summer. summer is our re time: reading, re-learning, re-thinking, remixing, replaying, relaxing, rejuvenating. most of us love teaching. but we, like our students, also love summer.

class of 2007 - congratulations! may your adventures and experiences become even more massive, even more meaningful. remember tommie lindsey, the commencement speaker, and be as kind and giving as possible. good luck and congratulations.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

arthur is back

earlier in the year, many people, including me, reported the tragic end of arthur magazine.

good news: arthur's back.

rumors about arthur's return have been bubbling for some time but now things appear official. as reported by pitchfork on monday, jay babcock has gained full ownership of the counter-culture magazine and will resume printing shortly. in jay's words: "All the ducks are getting in order, and then we'll go for a swim." excellent.

Friday, May 11, 2007

CCLI spring workshop in sacramento

this morning i am in sacramento, giving a talk at california clearinghouse on library instruction's (CCLI) spring workshop. instead of using paper handouts, i'll be using this blog post.


here's some pics from the talk!

before driving back to the city, i was able to take in anne-marie deitering's excellent talk.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

usf bloggers

usf bloggers is an aggregation of blogs related to the university of san francisco. it brings together on one page blogs from USF students, classes, organizations, staff, librarians, and faculty. usf bloggers was developed by las indias, designed by fernando martín díaz, and built with feevy.

i love fernando's design. it is elegant and simple, and uses USF's colors: green and gold. the loopy things next to the names of each blog remind me of butterflies.

the best part is that usf bloggers takes a hierarchical institution (a university) and remixes its ingrediants (students, staff, faculty) onto a non-hierarchical space. it defies putting people into categories.

at launch, USF bloggers includes seventeen blogs. i am sure it will grow in the summer. next fall, when USF welcomes new freshmen, transfer students, and international students (some who blog), it will grow in new directions.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

nearly summer

today in palo alto, the diamondbacks faced the athletics in t-ball. neither score nor outs were recorded. i was rooting for the d'backs, which featured my nephews w, b, and a and are expertly coached by my brother-in-law steve.

sarah and i are in santa cruz where the sun shines brightly. one more week of classes, then one week of grading, and then summer. i don't teach this summer, but i'm sure i'll keep busy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

MiT5 @ MIT

last weekend i was in cambridge, massachusetts for the media in transition 5 conference. the conference spanned two and a half days, included something like 250 presentations, and was distributed across various buildings on the MIT campus. the conference was organized by MIT's comparative media studies program with support from the center for social media and the macarthur foundation.

the conference began with a talk by henry jenkins. discussing much of the ground he covered at the beyond broadcast conference, jenkins shared his ideas on participatory culture, remixing, and sampling and played humorous clips of stephen colbert. he argued that what feels new today has historical roots and should be approached as "a new layer on top of a larger cultural logic."

this larger cultural topic was explored in depth in the first plenary, folk cultures and digital cultures (mp3), which included lewis hyde, thomas pettitt, and craig watkins. watkins was especially excellent and used the technologies of hip hop (sampling, remixing, appropriation) and black oral and cultural traditions to suggest that participatory culture did not begin with the internet. it was really smart, i think, to begin the conference with a plenary on history.

the highlight of the first day was a talk and video by sandra indian, principal of mikinaak school (onigaming first nations, nestor falls, ontario). this was part of a panel called "productive and playful pedagogies: new media and education," and followed an excellent paper by suzanne de castell and jennifer jenson. sandra's video captured a young woman's experiences - her relationships to her surroundings, to her family, to her history - in her community and then at a white college ("the people here are always talking. they say very little"). the video was beautiful. for a rare moment, conference attendees stopped reading their email from their laptops, stopped text messaging through their cell phones and blackberries, and stopped twittering. they listened and received.

the first day ended with the second plenary, collaboration and collective intelligence (mp3), featuring mimi ito, cory ondrejka, and trebor scholz. all three speakers were excellent. trebor's talk offered a very articulate and very necessary critical edge, raising issues like - gasp! - labor and capital and consumerism and corporations. trebor stopped short of critiquing consumer capitalism, which seemed odd, but it was nice to get concepts of commodification on the table. great plenary.

the next day, saturday, featured the best panel of the conference. titled "technological translations and digital dilemmas," the panel featured kimberly christen, kate hennessy, nariyo kono, patrick moore, and katerina martina teaiwa. katerina offered the conference's most interesting example of appropriation: the twenty million tons of phosphate mined from the two and a half square mile island of banaba/ocean island in kiribati to fertilize all of australia and new zealand. the island is now a shell, a skeleton. katerina connected appropriation to empire, to colonialization, to global economies, to race, to land, to oppression, to dance - a powerful presentation. katerina described her work as "an ethnography of the land." kim christen's talk totally rocked. she introduced the warumungu community digital archive project, a collaboration with warumungu community members and the nyinkka nyunyu art and culture centre in tennant creek, australia. kim described the project as a sort of virtual repatriation - curating an online archive of digital representations of original artifacts. the interesting part is that many of these objects - drums, maps, images, songs - can only be seen by certain people. permissions to observe are based on various factors including affiliation, age, gender, dreamings, and ritual status. in other words, instead of building an open access archive, they need to build a multi-tiered access archive. they need to design and build a mukurta - "a safe keeping place" - a place that abides by the complex permissions system of the warumungu people. suddenly, open access = good no longer looks so universal, eh? the only problem with this panel was that it wasn't long enough. plus, it should have been a plenary rather than one of many concurrent panels so that all conference attendees could have been part of it.

bright and early sunday morning was our panel, culture 2.0, featuring mary madden, chuck tyron, trav scott, and myself. (axel bruns, who i finally met face to face, provides an excellent summary of what was covered.) it was nice to see a full room:

the last plenary, summary perspectives (mp3), featured suzanne de castell, fred turner, siva vaidhyanathan, and josé van dijck. the plenary was designed to assess the conference and to begin thinking about future directions. suzanne highlighted kimberly christen and katerina martina teaiwa's presentations and noted - so elegantly, so generously - that "If we don't want a literal and superficial and enduringly oppressive epistemology of remix and remediation, we need to go to the borders, limits, and edges to ideas whose deep roots challenge us to hold firm to our contexts and communities. We need these challenges from the borders and margins so an agenda of radical inclusion is in my view the most generative agenda for the future" (transcribed by kim). josé riffed off the term generation c (creativity, collectivity, collaboration) and suggested we add a few more c's like capitalism, commodification, consumerism, and control. yes! josé's brief comments were stellar. fred turner highlighted three conference trajectories - collective authorship, struggles over copyright, and educational change - and suggested we spend more time on four other trajectories: corporate-consumer transformations, militarization, an increased complexity of political life, and race. siva added five things he said we - as a conference, as an intellectual community - are finally learning to do well: asking questions about how culture is regulated, asking deep historical questions, on the verge of asking important questions about political economy, formulating new models for searching and indexing information, and expressing deep concerns about norms and ethics. all four speakers were absolutely excellent.

the floor was then opened and audience members were encouraged to share our thoughts on the conference. i gathered my courage and stepped to the mic. i thanked the panelists for an excellent plenary and made three suggestions: 1) the media we study is coversational yet our conferences are anything but. we need to rethink the old ways academic conferences are designed: less lectures, more conversation; 2) more librarians (me: "academics hoard knowledge; librarians share knowledge"); and 3) we are spending too much time online. we need to learn to log off. (jean burgess nicely covered and fairly critiqued my suggestions, especially regarding twitter, on her own blog.) we need to develop non neo-luddite critiques of new media.

what a privilege it is to travel across the country to be a part of a conference like this. what fun it is to see old friends and meet new ones. and what a delight it is to catch up with people who used to be my students and now are my friends and colleagues.

but each night, as i walked along the charles river from campus to my hotel, some of the fun and delight wore off. while the worlds in our (privileged) screens may be alive with possibility, the world we walk upon continues to crumble. at times, at MiT5, it was as if there were no wars, no maniacal administrations running/ruining the world, no poverty, no global warming. at times, at MiT5, it was if there was no world - real or imagined - outside of capitalism, no visions outside of consumption. at times, at MiT5, monumentally important issues like race, gender, and class were almost entirely left off the table. at times, for me, this conference felt too damn giddy.

to paraphrase siva who in turn was paraphrasing danah boyd, we need to wisen up and realize it is less about technology and more about what people do collectively with the technology. let's hope that when we reach that point we'll be smart enough to do things collectively that have nothing to do with war and shopping.