Life as an Extreme Sport

Ethics and Materiality

Indeed, there is no body as such; there are only bodies – male or female, black, brown, white, large or small – and the gradations in between. Bodies can be represented or understood not as entities in themselves or simply on a linear continuum with its polar extremes occupied by male and female bodies… but as a field, a two-dimensional continuum in which race (and possibly even class, caste, or religion) form body specifications. -Elizabeth Grosz In contrast to the body, embodiment is contextual, enmeshed within the specifics of place, time, physiology, and culture, which together compose enactment. Embodiment never coincides exactly with “the body,” however that normalized concept is understood. Whereas the body is an idealized form that gestures toward a Platonic reality, embodiment is the specific instantiation generated from the noise of difference. -N. Katherine Hayles It has occured to me, over the course of reading Hayles’ book

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contemplations of a final project

Right now I’m thinking along the lines of science fiction and how we’ve gone from the utopia’s of 1960s scifi to the distopia of today. I was originally just gonna talk about scifi distopia, but I think I might be able to weave a narrative about the advances of computing technology and how the advances have changed the popular conception of computers. I think that Gibson via Neuromancer really created the genre of computer-related dystopias… altho for obvious reasons Clarke would have to be the grandfather of* (although I’d have to reread Dick’s Minority Report). While the movie certainly had a computer-generated dystopia, I don’t recall the short story being anything like that. Scifi really morphed from computers as augmentation of humans and allowing the creation of dystopias a la 1984 and Harrison Bergeron to computers as oppositional forces a la Neuromancer and the Matrix. I got thinking about this

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Concluding Nostalgia

A running train of thought on the conluding passages of Ceruzzi’s A History of Modern Computing. Phillip intimates that we’re beyond postmodernism – how does he see it, then? Apple still follows a very modernist conception of business, controlling every aspect of its product and (save for a brief period in the early 1990s) not allowing anyone else to produce finalized hardware models. Or is that the key – that although they control the end product and look very vertical on the surface, they have actually differentiated out and adopted a postmodern strategy of allowing many other companies to make parts that are only assembled into a final Mac-whole at the end of the production cycle? One could apparently make an arguement for Apple following either vertical or horizaontal market – is this a new post-postmodern world where both models live and function side by side, depending on benefit offered,

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Intelligence Amplification

Douglas Engelbart (noted in the link as having been strongly influenced by Vannevar Bush, which is quite obvious when you read As We May Think and Augmenting Human Intellect back to back) covers a wide range of ideas in his paper Augmenting Human Intelligence. You see Greenblatt’s wonder (If he is a layman, his concept of what provides this sophisticated capability may endow the machine with a mysterious power to sweep information through perceptive and intelligent synthetic devices.), a heavy nod to Bush via predictions of future technology (Tablets, cell phones), a host of turtles running through the paper (If we ask ourselves where that intelligence is embodied, we are forced to concde that it is elusively distributed throughout a hierarchy of functional processes – a hierarchy whose foundation extends down into processes below the depth of our comprehension), and a strong thread of the synergism between science fiction and

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historicise *this*

I’m reading Ivo Kamps’ article New Historicising the New Historicism in preparation for class this afternoon; Kamps is basically deconstructing new historicism through the filter of the ever present year of 1968 and the Vietnam war. It’s an interesting take and criticism of both Greenblatt and the field of new historicism, and offers some good points for me to lecture on. At one point while reading, I came across a quote from Greenblatt that sums up why so many people avoid new historicism, literary theory, and CHID: Anecdotes are the equivalents in the register of the real of what drew me to the study of literature: the encounter with something I could not stand not understanding, that I could not quite finish with or finish off, that I had to get out of my inner life where it had taken hold I had typed this bit out to both Jen

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