Initial Thoughts Fall 2015

These are some recommended texts:


The Burnout Society by BYUNG-CHUL HAN.

Chapter 1 is entitled “The Neuronal Power” and sets out with the claim that frames the entire essay: “Every age has its main maladies.” Han differentiates the bacterial age that ended (at the latest) with the discovery of antibiotics, the viral age that ended with the advance of immunology, and finally the present age: the neuronal age. Its dominant maladies are neurological illnesses like depression, ADHD, borderline personality syndrome and burnout syndrome. The crucial difference between maladies of the viral age and the neuronal age is that between infection and infarction. An infection is caused by the negativity of the immunological other, whereas an infarct is the result of an excess of positivity. Unlike a virus, neuronal illnesses cannot simply be warded off like an outside attacker. Text Via axylus


Ubiquitous Photography by Martin Hand. 1st Edition.

Ubiquitous Photography provides a critical examination of the technologies, practices, and cultural significance of digital photography, placing the phenomenon in historical, social, and political-economic context. It examines shifts in image-making, storage, commodification, and interpretation as highly significant processes of digitally mediated communication in an increasingly image-rich culture. It covers debates in social and cultural theory, the history and politics of image-making and manipulation, the current explosion in amateur photography, tagging and sharing via social networking, and citizen journalism. The book engages with key contemporary theoretical issues about memory and mobility, authorship and authenticity, immediacy and preservation, and the increased visibility of ordinary social life.


The Anthrobscene by Jussi Parikka.

Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers all at one time held the promise of a more environmentally healthy world not dependent on paper and deforestation. The result of our ubiquitous digital lives is, as we see in The Anthrobscene, actually quite the opposite: not ecological health but an environmental wasteland, where media never die. Jussi Parikka critiques corporate and human desires as a geophysical force, analyzing the material side of the earth as essential for the existence of media and introducing the notion of an alternative deep time in which media live on in the layer of toxic waste we will leave behind as our geological legacy.

Read THE GEOLOGY OF MEDIA, an article by Jussi Parikka.

Watch “Erased Landscape” HERE.
HERE 5: Erased Landscape – the making of flat land in central San Francisco.

Watch the episodes of Saving the Bay

Optional Reading:
The Really Big One. An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.

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