All posts tagged: historicity of computation

The book cover for James J. Hodge's Sensations of History

Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art

Reviewed by Stefan Higgins, University of Victoria James J. Hodge. Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019. 220 Pages. The task of “pulling back the curtains” on computational technology has been one stated major objective of media studies for the last 30-odd years, whether it has attended to revealing the invisible “below” of computational infrastructure, drawn media archaeological notice to the material constraints of hardware, or assessed the systematic and protocological construction of software. Nevertheless, the fact remains that much of the processual operation of computation—e.g., electronic circuitry, network communication, executable code—remains opaque, at best, to human sensation and experience. One cannot be said to perceive, per se, the operations of an integrated circuit like a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Developing a language for describing the experience of computation is therefore difficult, and scholars and the public alike have frequently made recourse to the kinds of simplified binaries—digital or analogue, online or off, embodied or virtual—that confuse more than they explain. More troublingly, this language has fed into …