005.1: Reading, Reviewing, Reflecting

Being partway through You Are Not a Gadget, How We Became Posthuman, The Inner History of Devices and Memory, it is clear that the broadest controversy around living intimately with devices is the very desirability of the action. In You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier proposes that the very notion of joining together with a machine degrades us as humans, whereas Halyes, in Posthuman, would agree that doing so destabilizes the very notion of the liberal subject — and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Turkle brings in the voices of actual people who live with actual machines — from dialysis patients to a woman whose cellphone is haunted by her ex’s ringtone: even though the number is deleted, so he can never call.

She also mentions the MyLifeBits project and the tension between collecting as much as possible and the more analog flow of remembering and forgetting that characterizes life before computers. One example comes from Evocative Objects, which I also have on the to-read pile.

Finally, I do still feel the need to grapple with more of the essays in Memory and to dig into more material culture works in order to root these discussions more firmly in the material world and not just in theoretical arguments about humanity (as fun as those are). I also have FabLab waiting on deck, an investigation of the artistic fabrication movement and its successes and failures.