I’m giving a talk at the UT School of Information on Tuesday if anyone reading wants to drop by.
I’m going to be in Austin for the better part of a week at the end of the month (speaking and research trip) and I hear there are one or two good restaurants down there. Does anyone have recommendations, either particular places to go or else online resources such as a dining guide? I want the best Tex Mex of course, but maybe other cuisines too.
My seminar this spring is entitled Inscribing Media:
The knotted strings of the Inca khipu; the binary “strings” projected live on nightclub screens as techno DJs perform real-time hacks to mix their sets; the etched wax grooves of a Victorian recording cylinder; the 35 individual atoms of Xenon scientists at IBM used to spell out the letters of the corporate brand in the first documented instance of nanowriting . . . “Inscriptions,” writes Lisa Gitelman, “are interventions.” In this seminar we will examine media that inscribe and media that are inscribed by a variety of social, scientific, and imaginative interventions. Our coverage will necessarily be selective rather than comprehensive, and generally from the late 19th century forward. Topics will include Victorian writing machines, especially the typewriter and the phonograph; automatic writing and haunted media; microfilm and Cold War document technologies; graffiti and tattoos; computer hard drives; software code; and nanotext. A major focus throughout will be the work of German media theorist Friedrich Kittler, best known for his radical “post-hermeneutic” theories of literary history. We will read selections from his first and most important book, Discourse Networks 1800/1900 (the so-called “black book” that reportedly almost cost him his professorship) as well as his more recent investigations of gramophone, film, typewriter, and microprocessors. (“At night after I had finished writing, I used to pick up the soldering iron and build circuits,” recalls Kittler. “I knew what was in store.”) Other theorists will include Lev Manovich, Johanna Drucker, Alan Liu, Bruno Latour, Jeffrey Sconce, Lisa Gitelman, Scott McCloud, Nelson Goodman, Jacques Derrida, Susan Stewart, Patricia Crain, and Jerome McGann. While the emphasis will be on theoretical and secondary works, we will read at least one novel (Ellen Ullman’s The Bug) and some shorter texts by authors including Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Shelley Jackson. We will also study a film, Christopher Nolan’s Memento and some sound works (William Basinski’s “Disintegration Loops”). The content of the seminar will be relevant to students working in literary theory, textual and digital studies, science and technology studies, and media and cultural studies.