Wednesday, December 17, 2008

neural Review

A cool new review in neural magazine:
Combining insights from textual analysis and software studies, a number of assumptions about the ephemeral nature of digital systems are thoroughly undone and reconceived . . . useful conceptual distinctions are offered, with far-reaching consequences for debates in the field of new media more generally, including a detailed explanation of how von Neumann architectures offer a working model of immateriality via the implementation of a vast material cascade of affordances.
Plus, Michael Dieter did a longish interview with me exclusive to the newsstand edition.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No Round Trip: Two New Primary Sources for AGRIPPA

A MAJOR post-script to Mechanisms . . .

Agrippa Emulation3.png Screen.png

Agrippa (a book of the dead) appeared in 1992 as a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and publisher Kevin Begos, Jr. On December 9, 2008--the sixteenth anniversary of the original "Transmission" event debuting Agrippa--The Agrippa Files ( announces the release of two major new discoveries for scholars and fans:

* An emulated "run" of the entire original Agrippa poem, made possible by the forensic recovery of the code containing Gibson's text from a mint condition Agrippa diskette loaned by collector Allan Chasanoff. This is the first public view of Agrippa in its original incarnation (that is, its custom-made behaviors and interface) since 1992. (direct link)

* An hour's worth of never-before-seen footage from the December 9, 1992, public debut of Agrippa at the Americas Society in New York City during the "Transmission" event. This footage, shot by "Templar, Rosehammer, and Pseudophred" is the source of the transcription of the text that was released online within hours of the event.
(direct link)

These materials are accompanied by high-resolution images, stills from the video, screenshots, and a bit-level copy of the disk image itself, all publicly accessible with the permission of Kevin Begos, Jr., William Gibson, Allan Chasanoff, "Templar," and "Rosehammer."

We are also pleased to be releasing a major new full-length essay documenting the process of recovering these materials and exploring their significance for the study of the work: Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, with Doug Reside and Alan Liu, "No Round Trip: Two New Primary Sources for Agrippa." (direct link)

The Agrippa Files, a project of the UC Santa Barbara English Department's
Literature.Culture.Media Center, was aided by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the Digital Forensics Lab at University of Maryland, College Park, in recovering and releasing these materials. Special thanks to Doug Reside and Matt Kirschenbaum for their efforts.

Alan Liu
Professor and Chair
Department of English,
UC Santa Barbara

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor and Associate Director,
Department of English and MITH
University of Maryland