I interview the acclaimed Irish author for a chapter in her upcoming book on Irish writing. On the menu: McBride's novels, Irishness, writing sex, and what critics expect from women.Read More
On how discourses of play and resistance intertwine to create immersive experiences in the contemporary Irish novel.Read More
What do a Netflix documentary, podcasting and video game culture have in common? More than you think.Read More
Gaming has an important role to play in getting people to switch to renewable energy.Read More
I thought I’d take a minute and talk about stuff that, in my humble opinion, lit studies scholars should be digging into more. Consider it a wish list for stuff I’d like to read, stuff I’d like to supervise PhD students in, stuff I’d like to collaborate on.Read More
Whoever Britney the human person is, that person is surrounded by a thing: an agglomeration of economics, fame, visual effects, cultural signals. This exoskeleton of interacting messages is the medium through which we receive the idea of Britney. The Britney Object.Read More
Book chapter: How the conventions of podcast culture open up spaces for non-linear interchange, ecological complexity and paradox, placing the podcast in a fertile relationship to cultural space.Read More
A course sketch for second- or third-year media studies / game studies students, focusing on the role of gaming in addressing energy transitions, from the 1960s to the present.Read More
The way we talk on the internet reflects software in so many ways. Here's one: we now use vector phraseology to describe things on social media, and especially in memes.Read More
A presentation I gave on Earth Day 2016 on how to crowdfund for green projects. This is relevant for most environmental projects, including renewables and microgrid, sustainability, community garden projects, etc.Read More
As history progresses, human beings find themselves playing non-zero-sum games with more and more other human beings. Interdependence expands, and social complexity grows in scope and depth.
- Robert Wright, Nonzero (2001)Read More
A look at Tim Morton's hyperobjects, including why they're hard to think about and why we should try anyway.Read More
"We all like to get lost in a book - but when Danielle, an American visitor to Belfast, stumbles upon a mysterious handwritten note in a secondhand copy of Ciaran Carson's novel The Star Factory - she finds herself on a labyrinthine journey through his prose and through the hidden side-roads and alleyways of the city."Read More
What do renewable energy and social media have in common? A lot, says research. My research!Read More
It's actually a lot simpler than you think.Read More
Posthumanism is causing some interesting disruptions in the way we make, enjoy, think about, and classify art.Read More
Think posthumanism sounds horrible? Trust me, it doesn't mean what you think it does. Okay, maybe it does.Read More
Being an expat means having a really weird relationship with technology.Read More
A review of Christian Fuch's recent book, as published in Information, Communication & Society.Read More
John Searle explained distributed cognition with the metaphor of a man assembling “Chinese” in a closed room. Using a rulebook, the man assembles strings of Chinese characters into grammatical structures and pushes them out the door. It isn’t accurate to describe the man as understanding Chinese, Searle construes, but, rather, it is the entire room that knows Chinese.[i]
Many of us now live almost exclusively in the Chinese room. Every day, we participate in systems that cognize collectively, from apps that make use of our fitness, happiness or buying patterns to thermostats that learn our living habits. This is the Internet of Things or IoT: flows of data from objects and devices forms an information-rich, “smart” environment, indeed a system of interpenetrating environments, in which the feedback we currently associate mainly with “screen” devices increasingly arrives via many other avenues.
One result is a certain fluidity in how we interact with information and objects. We can't help be but challenged in our old idea of our human selves being separate from our environments; it's being replaced with a sense of cooperation with our environments, environments of which we are components, not masters. Not only does this blur the boundaries of the individual, it blurs the boundary between human and machine. The implications of this new way of living are interpreted by some as apocalyptic, by others as transcendent; the realities, as always, are likely to fall somewhere in between.
For my own part, I’m cautiously optimistic. I'm particularly curious to find out how the IoT will influence our understanding of, more than our technological or social-technological environments, the natural world. Will having to understand ourselves as part of larger mechanics in everyday ways help us to relate to natural systems in new ways? Or, to put it differently, will disrupting our sense of human mastery allow us to enter into more productive systemic relations with natural elements? I hope so.
[i] Searle, J.R. “The Chinese Room Argument.” Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (2001).