Monday, August 31, 2015

New book in our series: Agustin Berti's "From Digital to Analog"!

Agustin Berti's, From Digital to Analog: Agrippa and Other Hybrids in the Beginning of Digital Culture is a marvellous book! In his exploration of William Gibson's digi-analogue Agrippa, Berti engages with the early history of the huge turn towards the digital that began in the 1990s and raises all sorts of interesting points about the materiality of digital texts.

From the back cover:
"From Digital to Analog delves into the origins of digitization and its effects on contemporary culture. The book challenges the «common sense» assertion that digitization is just another step in the evolution of the culture of the editorial, film and recorded music industries and their enforcement of copyright laws. Digital technologies in contemporary culture have paradoxically undermined and, at the same time, strengthened such practices, provoking an unprecedented quarrel over the possession of, and access to, cultural products. Agustín Berti uses the release of Agrippa (A Book of the Dead) in 1992 to study this paradox. The importance of Agrippa for digital culture studies is proven through the discussion of the frequently understated importance of the materiality of digital culture. The book develops a critique of digital technology and its alleged neutrality and transparency. Ultimately, it illustrates how Agrippa anticipated a number of contemporary phenomena such as piracy, leaks, remixes, memes, and more, forcing us to rethink the concept of digital content itself and thus the way in which culture is produced, received and preserved today. From Digital to Analog is ideal reading for a graduate student readership, especially Master candidates in the fields of Literature, Arts, Digital Humanities, Digital Culture and New Media Studies."
 Chapters include:

Get your copy now--I guarantee it's going to directly and positively impact how you think about digital texts!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Rewriting the Mark 4 Zephyr

When my father finally realised he would never again be hooking his prized 1971 Mark 4 Zephyr car to the family caravan he started staring down the reality that it was time to do something about the car.

He wanted me to have it. But that had to be stared down too. Much and all as I would love to have had the car, the brute fact was that the Zephyr was a right hand drive vehicle domiciled in New Zealand, and I was domiciled in Mexico, where steering wheels are firmly on the left. It was a no brainer. The car would be staying close to home.

Happily, Tom had shown interest in it. That made me happy, because while Tom was not a mechanic he had been interested for years in restoring vehicles and had made a very nice job of some old bicycles. He has some mechanically proficient friends, so it looked like a good option for Tom to take the Mark 4, get it back on the road, and eventually get it back to its former glory.

The tricky part was always going to be getting my father to actually let go of the car -- psychically, emotionally and physically (although I figured that if he could let go physically for long enough to get the car to some other place, the other “lettings go” would follow in due course).

When I was in New Zealand visiting, a couple of trips back, we confirmed with Tom and talked it through with Dad. And much sooner that I could ever have anticipated there was a car carrier truck at the gate. Dad passed the test of letting the car go physically with flying colours and was soon happy that Tom and friends were making a start on getting it back on the road.

That was a couple of years ago.

Then, two or three days ago, a decidedly understated Facebook post sprang the rewritten Mark 4 Zephyr back into life. It had a warrant of fitness, was registered for road use, and it looked great. It always steered like a tank, very heavy in the steering. No power steering in those days, and I wouldn't fancy the chances of taking on a power steering mod on that car. But for all I know …..

Anyway, here it is. Massive congratulations to Tom and his pals on getting the car back on the road. I remember how it felt when I finally got my 1950 BSA 500 single (a plunger framed B33) on the road. There was no other feeling like it other, perhaps, than firing it up and taking that first ride. And I am sure Tom will have felt beyond exhilarated to have the car on the road. I’m thrilled, and I wish Tom tens of thousands of happy miles of motoring. A fantastic job well done, and a cause for much pride on the parts of all involved.

Ride on, old Zephyr, ride on.

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