tile waiting

The lab is still undergoing reconstruction, and right now, everyone seems to be on holiday. Hopefully the floor in the in present lab will be finished next week.

A few mixed things while we are waiting:

The virtual world timeline project is progressing. Have a look here. If you are interested in participating, please contact me or Bruce Damer.

Two new and interesting MIT books: Ian Bogost’s Persuasive Games: The expressive power of videogames and Tarleton Gillespie’s Wired Shut: Copyright and the shape of digital culture.

Matt told me yesterday about Michael Shank’s class Ten Things.

This course explores the connections between science, technology, society and culture by looking at ten things. It takes an historical and anthropological perspective, going back to the earliest stone tools and tracking their genealogical connection with contemporary high-tech design in order to think outside the box. Tracking the design of these ten things takes us through an interdisciplinary mix that includes archaeology, cultural anthropology, science studies, the history and sociology of technology, cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, the fine and applied arts.

The course covers a range of disciplinary fields and will include readings from actor network theory (Callon and Latour), British cultural studies (Raymond William and after, the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies), material culture studies (archaeology and anthropology, British and French traditions), anthropologies of science, new sociologies of technology (Donald Mackenzie, John Law) cognitive science (from cognitive evolution to human factors research in design, from Leroi-Gourhan to Don Norman).

As Tarleton notes, these summary comments are great. I have had the pleasure of talking to Michael and his group about some of the coursework they do there, and much of it seems innnovative – and not least fun.

More about books: There is some blogging about upcoming books (again MIT). I am looking forward to Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Matthew reports that he has managed to recategorize the book from TK to P. Jill Walker Rettberg tells us that their World of Warcraft Reader is in copyediting now. Here is some more information about the book (which looks quite interesting).

And to mention a book that is not MIT: Erik Stolterman recommends Peter-Paul Verbeek’s What Things Do. I just got it, and will take it with me on a short trip I am doing this weekend. Verbeek’s work looks interesting.