In his introduction to Digital Culture, Gere (2008) cautions that it is a mistake to believe that digital culture is as new as it might appear, nor is its development determined by technological advances. It would be more accurate to suggest that digital technology is a product of digital culture, rather than vice versa (p. 17). Rejecting technological determinist thinking about effects, technology is only one of a number of sources that have contributed to the development of our current digital culture. Others include techno-scientific discourses about information and systems, avant-garde art practice, counter-culture utopianism, critical theory and philosophy, and even subcultural formations such as Punk (p.18).
Among these heterogenous elements, choose one of the chapters to reread, with attention to the authors thinking:
Ch 2, post-WWII cybernetic discourse and Cold War military strategy Ch 3, avant-garde art practice in the 1950s and 60s
Ch 4, late 1960s to 1970s counter cultural techno-utopianism
Ch 5, 1970s new wave punk subculture and style
For the purposes of this discussion paper, summarize Geres perspective, purpose, and thesis. Consider his supporting argument, how it is structured, and the conclusions he comes to. Reflect on what he thinks and why he thinks what he thinks. Why does he think this source contributed to the development of current digital culture? In addition to putting this general question to the text, read to root up answers to these particular questions:
Ch 2, How did Cybernetic thinking contribute to the development of computers and the redefinition of computing?
Ch 3, How did avante-garde artistic practices influence or presage digital culture? Which artistic movements receded into the past, which have been extended into the present?
Ch 4, How were counter-cultural thinking, and new technology combined and fused with second-order Cybernetics to open a space to create the personal computer. How was the subsequent growth of the commercial computer industry accompanied by a shift to neoliberal ideology?
Ch 4, How was Punk subculture both an aesthetic response to the 1970s and an anticipation of the possibilities of emerging technologies? In particular, how did punk and postpunk music reflect the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial economy?
To conclude, evaluate the authors purpose in writing this chapter and how it contributes to the whole books thesis. Finally, review the illustrations that were reproduced in your selected chapter; then search for, download and save one other image that could serve as another illustration of what was discussed in your selected chapter.
Keep in mind that each of these sources vary in their relationship to the development and use of computers or new media in a particular historical period. Cybernetics had a direct relationship with the development of computer technology, systems and networks, artistic practices opened up a space for the development of ideas about interactivity, multimedia and other issues, counter- culture utopianism created the context for the personal computer and commercial multi-media products, and punk subculture reflected resistance through style and anticipated graphic computing.
Length, Organization and Format
This assignment is intended to cover course material from November 3 to December 1. Your discussion paper should be no more than six pages. Your paper should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Use paragraph structure indenting the first line of each paragraph five spaces. Reserve one page for your illustration (refer the reader to this image by inserting (see illus. 1) in the appropriate place with a caption). If your paper lacks paragraph structure, it will be evaluated accordingly. Do not exceed the page limit but use all the space you have wisely.
Your writing will have to be concise and cogent. An informed, thoughtful, meaningful discussion paper begins with reading with an academic purpose, active listening, careful note taking, and clear thinking. Writing is rewriting; proofread and revise your first, rough draft before turning in the final, polished version. Spelling and grammatical errors detract from what you are saying. Consult the Hit Parade of Errors in Grammar, Punctuation, and Style (via the link on Moodle) and correct errors before you turn it in. A paper which does not seriously engage with the readings, screenings and in-class discussion and that merely reiterates historical information will be deemed deficient in satisfying the requirements of this assignment.
Authors sometimes express ideas better than we can paraphrase. You need to be able to paraphrase properly, but a few short quotations of terms or phrases to support your discussion may also be appropriate. To learn how to paraphrase, consult How to Paraphrase without Plagiarizing on Moodle. In addition, you may also make reference to class lectures or screenings and online resources. All references should be in APA or MLA style. For guides to these styles, click on http://researchguides.library.yorku.ca/styleguides. A paper that does not use APA or MLA style does not meet minimal requirements of university-level writing and will be automatically evaluated as marginally failing.
Your paper should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, stapled, and have 1″ margins. Include a title page with your own title (try to get the reader interested in reading our paper!), name, student number and date. Staple the pages together; do not enclose your papers in any plastic binders or folders. Back up your digital file in case of a technological accident. This assignment counts for 30% of your final grade and is due December 15 by 12:00 pm. in the Assignment Drop Box for this course, across from Room 210 in Vanier College (underneath all the silver mailboxes). If you are going on holiday before the due date, you may turn in your assignment early.
You can find Gere’s Digital Culture book here:
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