ENGL293 - The Developing Database Culture
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ENGL293 - The Developing Database Culture

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The Developing Database Culture. An overview of Lev Manovich's excerpt article The Database (2001) and Eugene Thacker's essay Biocolonialism, Genomics, and the Databasing of the Population. (2005)

The Developing Database Culture. An overview of Lev Manovich's excerpt article The Database (2001) and Eugene Thacker's essay Biocolonialism, Genomics, and the Databasing of the Population. (2005)

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ENGL293 - The Developing Database Culture ENGL293 - The Developing Database Culture Presentation Transcript

  • The Way We Were• 40’s Bush and Weiner: From analogue to digital, cybernetics• 60’s McLuhan: The medium is the message (mediated content)• 90’s: Bolter & Grusin: remediation and digitextuality• 2000s Everett - symptoms of: click theory
  • The DevelopingDatabase Culture Lev Manovich Eugene Thacker
  • Overview• Lev Manovich The Database (2001)• Eugene Thacker Biocolonialism, Genomics, and the Databasing of the Population (2005)
  • Lev Manovich• Interested in new media art, history and theory of digital culture• Professor of Visual Arts, UCSD • Background in fine art, architecture, semiotics, computer programming • M.A. Experimental Psychology Ph.D.Visual/Cultural Studies• The Language of Media (MIT Press, 2001) • excerpt from Database as a Symbolic Form
  • Article in a nutshell• The rise of computer culture has redistributed the weight between databases and narratives as the lens for user experience and understanding of the world• “Both have existed long before modern media...[and represent] two essential responses to the world” (Nayar 60)• Narrative becomes syntagm|virtual|dematerialized while database becomes paradigm|privileged|material in new media
  • Key terms• Database form can be defined as a structured collection of data. • Data has equal significance • No end, no beginning (editable) • Open and editable
  • Key Concepts• Database form and data structure as a cultural mirror. • Computer age succeeds modern age • Rise of idea of world as unstructured and endless collection of data • Represents a new way to translate our experience of ourselves and the world
  • Key terms• Narrative form “… contents should be a series of connected events caused or experienced by actors”. - Mieke Bal. literary scholar (Nayar 56)• Linear, single trajectory• Novels, cinema, comics, music
  • Why are database>narrative structure for new media objects?• New media objects do not tell stories• Traditional genres which already have a database logic are receptive to reinvention with new media storage• OED, Chapters, Flickr, Wikipedia, Hotmail, CBC Radio 3
  • But what about new media objects experienced asnarratives... Such as games?
  • Key terms• Algorithm: “a final sequence of simplified operations that a computer can execute to accomplish a given task.” (Nayar 53)• “Hidden logic” a sequence of simple operation required to complete a task
  • Manovich’s Issues• “The computerization of culture” “[C]omputer programming encapsulates the world according to its own logic. The world is reduced to two kinds of software objects which are complementary to each other: data structures and algorithms.” (Nayar 53)• “the digitizing craze” “storage mania”• Data does not just exist - it has to be generated, collected and organized• New cultural algorithm (database logic as logic of culture): reality ->media->data->database
  • Re: Everett’s Issue• “By distancing technology from the body, we become less accountable to ourselves.”• Issue of disconnecting information from the body.
  • Thacker’s Issue• When we displace data from the body, does it gain additional significance? Is context lost in the datafication? (Re: McLuhan)
  • Eugene Thacker• Interested in new media theory, digital arts, science fiction, bioscience and ethics, body and technology• Associate Professor of Media Studies & film, The New School • BA in English Literature M.A. and Ph.D.: Comparative Literature • excerpt from The Global Genome (MIT Press, 2005)
  • Article in a nutshell• The databasing of the population is problematic. The human population is reduced to three entities: biological material in a test tube, as a sequence in a computer database, and as economically valuable information in a patent.• “… what techniques is bioinformatics reinterpreting and incorporating cultural difference?” (Nayar 241)• Datification is a process fraught with semiotic meaning in both input and output (de Saussure).
  • Key Terms• Population Genomics: Genetic study of the genomes of specific populations, through both statistics and medicine, genetics and technology(Nayar 223) • Studies genetic elements that make human populations distinct from all humans (ie. ethnic groups.) • Produces what population means in the context of genetics-based medicine and health care-paradigm. • Omits nonbiological factors (environmental, geography, political, social) • Related: Biopower, Bioinformatics as Biocapitalism
  • Key Terms • Biopolitics: incorporating the life of a population into a set of economic and political concerns. • defines population as mathematical, informatic-based statistics approach • works by subdividing and creating internal differences in population to regulate political and economic health. • produces and collects knowledge of the population in the form of manageable data, inserting that info back through the social-biological body of the populationMichel Foucault, French philosopher
  • Key Terms • Biocolonialism: the appropriation (through force or coercion) of Third World biological bodies and populations by First World science, practice and research to feed into health care economies. • Concept of race manifested within biosciences is encoded by Western science. • Population databases are “... like value-added export products designed to circulate in a global rhetorical economy” (Nayar, 225)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8HDjU6URqw
  • Key Issues• Bioethical Concerns & the Database: • privacy, ownership and access to data • commodification of data by free market capitalism • emphasis on marketable genes data over others • genetic discrimination • selected conservation of genetic difference. • reinscribed data; variability of biological data http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apjebtal8bQ&feature=player_profilepage
  • Thank you
  • Disclaimer: All images used for illustrative purposes belong to their respective trademark owners. The imagesused therein are for non-commercial use and do not imply artist or corporate endorsement. No copyrightinfringement is intended. For image takedown notice, please contact strieudal@yahoo.ca