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Dissent and the machine

Anti-computing explores forgotten histories and contemporary forms of dissent – moments when the imposition of computational technologies, logics, techniques, imaginaries, utopias have been questioned, disputed, or refused. It also asks why these moments tend to be forgotten. What is it about computational capitalism that means we live so much in the present? What has this to do with computational logics and practices themselves?

This book addresses these issues through a critical engagement with media archaeology and medium theory and by way of a series of original studies; exploring Hannah Arendt and early automation anxiety, witnessing and the database, Two Cultures from the inside out, bot fear, singularity and/as science fiction. Finally, it returns to remap long-standing concerns against new forms of dissent, hostility, and automation anxiety, producing a distant reading of contemporary hostility.

At once an acute response to urgent concerns around toxic digital cultures, an accounting with media archaeology as a mode of medium theory, and a series of original and methodologically fluid case studies, this book crosses an interdisciplinary research field including cultural studies, media studies, medium studies, critical theory, literary and science fiction studies, media archaeology, medium theory, cultural history, technology history.

Open Access (free)
How anti-computing time-travels
Caroline Bassett

attention is paid. This is felt to produce occlusions. Gitelman's rejection of teleological stories is based on her sense that ‘media are unique and complicated historical subjects’ (Gitelman, 2006 : 7), and this complexity is recognized to inhere in part in their materiality. But for new materialist critics of ‘traditional’ ways of doing history this admission of the material may not suffice. What needs challenging, from their perspective, is that tradition which holds humans to be the history makers in the final analysis. For various flavours of German medium theory

in Anti-computing
Open Access (free)
A provisional taxonomy
Caroline Bassett

archaeology and medium theory. This general outlook produces certain starting points. Notably it generates an account framed in material and materialist terms, cognisant of overarching social and techno-social logics, understood or explored in their diachronic as well as synchronic aspects; the complex temporalities and continuities and disjunctures of the computational/anti-computational demand this. Technology, recognized in its materiality, is always also explored in relation to culture, and in relation to social power; that is to say, by a critical theorization of

in Anti-computing