All posts by corinthiaevans

Neuromancer as a Catalyst of Change

In William Gibson’s text entitled Neuromancer, technology acts as a fundamental force of change within society. The increasingly sophisticated nature of technology provides an avenue of enhancing the society one lives in. Case, the protagonist, essentially ponders whether or not the implications of technology will create an even more advanced society. In the text, technology can be described as a catalyst because it is a force that represents several actions such as escape, transcendence and enhancement.

Although technology assumes such a powerful role in Neuromancer, it surprisingly makes the conditions of society worse. Case recollects on the natural world, specifically in the final portion of the text when he is given an ultimatum consisting of two options. He is to choose to stay in a dream world in which he is comfortably on a beach or he is to return to the real world and facel his challenges. One challenge in particular being the situation that he has with an enemy who is out to kill him because he owes him money. Thus, Case arguably uses the computer to escape from reality. Another situation that occurs that seems to represent an element of escape in the text is the following,

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts…A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…” (Gibson).

This quote addresses the idea of cyberspace as an escape because it describes human experience with cyberspace being equated to an hallucination or an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present. The imagery presented in this quotation adds an element of escape while it also depicts the way in which it transcends reality. Although technology makes society worse in this context, it also enhances society’s intellectual capacity as it smartens society. This is apparent when Case transplants his mind to see from the perspective of the girl with the glass eye . This situation elaborates upon the fact that technology is an important component of society in Neuromancer while it also elaborates upon the idea of perception in the text.

Another interesting focus of the text is the relationship between humans and technology. As indicated by various examples within the text, humanity is dependent upon individual technology and kinesthetic enhancements. Interestingly, every human character in the text remains static, as fate seems to ultimately determine one’s destiny. As stated in Stephan Conway’s essay entitled “Transcedence and Technology in William Gibson’s Neuromancer,

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“Human characters seem unaware or incapable of forming or reforming an individual, provisional, less than absolute notion of self. Wintermute, an Artificial Intelligence, a computer, however, acknowledges and attempts to transcend itself. The boundaries between humanity and the machines it produces are blurred. Old paradigms of self, of identity seem obsolete. The character who possesses the greatest capacity for change in the novel is a machine. This is neither an indictment of humanity nor an endorsement of technology. Instead, the novel remains steadfastly ambivalent toward what Gibson himself calls “the very mixed blessings of technology” (Gibson)

In this quote Gibson elaborates upon the relationship between humans and technology, as it specifically relates to humans to the machine, Wintermute. The argument that the machine undergoes the greatest amount of change during the duration of the text is proposed. This is very interesting to the end that machines are not typically dynamic characters nor are they given human characteristics. Thus, one can argue that technology controls human nature. One particular example in the text is the Russian bartender with the rubbery arm who was at war and was able to regain his life circumstance through an avenue of technology. Another example is the centennial man who go Case went to for advice and lived to be very old because of technology. In both instances technology serves to preserves life, especially in the old man’s situation in which he keeps upgrading his body parts in order to maintain his health.

In conclusion, the novel asks us to consider the idea of individual identity in parallel with human existence within a technological framework. What does individual identity tell us about human existence? What does human existence tell us about individual identity? These questions have continued to remain unanswered. Thus, it is difficult to answer the question would new technologies fundamentally alter what it means to be human. However, one can definitely that this could indeed alter the state of humanity, as technology has a significant affect on the way that humans function in society. If a technological product has the capabilities of a human, then it will possibly supersede and eventually replace of the role of the human in society. Although the core of humanity has deeper implications in society, the role of technology in the text is indicative of the dynamism in ability that technology bears.

 

Flarf Poem

Maximilian Sunflower

flower heads turn to follow the sun as it moves across the sky,

fruition, insurmountable, fatal —

plateaus were worn to low-lying foothills by running water,

optimum percentage for snout beetles

enriching life and beauty through extinction.

 

mmmm, mmm, BBQ

stay committed to tradition but find your own stamp.

it is the golden age of recipes for the oldest, most primitive reptiles

 

fascinated, magnificent imaginations

a facade in London on posters of cosmetics…

 

I feel as though this poem does not completely encompass the search “limestone, dinosaur, sunflower.” However, it does speak to the vast distinction of the terms. I found it hard to draft the poem merely because I found a lot of environmental posts and I did not want the theme to be as consistent and fluid throughout. If I were to write this poem again, I would mix up the order in which I searched the terms in order to see if there would be a greater sense of variation among the posts.

 

 

“Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China”

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My intention in completing this assignment was to analyze a work of electronic literature that was different than that of my particular literary interests. However, I do find electronic literature very compelling, as it positions the reader in a controlled space in which he/she is restricted to read at a certain pace, in a particular order, etc. I visited the Electronic Literature Collection Volume One site and came across a text entitled “Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China” written by Kate Pullinger and babel. I was immediately drawn to this title as it embraces elements of multiculturalism and assimilation as represented by the relationship between the terms “Alice” and “China.” As stated by the author,

“Inanimate Alice depicts the life of a young girl growing up in the early years of the 21st century through her blog and episodic multimedia adventures that span her life from childhood through to her twenties. It has been created to help draw attention to the issue of electro-sensitivity and the potentially harmful pollution resulting from wireless communications.”

Thus, it is interesting to examine the dynamics in conversation centered about two striking topics: electro-sensitivity and pollution in wireless communities. In order to engage in this discussion, it is necessary to understand the larger context of the story and the specific graphic and electronic features.

I definitely found the variation and addition of sound to be very important to the conceptual basis of the work, as it grounded the literature in cultural tradition. This was specifically apparent through the presentation of music directly related to Chinese culture. Although this particular music was beneficial to the end that was reader was able to engage in the cultural appropriation of the text, many of the sounds were daunting and distracting. These sounds took a lot from the text, as they took the focus deviated from the actual work.

I felt that the graphical images were necessary elements in “Inanimate Alice”, as they gave the reader a better understanding of the setting and context of this literary work. For example, when the main character speaks about always traveling, an image of a map appears along with the image of a road in a deserted area and her father’s jeep. This allowed for the reader to have a much more personal connection with the story and it also added an element of sentiment and sympathy for the main character who going through a time of anxiety.

I feel that the presentation of the text was distracting throughout most of the story. This is mostly attributed to the fact that it made it harder to retain the context of the story because the focus was primarily on its dramatization. I do feel that the dramatization added a sense of consciousness to the severity of the situation endured by the protagonist. The words and the images collectively took us on a journey similar to that of the protagonist by allowing the reader to experience the overwhelming nature of the situation and forcing the reader to focus on many different things at one time.

Another important feature was the game, ba-xi via the image of the phone and its respective electronic depiction. This along with the incorporation of terminology associated with Chinese culture created a sense of cultural awareness and prestige. I feel that it again allowed the reader to gauge the culture more closely so that it was easier to engage in the reading.

In its entirety, the digital aspects of this text often hindered the interpretation and conceptual dimension of this text, as many elements were distracting. I do feel that the intent behind the incorporation of said features were justified, as they served to create a space in which the reader was distraught and anxious. As found in research,

“Digital literature is the marrying of the two terms digital and literary; however, it is much more than a combination of the two terms. Digital information is a symbolic representation of data, and literacy refers to the ability to read fro knowledge, write coherently, and think critically about the written word.”

However, it is evident that digital literary does not intend to replace the traditional form of the literature. To this end, I do feel that the “Inanimate Alice” builds upon tradition and literature, as opposed to deviating from cultural norms and not engaging in the literary qualities of the text. In conclusion, I feel that the digital aspect of “Inanimate Alice” offer a lot in respect to the interpretation of the work and its conceptual dimensions, however many of the digital elements confound the strictly literary comprehension of the work.

 

Mapping the Republic of Letters

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The purpose of this website is to foster conversation centered about case studies that vary in geographical range and time period while also considering the depth and opinion of said intellectuals. The Mapping of the Letters primarily focuses on the intersectionality of opinion and conversation. These case studies are categorized into three varying focuses, Correspondence, Publication and Travel respectively.

 

When I first entered the “Mapping the Republic of Letters” site I was overwhelmed by the image on the home page, as it allowed for the visualization of the “Republic of Letters.”  It is furthermore a narrative panorama that emphasizes the years of correspondence and it represents the various intellectuals involved in this particular community.

This particular resource tells us a few things about literature particularly in the context of technology. The site places emphasis on the fact that these individuals shared and received hand-written letters which is mostly due to technological constraints and distance. In order for this “Republic of Letters” to grow it was vital to expand correspondence to ensure that individuals nation-wide were informed of ideology. This site also pinpoints correspondence as the most important avenue to provide literature and information to individuals. To this end, the site indicates that letter writing serves as the basic structure in the development of literature. This allows me to raise two particular questions: What role does the digital era play in interrupting the age of letter writing? What is the advantage of writing a letter as opposed to sending a typed letter or email in this day and age?

It is difficult to determine the answers to the previously stated questions, however it is important to understand the variation in the intellectual community from the late 17 and 18 centuries in Europe and America to its present day representation.  I would definitely argue that a major distinction between the time periods is the emphasis on conversation as opposed to literature when sharing ideology. This resource serves to eradicate the notion that one cannot visualize the “Republic of Letters” while it also highlights the importance of literature in this particular time period as it created an environment of awareness and growth. To this end, I find it rather interesting in approach and I appreciate the knowledge it supplies.

 

 

Blog Post #1 – “God” vs. “god”

When we were initially asked to do this assignment by utilizing the Ngram Viewer application, I immediately thought of the usage and context of the words “God” and “god” in recent and former years. In reference to the Oxford English, there is no differentiation between the definition of the capitalized representation of “God” and, respectively, the lower case “god.” Thus the OED defines “God/god” as such: “a superhuman person who is worshipped as having power over nature and the fortunes of mankind; a diety.” However, there is a slight distinction between the two terms in the Merriam Webster Dictionary. In this particular context, “god” is defined as a person established in the love of god by divine promise while the term “God” is defined as a singular entity who is “the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshipped especially by Christians, Jews and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe.” In order to further understand the distinction present, it is vital to examine the contextuality of the term and its usage. The term “God” is particular to American society as the United States of America was founded on Biblical principles and, to this end, “God” serves as the presiding figure of these said principles. Thus, it is interesting to consider the ways in which both “god” and “God” came into usage in American society and to examine the lens from which they were interpreted.

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Surprisingly, there has been a decline in the representation of the term “God” over the years, specifically starting at the turn of the mid-1840s. There is also not a strong presence or usage of the term “god.” This validates my previous point about the context of the usage of the term “God” in American society in former years. However, I ponder what the significance of the consistently unexploited term “god” functions in American society and how this could potentially develop in the years to come.