[Humanist] 28.360 everything and nothing

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Sep 29 07:12:51 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 360.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2014 18:02:13 +0300
        From: Øyvind Eide <lister at oeide.no>
        Subject: Re:  28.355 everything and nothing
        In-Reply-To: <20140928064332.80C6C658F at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Tim and Willard,

The future of the humanities is analogue. Therefore, digital humanities will still be around for a long time.

When I see a video of a dance performance the digital signals on my video player (which is my computer) is analogised for me to see them (what we used to call a DA converter, in contrast to the AD converter digitising analogue signals). When I listen to my computer's speech synthesiser reading a Humanist message out loud to me I hear an analogue signal. Much of the digital world I experience I meet only in analogue form. 

For many scholars in the humanities the focus is on what happens between them and analogue signals, no matter if the signals are created based on digital signals. The ones of us more or a little less focused on what happens while the signals are digital are called digital humanists. 

Kind regards,

Øyvind Eide

28. sep. 2014 kl. 09:43 skrev Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 355.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:44:47 +0200
>        From: Tim Smithers <tim.smithers at cantab.net>
>        Subject: Re:  28.354 everything and nothing?
>        In-Reply-To: <20140926061051.23BDA65BD at digitalhumanities.org>
> Dear Willard,
> I read with interest your "everything and nothing" post, and
> went straight on to the Thomas Haigh CACM piece: also
> interesting.
> This coincided with reading a piece in Aeon by Tom Uglow:
> The arts electric
> Digital art and culture mustn’t get caught up in the tools
> of its making or it will never transport us somewhere new
> by Tom Uglow
> Aeon :   http://tinyurl.com/mqkwsqx
> Uglow, like some of your Digital Humanist types seems anxious for the
> revolution to happen, in digital arts, in his case.
> I think Uglow, perhaps like DH revolutionaries, mistakes what makes a
> revolution.  He starts his piece pointing us back to 1914 (and there
> abouts), and to the (now seen as revolutionary) works of Schoenberg,
> Duchamps, Nijinsky and Stravinsky, Cubists, and the like, and argues that
> what we have in the digital arts to day--or at least some of it--will, in
> about one hundred years, be seen as being equally revolutionary for what it
> does with digital stuff.
> What made the cited works from around 1914 revolutionary was the different
> things done with the same kind of stuff others had been using and some still
> were--paint, musical sounds, dance movements.  These works were not
> revolutionary for doing things with new stuff.  They were revolutionary for
> doing different things with the same stuff.  That's what mostly shocked
> others, as Uglow reports.
> Doing things with new stuff--new things or similar things--is part of normal
> evolution.  Using computers, computation, the digital in the arts has been,
> and still is, just part of the way the arts have been and are evolving. 
> It's not been, and won't ever be a revolution.  I don't think.
> Perhaps we can say the same for the Humanities more generally (since I take
> it we'd want to say they include the arts): doing Humanities with new
> stuff--digital stuff--is all part of the evolution we'd expect to see going
> on, because there always is some evolution in the ways we do things; it's
> hard to stop this happening.
> Of course, at any point in time, we can see certain people messing around
> more with doing things with the new stuff, and we might call them the
> revolutionaries, but this doesn't make it a revolution.  It's just the usual
> way evolution in practices go.
> Revolutions can be exciting, and even leave behind some good things, but
> they don't do much exploration.  Evolution, on the other hand, if left to
> just get on, tends to do a lot of exploration ...  of what can be done, of
> what is practical, illuminating, and usefully discovering of things new.
> So, unlike Thomas Haigh, I'd say there are Digital Humanists about today,
> quite a few of them: these are the Humanists who are messing around with and
> exploring what you can do with the kinds of digital stuff that has become
> quite pervasive today.
> Depending on what these explorations discover, the evolution of the practice
> of the Humanities might move on to become almost all digital in some way or
> other.  Then we'll probably just drop the name Digital Humanities, and be
> wondering about what we call the next kinds of explorer types in the
> Humanities ...  you know, Nano Humanities, or Quantum Humanities, or
> something just as strange.  Humans, after all, do seem happy trying to
> become all sorts of different kinds of beings.
> And, I'd say, contrary to Uglow, getting caught up with the (digital) tools
> of its making will take us to places new in the arts, but by evolution, not
> by revolution.
> Best regards,
> Tim
> Tim Smithers
> Donostia / San Sebastián
> The Basque Country

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