[Humanist] 24.560 hardware

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Dec 7 09:38:05 CET 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 560.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2010 09:52:56 -0600
        From: John Laudun <jlaudun at mac.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.553 hardware? privacy?

On 2010-12-05, at 05:07 , Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

> Yes -- and no? Can one see beyond the machine while not losing sight of 
> it as a shaper of what is seen?

As someone who spends long hours “in the field” studying individuals who, quite literally, shape machines that in turn shape the landscape -- I am speaking here of various kinds of agricultural and aquacultural equipment fabricated for local use in Louisiana -- I think there is no tool, no artifact that is either purely spectacular nor purely instrumental. There are certainly objects that approach either end of the continuum across which all artifacts range, and it is certainly the case that some objects have held their place along the continuum for a variety of reasons. Time and place are marvelous modifiers of such things: cathedrals are not art pieces. Cars continue to cling mysteriously to the center of the continuum, refusing to be either merely an instrument nor merely a spectacle for a wide range of viewers/users, especially in American cultures. I can certainly assure my fellow digital humanists that even the lowly plow is appraised not only on its own form but the way it forms the landscape to which it is applied -- thus aesthetics for farmers is itself a continuum of artifacts/environments/constructs which are always in motion.

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