[Humanist] 28.923 human & boundaries; the artificial Sublime

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Apr 29 07:14:52 CEST 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 923.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Cosgrave, Mike" <M.Cosgrave at ucc.ie>                      (15)
        Subject: Human and Boundaries

  [2]   From:    Matthew Battles <matthew at metalab.harvard.edu>             (72)
        Subject: Re:  28.920 artificial Sublime?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015 07:53:37 +0000
        From: "Cosgrave, Mike" <M.Cosgrave at ucc.ie>
        Subject: Human and Boundaries


Willard McCarthy's post on robots and boundary drawing brings  to mind one
of our Phd researchers, working on death in the digital age, who is arguing
that our definition of death has changed due to improvements in medical
technology. Death was formerly a simple state, and a single event determined
by external observation; now we have various forms of death, and in many
cases the process of dying, the boundary of life, is extended by medical
technology.  This has happened incrementally, largely without objection and
indeed without much debate when compared to the debates about robotics and
AI.

I have, not entirely in jest, remarked to colleagues here that now that we
have Digital Humanities programme, we need to start planning for a
Cybernetic Humanities programme, to be followed by a Bionic Humanities
programme and an Artificial Humanities programme - for which research grants
will be written and evaluated by AI in nanoseconds

Mike Cosgrave



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:14:48 -0400
        From: Matthew Battles <matthew at metalab.harvard.edu>
        Subject: Re:  28.920 artificial Sublime?
        In-Reply-To: <20150428065727.D2CE8612A at digitalhumanities.org>


Michael—I think right away of the Léon Bloy of Borges, who writes that
"[t]he terrifying immensity of the firmament's abyss is an illusion, an
external reflection of our own abysses, perceived 'in a mirror.' We should
invert our eyes and practice a sublime astronomy in the infinitude of our
hearts, for which God was willing to die...If we see the Milky Way, it is
because it actually exists in our souls." The Library of Babel seems at
least the most obvious if not the best example of a vision of an artificial
sublime (although Borges imagines it as, if not natural, at least existing
*a priori*). Hannah Arendt, too, comes close to sublime territory in her
approach to the horror vacui of the "Archimedean Point" promised by the
space race. Closer to the your intent, I think, we could look to Leo Marx's
*Machine in the Garden* and David Nye's *American Technological Sublime* for
starting points.

You've made me eager to have a look at the Kessler book!

On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 2:57 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 920.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:53:57 +0000
>         From: Michael Ullyot <ullyot at ucalgary.ca>
>         Subject: A listserv inquiry into the Sublime
>
> Dear colleagues:
>
> I came across Elizabeth A. Kessler’s work recently, thanks to the “On the
> Media” podcast<
> http://www.onthemedia.org/story/on-the-media-2015-04-24/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=treatment&utm_campaign=carousel&utm_content=item0>,
> and it has me thinking about the concept of the sublime applied to
> quasi-human formulations. (The book is Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space
> Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime<
> https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/picturing-the-cosmos>.)
>
> The cosmos is a natural phenomenon, I know — but the Hubble images seem to
> be on the verge of human creations, because astronomers add colour and so
> on for different gases.
>
> My question is whether the sublime has ever been used to describe
> human-created phenomena or artifacts. Particularly textual ones. For
> instance, has anyone described a vast library inspiring the same feelings
> of awe and apprehension that the sublime provokes? The only examples I can
> think of are architectural.
>
> The association with Hubble owes, naturally, to Willard McCarty’s apt
> description of text-analysis tools as “telescopes for the mind."
>
> yours
> Michael
>
>
>
> =-=-=-=-=-
> Michael Ullyot
>
> Associate Professor, Department of English http://english.ucalgary.ca/
> :: Associate Dean (Teaching + Learning), Faculty of Arts<
> http://arts.ucalgary.ca/>, University of Calgary :: PI, Augmented
> Criticism Lab http://acriticismlab.org/  :: Blog<
> http://ullyot.ucalgaryblogs.ca/> :: Twitter<https://twitter.com/ullyot>
>
> Follow the Email Charter<
> http://ullyot.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2014/12/17/e-mail-charter/>

--
matthew battles
associate director, metaLAB (at) harvard  http://metalab.harvard.edu/
fellow, berkman center for internet and society
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu
twitter = @matthewbattles  http://twitter.com/matthewbattles






More information about the Humanist mailing list