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Noise Channels

Glitch and Error in Digital Culture

Peter Krapp

Publication Year: 2011

To err is human; to err in digital culture is design. In the glitches, inefficiencies, and errors that ergonomics and usability engineering strive to surmount, Peter Krapp identifies creative reservoirs of computer-mediated interaction. Throughout new media cultures, he traces a resistance to the heritage of motion studies, ergonomics, and efficiency; in doing so, he shows how creativity is stirred within the networks of digital culture.

Noise Channels offers a fresh look at hypertext and tactical media, tunes into laptop music, and situates the emergent forms of computer gaming and machinima in media history. Krapp analyzes text, image, sound, virtual spaces, and gestures in noisy channels of computer-mediated communication that seek to embrace—rather than overcome—the limitations and misfires of computing. Equally at home with online literature, the visual tactics of hacktivism, the recuperation of glitches in sound art, electronica, and videogames, or machinima as an emerging media practice, he explores distinctions between noise and information, and how games pivot on errors at the human–computer interface.

Grounding the digital humanities in the conditions of possibility of computing culture, Krapp puts forth his insight on the critical role of information in the creative process.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Electronic Mediations


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. ii-iv


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pp. v-v

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pp. vii-viii

When i arrived at UC Irvine in 2004, I had the good fortune to connect with a number of like-minded faculty members and students who joined me in exploring digital culture. Above all, I should mention the core lectures on new technologies I have offered every spring in the film and media studies major; the pioneering, writing-intensive, First Year ...

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pp. ix-xx

Analyzing computer-mediated communication in a series of noisy channels, this study of cultural forms developing around the human–computer interface looks at digital culture through the lens of inefficiencies. Rather than focus on how one might design the most ergonomic interface or engineer trustworthy reciprocity of encoding and decoding under conditions ...

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1. Hypertext and Its Anachronisms

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pp. 1-26

the transition from analog to digital media is perhaps too readily understood as a shift from continuity to fragmentation, from narration to archeology.1 One might instead view it as a process of translation, because what is completely untranslatable into new media will disappear as fast as what is utterly translatable.2 Such threats of disappearance ...

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2. Terror and Play, or What Was Hacktivism?

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pp. 27-51

As we witness numerous government and corporate initiatives around the globe to restrain the free use of networked computers, knowledge and discussion about these and parallel measures are increasingly withdrawn from public discourse. Social power is already so diffuse that Adam Smith’s market metaphor of the invisible hand has become pure ...

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3. Noise Floor: Between Tinnitus and Raw Data

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pp. 53-74

What happens to music making under the conditions of networked computing? Just what is it that makes the bleeps and clicks of laptop music so different, so appealing? Our digital media culture is predicated on communication effi ciencies to an extent that can obscure or veil the sources of noise, as faults, glitches, and bugs are too often relegated to ...

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4. Gaming the Glitch: Room for Error

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pp. 75-92

Don’t we need to write a ludology for losers? Computing culture is predicated on communication and control to an extent that can obscure the domain of the error. Between a hermetically rule-bound realm of programmed necessity and efficient management of the totality of the possible, this book situates a realm of contingency: distortions in the ...

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5. Machinima and the Suspensions of Animation

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pp. 93-112

Machinima, a portmanteau for machine/cinema, is the recording of in-game action. It is a thriving form of digital animation or filmmaking in real time on the ordinary PC of the creator or viewer, as virtual cameras record performances inside an off-the-shelf game engine, without the need for render farms or other expensive postproduction facilities. Machinima ...


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pp. 113-157


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pp. 159-162

Other Works in the Series, About the Author

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pp. 164-166

E-ISBN-13: 9780816678723
E-ISBN-10: 0816678723
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816676255

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Electronic Mediations
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OCLC Number: 768082783
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Noise Channels