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curriculum have any particular relation to rhetoric or the use of computers in instruction. Lanham has a frustrating tendency to present his own views by way of com­ mentary. What a rhetorician should know, surely, is that a succinct, positive statement is much more effective than a long-winded analysis developed out of criticism of a bewildering variety of writers. At his best, he states his claims in a personal way. But when, for ex­ ample, he explains how the humanities might be defended by first criticizing Allan Bloom, then discussing George Steiner's commentary on the spying of art historian Anthony Blunt, proceed­ ing to recount Sidney Hook's autobiog­ raphy and finally retelling the story of John Sculley's move from the presi­ dency of Pepsi-Cola to a position with the Apple Computer corporation, his narrative is needlessly digressive. I greatly regret that he has not worked his materials into a unified book, for too often these previously published es­ says repetitively circle around the same central questions. But these are complaints about points of detail. Lanham has identified an important problem, and his book ought to provoke constructive debate. The more I criticized his account, the more I realized that I had no better analysis to offer. The great virtue of The Electronic Word is that it identifies issues that, like it or not, will not go away. ART/COGNITION, PRATIQUES ARTISTIQUES ET SCIENCES COGNITIVES edited by Marc Partouche. CYPRES/ Ecole d'Art, Rue Emile Tavan, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France, 1994. 318 pp., illus. ISBN: 2-9507745-0-4. Reviewed by RogerF. Malina, 95 Hiller Drive, Oakland, CA 94618, U.S.A. This book, resulting from a workshop held inJuly 1992 at the CYPRES Center in Aix-en-Provence, seeks to explore links between the arts and the cognitive sciences. The workshops drew interna­ tional artists; philosophers; researchers in artificial life, robotics, artificial intel­ ligence; psychiatrists; botanists and an­ thropologists. This is an excellent, welledited and thought-provoking book. Following on the heels of the artificial life conferences held at the Santa Fe In­ stitute, the discussion here is art- and philosophy-centered. The discussions presented by scientists and engineers are both illustrated and enlarged by the artists' contributions. There is no better example of artists and scientists col­ laborating in state-of-the-art inquiry. The contents are opened by an illu­ minating discussion of memory by the late Vilem Flusser, entitled "On Memory (Electronic or Otherwise)." Flusser argues that the invention of electronic memories will have pro­ found effects on human psychology and self-conception. He also argues, among other things, that the erasability of electronic memory will open the way to "historical thought and action in a new and more radical way," emphasiz­ ing that "to forget isjust as important a function of memory as to remember." The sections that follow this initial discussion include documentation of artistic events held at the conference (by Heffernon and Stelarc); theoretical papers, including contributions by Ber­ nard Stiegler, Florian Rotzer, John Stewart, Jean-Francois Le Maitre and others; texts by participating artists, in­ cluding Roy Ascott, Larry Burgess, Fred Forest, Ray Gulean and Bryan Rogers; and documentation of the workshops on behavior, connectivity and artificial life. A closing interview with philoso­ pher and psychologist Margaret Boden discusses creativity within the context of computation. Although the book and conference both have the stated aim of covering the various cognitive sciences (neuroscience , cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, robotics, etc.), the real "ghost in the machine" of this workshop proved to be the topic of artificial life. Ascott and others quote Christopher Langton's position, viewing research in artificial life as the exploration of issues of life-as-we-know-it in the larger context of life-as-it-could-be, and tying this re­ search at its base to integrative research involving art, science and philosophy. The texts exude an aggressive optimism (perhaps colored by the congenial loca­ tion of the deliberations), which is a welcome tonic to the quagmire of postmodern discussion. Organizers Louis Bee and Ysabel de Roquelte are to be congratulated on a significant contri­ bution to the discussion of the future of art—a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 74
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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