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Noise Channels

Glitch and Error in Digital Culture

2011
Author:

Peter Krapp

Noise Channels

Brings to light the critical role of noise and error in the creative potential of digital culture

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, showing how creativity is stirred within the networks of digital culture.

With a jam-packed intellectual bandwidth, Noise Channels reconfigures how we think about digital culture. Distortion reveals system characteristics: Peter Krapp uses this classic insight to illuminate the vibrant aesthetic and practical offspring of the computer. Marx knew it, Freud knew it, and so do Krapp’s fractious gang of characters. Rarely have the secret affinities among continental high theorists, engineering visionaries, and avant-garde artists been revealed so freshly.

John Durham Peters, University of Iowa

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.

Noise Channels

Peter Krapp is professor of film and media and visual studies at the University of California, Irvine.

Noise Channels

With a jam-packed intellectual bandwidth, Noise Channels reconfigures how we think about digital culture. Distortion reveals system characteristics: Peter Krapp uses this classic insight to illuminate the vibrant aesthetic and practical offspring of the computer. Marx knew it, Freud knew it, and so do Krapp’s fractious gang of characters. Rarely have the secret affinities among continental high theorists, engineering visionaries, and avant-garde artists been revealed so freshly.

John Durham Peters, University of Iowa

Noise Channels offers an intriguing and insightful analysis of ‘creative writing’ under the conditions of networked computing. Ranging from hypertext to machinima, it argues that cultural creativity operates by embracing, rather than overcoming or eliminating, limitations (noise). Noise Channels is, beyond doubt, an important contribution to the field of new media studies.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown University

With Noise Channels, Krapp brings a welcome volume to an increasingly clamorous field of study.

Roy Christopher

Noise Channels is a valuable contribution to critical media studies, and stands alone as a rich archive of research and analysis of creative expression in digital culture.

Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture

Noise Channels

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. Hypertext and Its Anachronisms
2. Terror and Play, or What Was Hacktivism?
3. Noise Floor: Between Tinnitus and Raw Data
4. Gaming the Glitch: Room for Error
5. Machinima and the Suspensions of Animation

Notes
Index