English 738T, Spring 2015
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Supplemental readings on Agrippa and Digital Forensics

Posted by Amanda Visconti on Sunday, April 29th, 2012 at 11:40 am

More resources on Agrippa:

  1. Kirschenbaum, Matthew G., with Doug Reside and Alan Liu. “No Round Trip: Two New Primary Sources for Agrippa.” (From the Agrippa Files site on the syllabus, but added subsequent to the other research work on the site)
  2. Traub, Courtney. “An Interview with Kevin Begos, Jr“. The Oxonian Review 19.1 (23 April, 2012).
  3. Jones, Steven E. “Agrippa, the Eversion of Cyberspace, and Games“. Blog post response to the Traub-Begos interview that suggests thinking ahout Agrippa against ARGs and other transmedia work.

Digital Forensics and Literary Study

Matt Kirschenbaum’s recent Chronicle article on the importance of digital forensics to literary study (which looks like it’s now behind a paywall, but MITH might have a paper copy in the couch area)

Matt’s Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination: Chapter 5 in particular focuses on Agrippa, but the whole book is a great read if you’re interested in new media. Outlining two paths for thinking about new media objects–forensic materiality and formal materiality–the book suggests “forensic imagination” as a path to thinking critically about new media (e.g. considering wear, trauma, time) as textual objects with particular histories and physicalities.

Forensic materiality examines each constituent part of a new media object as ultimately unique (e.g. because of varied manufacturing and care conditions, my Tetris NES cartridge is on some level not a perfect double of yours–just as with early printed editions, multiple “copies” are really each objects worthy of separate study because of their inconsistencies)

Formal materiality concerns itself with symbols and symbol manipulation rather than matter, bits (without material dimensions, just on/off switches) rather than than atoms (with their microscopic but real material dimensions). Kirschenbaum gives the example of shifting ways of interfacing with a digital object–with an image file, for instance, we often end up privileging the “view image” function over other functions that can also be studied, such as those that look at the image file’s metadata or header file.

Cultural Memory

A fantastic article on how we manufacture memory as a culture–looks at both how we mark things we want to remember in ways we assume the future will still understand (e.g. monuments for fallen soldiers, victims) and how we might warn away future generations from danger (e.g. how to mark a nuclear waste site to protect those who can no longer read our current written language). Some food for thought on how we imagine permanence and importance with respect to the materials and ways of inscribing we use:

Kenneth E. Foote (1990). “To remember and forget: archives, memory, and culture.” American Archivist 53/3 (Summer): pp. 378-392.

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