Drawing on his intimate engagement with political conflict in Latin America and the Balkans, Ostertag identifies an art of "insurgent politics" that struggles to expand the parameters of the physical and social world. He also discusses his innovative collaborations with major modern performers, filmmakers, and artists around the world. Part memoir, part journalism, and part aesthetic manifesto, Creative Life is a dazzling set of writings from a musical artist who has worked on the cutting edge of new music for thirty years.
The Renaissance was not just a rebirth of the mind. It was also a new dawn for the machine.
When we celebrate the achievements of the Renaissance, we instinctively refer, above all, to its artistic and literary masterpieces. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, the Italian peninsula was the stage of a no-less-impressive revival of technical knowledge and practice. In this rich and lavishly illustrated volume, Paolo Galluzzi guides readers through a singularly inventive period, capturing the fusion of artistry and engineering that spurred some of the Renaissance’s greatest technological breakthroughs.
Galluzzi traces the emergence of a new and important historical figure: the artist-engineer. In the medieval world, innovators remained anonymous. By the height of the fifteenth century, artist-engineers like Leonardo da Vinci were sought after by powerful patrons, generously remunerated, and exhibited in royal and noble courts. In an age that witnessed continuous wars, the robust expansion of trade and industry, and intense urbanization, these practitioners—with their multiple skills refined in the laboratory that was the Renaissance workshop—became catalysts for change. Renaissance masters were not only astoundingly creative but also championed a new concept of learning, characterized by observation, technical know-how, growing mathematical competence, and prowess at the draftsman’s table.
The Italian Renaissance of Machines enriches our appreciation for Taccola, Giovanni Fontana, and other masters of the quattrocento and reveals how da Vinci’s ambitious achievements paved the way for Galileo’s revolutionary mathematical science of mechanics.
"The Lives of Machines is intelligent, closely argued, and persuasive, and puts forth a contention that will unsettle the current consensus about Victorian attitudes toward the machine."
---Jay Clayton, Vanderbilt University
Today we commonly describe ourselves as machines that "let off steam" or feel "under pressure." The Lives of Machines investigates how Victorian technoculture came to shape this language of human emotion so pervasively and irrevocably and argues that nothing is more intensely human and affecting than the nonhuman. Tamara Ketabgian explores the emergence of a modern and more mechanical view of human nature in Victorian literature and culture.
Treating British literature from the 1830s to the 1870s, this study examines forms of feeling and community that combine the vital and the mechanical, the human and the nonhuman, in surprisingly hybrid and productive alliances. Challenging accounts of industrial alienation that still persist, the author defines mechanical character and feeling not as erasures or negations of self, but as robust and nuanced entities in their own right. The Lives of Machines thus offers an alternate cultural history that traces sympathies between humans, animals, and machines in novels and nonfiction about factory work as well as in other unexpected literary sites and genres, whether domestic, scientific, musical, or philosophical. Ketabgian historicizes a model of affect and community that continues to inform recent theories of technology, psychology, and the posthuman.
The Lives of Machines will be of interest to students of British literature and history, history of science and of technology, novel studies, psychoanalysis, and postmodern cultural studies.
Cover image: "Power Loom Factory of Thomas Robinson," from Andrew Ure, The Philosophy of Manufactures (London: Charles Knight, 1835), frontispiece.
DIGITALCULTUREBOOKS: a collaborative imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the University of Michigan Library
What do biologists want? If, unlike their counterparts in physics, biologists are generally wary of a grand, overarching theory, at what kinds of explanation do biologists aim? How will we know when we have "made sense" of life? Such questions, Evelyn Fox Keller suggests, offer no simple answers. Explanations in the biological sciences are typically provisional and partial, judged by criteria as heterogeneous as their subject matter. It is Keller's aim in this bold and challenging book to account for this epistemological diversity--particularly in the discipline of developmental biology.
In particular, Keller asks, what counts as an "explanation" of biological development in individual organisms? Her inquiry ranges from physical and mathematical models to more familiar explanatory metaphors to the dramatic contributions of recent technological developments, especially in imaging, recombinant DNA, and computer modeling and simulations.
A history of the diverse and changing nature of biological explanation in a particularly charged field, Making Sense of Life draws our attention to the temporal, disciplinary, and cultural components of what biologists mean, and what they understand, when they propose to explain life.
Mentality and Machines was first published in 1985. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Mentality and Machines — with a new preface and an extended postscript—is a general essay on the philosophy of mind, oriented to philosophical and psychological questions about real as well as imagined, robots and machines. The second edition retains all of the essays from the original book, including Gunderson's influential critique ("The Imitation Game") of A.M. Turing's treatment of the question "Can machines think?" and his controversial distinction between program-receptive and program-resistant aspects of the mind. This edition's postscript includes further reflections on these themes and others, and relates them to recent writings of other philosophers and computer scientists.
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