The Digital Dialectic

The Digital Dialectic

New Essays on New Media

ISBN 9780262278645
320 pp.
February 2000

Content Publisher
The MIT Press

The Digital Dialectic

New Essays on New Media

Computers linked to networks have created the first broadly used systems that allow individuals to create, distribute, and receive audiovisual content with the same box. They challenge theorists of digital culture to develop interaction-based models to replace the more primitive models that allow only passive use. The Digital Dialectic is an interdisciplinary jam session about our visual and intellectual cultures as the computer recodes technologies, media, and art forms. Unlike purely academic texts on new media, the book includes contributions by scholars, artists, and entrepreneurs, who combine theoretical investigations with hands-on analysis of the possibilities (and limitations) of new technology. The key concept is the digital dialectic: a method to ground the insights of theory in the constraints of practice. The essays move beyond journalistic reportage and hype into serious but accessible discussion of new technologies, new media, and new cultural forms.

Contributors: Florian Brody, Carol Gigliotti, N. Katherine Hayles, Michael Heim, Erkki Huhtamo, George P. Landow, Brenda Laurel, Peter Lunenfeld, Lev Manovich, William J. Mitchell, Bob Stein.


  1. Series Foreword
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Contributors
  4. Introduction: Screen Grabs: The Digital Dialectic and New Media Theory

    Peter Lunenfeld

  5. I. The Real and the Ideal
  6. 1. Unfinished Business

    Peter Lunenfeld

  7. 2. The Cyberspace Dialectic

    Michael Heim

  8. 3. The Ethical Life of the Digital Aesthetic

    Carol Gigliotti

  9. II. The Body and the Machine
  10. 4. The Condition of Virtuality

    N. Katherine Hayles

  11. 5. From Cybernation to Interaction: A Contribution to an Archaeology of Interactivity

    Erkki Huhtamo

  12. 6. Replacing Place

    William J. Mitchell

  13. III. The Medium and the Message
  14. 7. The Medium Is the Memory

    Florian Brody

  15. 8. Hypertext as Collage-Writing

    George P. Landow

  16. 9. What Is Digital Cinema?

    Lev Manovich

  17. IV. The World and the Screen
  18. 10. “We Could Be Better Ancestors Than This”: Ethics and First Principles for the Art of the Digital Age

    Bob Stein

  19. 11. Musings on Amusements in America, or What I Did on My Summer Vacation

    Brenda Laurel

  20. Notes
  21. Recommended Readings in New Media Theory
  22. Index