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New Philosophy for New Media


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Hansen's work makes a significant shift by approaching new media through affect and sensation, rather than techniques, forms or aesthetics. His thesis reintroduces reception in a sophisticated way, countering posthuman 'machinism' with a productive notion of the human engaged in an entangled, affective co-evolution with technology. This is an important and invigorating reorientation. -- Mitchell Whitelaw, Lecturer in New Media, University of Canberra New Philosophy for New Media is a major contribution to the question of digital media and art. Unlike too many other writers on the subject, Hansen is able to approach his topic in relation to the most profound efforts of the philosophical tradition and his highly original take on the question is one that recognizes the media specificity of the digital in its novelty while insisting on the continuing importance of the body in the practice of new media art. The book pursues its thesis of the place of the human in face of digitized information in a rigorous, systematic manner. -- Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine New Philosophy for New Media brilliantly theorizes the co-evolution of the human body and the digital technosphere through the radical aesthetic interface provided by new media artworks themselves. Hansen offers a strong, subtle, and ultimately exciting argument that our bodies, brought into contact with the digital in these new ways, experience the virtual. He also vividly testifies to these new experiences of perception and embodiment that emerge in the process: the affects of bewilderment and vertigo, disorientation and irrelevance. -- Kathleen Woodward, Director, Simpson Center for the Humanities, and Professor of English, University of Washington

About the Author

Mark B. N. Hansen is Professor of Literature at Duke University.


"New media" here refers to digital art forms that both act upon the perceiver's physical constraints and provoke the audience to reconstruct aesthetic assumptions. Hansen (English, Princeton Univ.) moves the reader through a grounding history of Henri-Louis Bergson's theory of perception before plunging into a tightly constructed theory of postmodern aesthetics, in which the human body, rather than the human eye, dominates perception. Illustrating his discussions with particular examples of digital art productions-for instance, the presentation rendered by a focused lens that offers both created image and reflection of actual objects-the author underpins each step of his presentation with an impressively Hegelian structure in which traditional aesthetics, contemporary digital experimentation, and the effects of the human on perceiving the new media art are treated. Like the art it treats, this aesthetic theory addresses the concrete as well as the intellectual and metaphoric. This is rich reading for those already grounded in the traditions of Henri Bergson and Suzanne Langer while of concern to artists working on the cutting edges of the digital field as well.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Brilliant and exciting work.... Obligatory reading for anybody interested in the philosophy of technology and its phenomenological dimension, as well as those interested in new media and digital aesthetics. Hansen is an engaging, lucid, and provocative writer.

-Andres Vaccari , Metapsychology

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