Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination / Edition 1

Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination / Edition 1

by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
Pub. Date:
MIT Press

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Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination / Edition 1

In Mechanisms, Matthew Kirschenbaum examines new media and electronic writing against the textual and technological primitives that govern writing, inscription, and textual transmission in all media: erasure, variability, repeatability, and survivability. Mechanisms is the first book in its field to devote significant attention to storage—the hard drive in particular—arguing that understanding the affordances of storage devices is essential to understanding new media. Drawing a distinction between "forensic materiality" and "formal materiality," Kirschenbaum uses applied computer forensics techniques in his study of new media works. Just as the humanities discipline of textual studies examines books as physical objects and traces different variants of texts, computer forensics encourage us to perceive new media in terms of specific versions, platforms, systems, and devices. Kirschenbaum demonstrates these techniques in media-specific readings of three landmark works of new media and electronic literature, all from the formative era of personal computing: the interactive fiction game Mystery House, Michael Joyce's Afternoon: A Story, and William Gibson's electronic poem "Agrippa."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262113113
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 01/31/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: "Awareness of the Mechanism" 1

1 "Every Contact Leaves a Trace": Storage, Inscription, and Computer Forensics 25

2 Extreme Inscription: A Grammatology of the Hard Drive 73

3 "An Old House with Many Rooms": The Textual Forensics of Mystery_House.Dsk 111

4 Save As: Michael Joyce's Afternoons 159

5 Text Messaging: The Transformissions of "Agrippa" 213

Coda: The Forensic Imagination 249

Appendix 261

Works Cited 265

Index 279

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