An Annotated Bibliography.

A annotated bibliography of a number of interesting and useful texts.

1. Bergo, C,. (2014). The Poetics of Female Death: the fetishization and reclaiming of the female corpse in Modern and Contemporary Art. Graduate. University of New South Wales.

This paper references Bataille and Krauss and addresses voyeurism and the fetishisation of female death. The paper outlines how historical and contemporary images by men of female death are erotic due to the passivity of the corpse. Whereas, although depictions of male death by male artists can be given meanings such as heroism, they are not erotic. The paper states that female images of female death cannot be voyeuristic spectacles because the depicted figures are beings and not objects. Therefore the image of female death, for female artists, can be a voice for a female discourse on the female body.

2. Brusentsov, N; Ramil Alvarez, J. (2011). Ternary Computers: The Setun and the Setun 70’, [downloadable PDF] Available Via HAL archives-ouvertes.fr. https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01568401 Petrozavodsk, Russia.

This is a short and focussed conference paper delivered at Moscow State University in 2011. An interesting paper and relevant to my research in that it enables an entry point to understanding ternary computing. The paper explains to an extent “the dialogue system of structured programming” with trits and trytes, instead of bits and bytes, and -1, 0, +1 instead of binary 01 language. The paper is in five parts and addresses in turn the idea of ternary computing, the economics of Setun’s internal architecture, symmetry in ternary mathematics, the development of the Setun 70 and the Setun 70 & automatism.

3. Dill, K.E; Thill, K.P., (2007) Video Game Characters and the Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions, Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media.

A presentation of data from two studies designed by the authors. They wished to prove that video game stereotypes detrimentally affect the gender perceptions of young people. In Study 1 video game magazines were analysed and determined that 82.6% of male images were aggressive and a third of these were hyper-masculine. Females were under-represented in the top selling magazines and were sexually objectified. Study 2 questioned teenagers about game characters and showed overwhelmingly that male characters are aggressive and female characters are sexualised, concluding that extreme stereotyping is employed in video games, males as aggressors and females as objects.

4. Günther, G., ‘Cybernetics and the Transition from Classical to Trans-Classical Logic’, BCL Report 3, November 1965, Biological Computer Laboratory, University of Illinois.

I was drawn to this article as it contains various mathematical diagrams that I connected visually with (post)structuralist diagrams, such as those used by Krauss to describe expansion. I am interested in investigating this connection to discover if this is my interpretation or if there exists a valid academic precedent. I found this article difficult with its authoritative scientific manner. However, it does describe the differences between classical logic (binary) and trans-classical logic (non-binary) in a scientific and non philosophical way. This has facilitated the understanding of this branch of logic as it is clear and clinical in description.

5. Harvey, A; Amyn, M,. (2018). ‘The Realtime Art Manifesto 12 Years Later’ in Foulston, M, Volsing K,. (2018). Videogames: Design / Play / Disrupt. London: V&A Publications, pp. 90 – 97.

‘The Realtime Art Manifesto 12 Years Later’ is the seventh chapter of the book ‘Videogames: Design / Play / Disrupt’ which accompanies the exhibition at the V&A.  I am interested in the text as part of my search for spaces or platforms for unheard voices. Harvey and Samyn are collaborative artists making art-videogames. They launched their Realtime Manifesto in 2006 at the Athens Mediaterra Festival of Art and Technology. The text concerns the review of their manifesto which set out an optimistic creative usage of digital space. This paper ends negatively describing their disillusionment of the reemergence of corporate broadcast models.

6. Joyce, C., (2003). Carl Einstein in documents and his collaboration with Georges Bataille. Philadelphia: Xlibris.

Carl Einstein (1885-1940) was an anarchic art historian who has become prominent since the journal ‘Documents’ (1929-1930) became of concern to academics such as Dawn Ades and Rosalind Krauss who were interested in Documents and Einstein’s working relationship with Georges Bataille and their influence on Surrealism. Further interest in Einstein focussed on enabling the understanding of Formalism as a revolt. I admire Einstein’s quiet rebellion against the art, culture and politics of interwar central Europe. This book compares the intellectual rebellion of Einstein with the ‘unknowledge’ of Bataille. Joyce does this with diagrams and linguistics which I find particularly interesting.

7. Kallman, H.J., (1986) A Commodore 64-based experimental psychology laboratory. Albany: State University of New York.

An interesting example of how the C64, BASIC programming and simple HAL Lab games began to significantly change the way research was undertaken in the field of psychology. It is an experimental scientific report showing technology was as interesting in scientific arenas as it was in creative ones. It describes cross over between fields, with music programmes used to gather data along with using the first graphics tablet, a Koala graphics pad, to record responses to visual stimuli. The limitations of the C64 are discussed against advantages such as the increased productivity when interfaces, such as the Koala, were employed.

8. Lakoff, R., ‘Language and a woman’s place’, Language in Society, Vol.2, No.1, Apr 1973, pp. 45-80.

This 45 year old text has relevance although somewhat self-reflective with personal opinion. The author does clarify this at the outset, she explains that because of a lack of scholarly evidence and research she needed to use her personal reflections. Lakoff sets out how our use of language implies women are less significant than men. Fundamentally because our language has different engendered words for the same thing, example bachelor (free with choices) and spinster (alone, unchosen) there is a culturally understood difference between male and female. Lakoff calls for further research into the cultural effect of language on gender roles.

9. Noyes Vanderpoel, E., (2018). Color Problems, A Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color. New York: The Circadian Press with Sacred Bones Books.

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel (1842-1939) is a largely overlooked artist and writer. Her first book (1901) contained beautiful diagrams to describe the science of colour theory and charted objects she deconstructed using colour analysis. She deployed ‘the Grid’ long before it became a stage for formalism. The extent of her influence on early modernist aesthetics is unknown and the reprinting of her first book is an attempt to instate Vanderpoel as a visionary who influenced minimalism and formalism. I am interested in her forgotten voice and her early use of the grid as a method of studying colour as visual language.

10. Rumold, Rainer. (2004). ‘Painting as a Language. Why Not? Carl Einstein in Documents’. October 107, 2004, pp. 75-94.

This paper was published in ‘October’ and as such is authoritative and uses dense, obtuse language, but also it is well researched and reliable as commentary on Carl Einstein. The document outlines what Rumold surmises is Einstein’s paradoxical experience of early modernism (1920s) being a critic of the avant-garde whilst fundamentally involved in the avant-garde. He suggests that Einstein was dissatisfied with modernism’s structuralist position within the unconscious and a critic of modernist subjugation of the unconscious through structural linguistics. The paper characterises Einstein as Postmodern (in 1929) because of his moves to overthrow the elite by being consciously underdeveloped.

11. Weatherby, L., ‘Hegel 2.0 – The imaginary history of ternary computing’, Cabinet Issue 65 Knowledge, Winter 2018, pp. 33-42

In this scholarly yet accessible article Weatherby positions American Cybernetics against Soviet. Although pioneers in both countries were working towards ternary computing, their philosophies were at odds. The soviet programme existed during Kruschev’s thaw where efficiency was key, the American concerned with more metaphysical outcomes. The article is divided into two parts. The first considers binary oppositions and the second trans-classical logic. The paper addresses how we might understand computing in dialectical Hegelian terms or how we might understand a digital space where the real and the imaginary combine. It suggests that a metaphysical non-binary digital space warrants further research.

12. Zinman, G., (2016), ‘The Archival Silences of Nam June Paik’s Etude’, Computing Frontiers, Orphans X Film Symposium 2016, Georgia Tech.

In this text Zinman presents an ‘unknown’ work by Nam June Paik which he himself discovered in the archives of the Smithsonian called ‘Etude’ made in 1967. Zinman suggests that this particular work is key in rethinking our relationship with the digital and our digital past. Etude was discovered outside of its original context and seen for the first time fifty years after it was made. Paik is no longer alive to explain the work, therefore it is down to critics and audiences today to infer the works’ meaning within our current digital context, a digital context distinct from 1967.

Critical Analysis of Weatherby, L., ‘Hegel 2.0 – The imaginary history of ternary computing’, Cabinet Issue 65 Knowledge, Winter 2018, pp. 33-42

‘Hegel 2.0 – The imaginary history of ternary computing’ is a short article written by Leif Weatherby, who writes about digital theory and idealism. A reason for choosing this text is because the article was published in this quarters edition of ‘Cabinet’ and is therefore very current. The article is divided into two parts and I have chose to address the first. The text ends with a discussion about trans-classical logic. However the first section I find more interesting because of the discussion about binary oppositions in computing. Weatherby suggests that a ternary computing, rather than the binary computing we use, has the capacity to provide a meta-physical space. Through a clear and logical text Weatherby locates American Cybernetics in the 1950’s and 60’s in opposition to their Soviet counterparts. He describes how both sides were building the first ternary computers, although for seemingly very different reasons. The soviet programme was motivated by efficiency reflecting the political climate of the era under Kruschev. American concerns, states Weatherby, were more metaphysical. He goes on to relate the short history of ternary computing, whereby binary computing being easier and cheaper to produce, investment was removed from the ternary projects in America. Similarly in Russia, Kruschev introduced the German IBM computing standards, which stopped any further research into ternary computing.

When discussing metaphysics and ternary computing Weatherby applies Hegelian terms of dialectical thought to describe a digital space where the real and the imaginary combine. For instance he describes ternary computing in the following terms: Binary = 1 and 0, Ternary = 1, 0, -1 or thesis, antithesis, synthesis. With this he intimates the space for the thinking computer, or the ability for the computer to negate or contradict its own logic, in other words, artificial intelligence.

This does sound rather far-fetched, and although written elegantly, the Hegelian application does seem a little engineered. All arguments put forward are referenced and supported by research which validates the text as philosophical reasoning rather than in any practical or technical application.

The construction of ternary logic mechanisms that Weatherby set out in his paper interest me not because of the potential discussions of the viability of artificial intelligence, moreover my interest is in the possibility provided by thinking of computing in ternary terms. It intrigues me because of the notion that within a logic system there is the possibility of slippage. By slippage I mean in the way Bois and Krauss use slippage in texts like L’informe mode d’Emploi. They praise Georges Bataille as a major proponent of slippage. What is interesting here is Bataille fought against Hegel preferring a non-dialectical conceptual approach.

“For Bataille, there is no third term, but rather an ‘alternating rhythm’ of homology and heterology, of appropriation and excretion. Each time that the homogeneous raises its head and reconstitutes itself (which it never stops doing since society coheres only by means of its cement, the job if the informe, base materialism, and scission is to decapitate it. What is at stake is the very possibility of a non dialectical materialism: matter is heterogenous; it is what cannot be tamed by any concept.”(1)

Although is more contemporary writing Krauss is contradictory as she uses the idea of slippage in a psychoanalytical appraisal of modernism, demonstrating a continual antithesis and synthesis of an established logic, or the thesis of modernism.

Slippage (or the informe) though seems too fluid in the case of ternary computing as Weatherby seems to intimate. The movement implied by ternary computing opens the possibility of space, creative space, but in not a freefall or in chaos. So, if not slippage, then perhaps the tectonic is more appropriate. Carl Einstein’s theory of the tectonic was a more grounded version of formlessness, or slippage. For instance, rather than a primitive and base unconscious, Einstein’s was a theory that existed in the consciously underdeveloped. A rather more grounded and positive outlook on the formless.

Linking Hegel to Einstein through ternary computing is not implausible. Einstein used Hegel to analyse Picasso, and ideas of dialectical logic to analyse Klee. Einstein’s tectonic can be described as mapping reason onto the real, the real being the unreasonable, which makes the real a fiction.

“Every reality is merely a section that is continually replaced and displaced. Hence there is a constant and simultaneous construction of counter-realities, so that the real needs to be understood as a pluralistic complex. In actual fact, beyond a reality that has been fixed there exists a sphere of permanent creation and metamorphosis, that is, of the continuous revolt against the imposed world picture.”(2)

Weatherby calls for more research into the metaphysical possibilities of ternary computing and is clear that he is proposing an idea, and not stating a coherent theory.

One thing that needs to be clarified through further research is the understanding of ternary computing terms of 1, 0, -1. According to Connelly, “Ternary computing deals with three discrete states, but the ternary digits themselves can be defined in different ways”.(3) These are 1,0,-1 known as ‘balanced trinary’, 0,1,2 ‘unbalanced trinary, 0, ½, 1 ‘fractional unbalanced trinary, F?T unknown-state logic and T, F, T trinary coded binary. This opens up possibilities, firstly understanding what these mean, and how they affect Weatherby’s proposal that ternary computing has the capacity to provide a metaphysical space.

In summary, this article is both intriguing and frustrating. It is written by an established academic who writes with conviction in a readable and well reasoned way. But also it does not provide the answers to the questions it poses through the proposal that ternary computing offers a space for creativity and philosophy.

References:

  1. Bois, Y, A; Krauss, R., (1997) Formless a User’s Guide. New York: Zone Books
  2. Zeidler, S., (2010). ‘Form as revolt: Carl Einstein’s philosophy of the real and the work of Paul Klee’. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, (57/58), 229-263. Accessed via http://www.jstor.org/stable/25769981
  3. Brown, D, S., (2017). ‘Why not ternary computers?’. Technopedia. Accessed via http://www.techopedia.com/why-not-ternary-computers/2/32427Brown, D, S., (2017). ‘Why not ternary computers?’. Technopedia. Accessed via http://www.techopedia.com/why-not-ternary-computers/2/32427

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s