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The Arc and the MachineNarrative and New Media$
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Caroline Bassett

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719073427

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719073427.001.0001

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‘Beautiful patterns of bits’: cybernetics, interfaces, new media

‘Beautiful patterns of bits’: cybernetics, interfaces, new media

(p.43) 2 ‘Beautiful patterns of bits’: cybernetics, interfaces, new media
The Arc and the Machine

Caroline Bassett

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores how the connections between technology and culture have been drawn — and may be drawn — in relation to new media technologies. One key issue here is how and why newly introduced information technologies are so often perceived to be powerful or transformative, able to create new cultural forms and practices, remediate others, and render others still entirely irrelevant — and why they so often disappoint. The first sections of the chapter consider this issue, exploring the interplay between innovation and determination, and showing how the circuit as a whole has a certain ideological force. It concludes by suggesting that these circuits of reception and acculturation temper the critical and popular reception new media technologies receive. The middle sections of the chapter go on to suggest that this dynamic also conditions ways in which developments in the history of information technology are understood within cultural theory. The final sections of the chapter bring the arguments about the relationship between technology and culture up to the present. It explores the contemporary techno-cultural climate, considering various ways in which information technology is understood within the contemporary constellation.

Keywords:   technology, culture, new media technologies, information technology, innovation, determination

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