Phantasmal Media An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression

ISBN-10: 0262019337
ISBN-13: 9780262019330
Edition: 2013
Authors: D. Fox Harrell
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Description: In Phantasmal Media, D. Fox Harrell considers the expressive powerof computational media. He argues, forcefully and persuasively, that the great expressive potentialof computational media comes from the ability to construct and reveal phantasms --  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/8/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 440
Size: 7.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 2.486
Language: English

In Phantasmal Media, D. Fox Harrell considers the expressive powerof computational media. He argues, forcefully and persuasively, that the great expressive potentialof computational media comes from the ability to construct and reveal phantasms -- blends ofcultural ideas and sensory imagination. These ubiquitous and often-unseen phantasms -- cognitivephenomena that include sense of self, metaphors, social categories, narrative, and poetic thinking-- influence almost all our everyday experiences. Harrell offers an approach for understanding anddesigning computational systems that have the power to evoke these phantasms, paying specialattention to the exposure of oppressive phantasms and the creation of empowering ones. He argues forthe importance of cultural content, diverse worldviews, and social values in computing. Theexpressive power of phantasms is not purely aesthetic, he contends; phantasmal media can express andconstruct the types of meaning central to the human condition.Harrell discusses,among other topics, the phantasm as an orienting perspective for developers; expressiveepistemologies, or data structures based on subjective human worldviews; morphic semiotics (buildingon the computer scientist Joseph Goguen's theory of algebraic semiotics); cultural phantasms thatinfluence consensus and reveal other perspectives; computing systems based on cultural models;interaction and expression; and the ways that real-world information is mapped onto, andinstantiated by, computational data structures.The concept of phantasmal media,Harrell argues, offers new possibilities for using the computer to understand and improve the humancondition through the human capacity to imagine.

D. Fox Harrell is Associate Professor of Digital Media at MIT.

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