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Noise Channels

Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture

Peter Krapp
Volume: 37
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsn17
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  • Book Info
    Noise Channels
    Book Description:

    To err is human; to err in digital culture is design. In the glitches, inefficiencies, and errors that ergonomics and usability engineering strive to surmount, Peter Krapp identifies creative reservoirs of computer-mediated interaction. Throughout new media cultures, he traces a resistance to the heritage of motion studies, ergonomics, and efficiency, showing how creativity is stirred within the networks of digital culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7872-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. ix-xx)

    ANALYZING COMPUTER-MEDIATED communication in a series of noisy channels, this study of cultural forms developing around the human–computer interface looks at digital culture through the lens of inefficiencies. Rather than focus on how one might design the most ergonomic interface or engineer trustworthy reciprocity of encoding and decoding under conditions of lossy transmission, this book profiles a digital culture that goes against the grain of efficiency and ergonomics and embraces the reserves that reside in noise, error, and glitch. Digital culture taps reservoirs of creative expression under the conditions of networked computing, despite an apparent trend toward clean interfaces...

  5. 1 HYPERTEXT AND ITS ANACHRONISMS
    (pp. 1-26)

    THE TRANSITION from analog to digital media is perhaps too readily understood as a shift from continuity to fragmentation, from narration to archeology.¹ One might instead view it as a process of translation, because what is completely untranslatable into new media will disappear as fast as what is utterly translatable.² Such threats of disappearance tend to lead to symptomatic cultural formations in a network culture that Tiziana Terranova describes as “characterized by an unprecedented abundance of information output and by an acceleration of informational dynamics,” a dynamic she describes as “the relation between noise and signal, including fluctuation and microvariations,...

  6. 2 TERROR AND PLAY, OR WHAT WAS HACKTIVISM?
    (pp. 27-52)

    AS WE WITNESS numerous government and corporate initiatives around the globe to restrain the free use of networked computers, knowledge and discussion about these and parallel measures are increasingly withdrawn from public discourse. Social power is already so diffuse that Adam Smith’s market metaphor of the invisible hand has become pure nostalgia. Authoritative power is dispersed as global organizations transition from corporations to networks, and citizens of information society are governed less by concentrated coercion and more by ideological power, as manifest in the symbolic practices and norms of cyberspace.¹ But at the same time, media policy is increasingly determined...

  7. 3 NOISE FLOOR: BETWEEN TINNITUS AND RAW DATA
    (pp. 53-74)

    WHAT HAPPENS to music making under the conditions of networked computing? Just what is it that makes the bleeps and clicks of laptop music so different, so appealing? Our digital media culture is predicated on communication efficiencies to an extent that can obscure or veil the sources of noise, as faults, glitches, and bugs are too often relegated to the realm of the accidental. Yet glitch electronica puts precisely this raw material to creative use. Reduction of complexity is a highly successful strategy in the experimental laboratory, in system theory, and thus in many academic disciplines, but it points to...

  8. 4 GAMING THE GLITCH: ROOM FOR ERROR
    (pp. 75-92)

    DON’T WE NEED to write a ludology for losers? Computing culture is predicated on communication and control to an extent that can obscure the domain of the error. Between a hermetically rule-bound realm of programmed necessity and efficient management of the totality of the possible, this book situates a realm of contingency: distortions in the strictest signal-to-noise ratio, glitches and accidents, or moments where the social hierarchy of computer knowledge condescendingly ascribes to “user error” what does not compute. Whether one sees the graphic user interface (GUI) as a Taylorist discipline teaching ergonomic interaction or as yielding to reductions of...

  9. 5 MACHINIMA AND THE SUSPENSIONS OF ANIMATION
    (pp. 93-112)

    MACHINIMA, a portmanteau formachine/cinema,is the recording of ingame action. It is a thriving form of digital animation or filmmaking in real time on the ordinary PC of the creator or viewer, as virtual cameras record performances inside an off-the-shelf game engine, without the need for render farms or other expensive postproduction facilities. Machinima has attracted a lot of attention as the film and game industries work hard on various points of convergence, from cross-promotions to trying out technical and narrative innovations of one in the context of the other. While digital capture, editing, postproduction, and distribution are now...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 113-158)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 159-163)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 164-167)