Lit 80, Fall 2013

Author: Craig Bearison Page 1 of 2

Accessing the Mind Slide

Accessing the Mind Presentation


Ebocloud by Rick Moss transports us to a potential future in which one of our generation’s biggest creations, social networks, have continued to develop and grow in influence. In this society, the biggest and best social network is the Ebocloud. It is described in the novel as the anti-Facebook. Whereas Facebook is all about superficial judgments and individual status climbing, Ebocloud by design fosters altruism and group identity. People who sign up for the network are put into ebo families, tribes, where the members refer to themselves as cousins. They communicate with each other using all sorts of mediums, even text messaging and blogging like we have today. The purpose of establishing these close-knit networks is to work with other people to build a better planet (57). This is accomplished by incentivizing good deeds. Kar-merits are given out for accomplishing good deeds and used to establish rankings and elders who get to sit on the cloud council. All sorts of other internal review metrics and variables are factored in to the ranking system and matching people with projects. These checks and redundancies are employed as a means of security and verification, similar to things like Yelp that we have today where it is open to the public for content but there is an internal system of crediting.

As a ‘futuristic’ social network, ebocloud makes use of a lot of technologies people today predict we will have in the future. One of the most interesting and important ideas in the novel is the BCI, brain-computer-interface. In this Ebocloud project, ebocousins will be hooked into ‘computers’ via digital tattoos, dToos, so that knowledge and commands can be shared between people and improve the mechanism for matching cousins with group activities. Ebocloud, and BCI in particular, demonstrate the idea of singularity, bot not exactly the kind of singularity we have talked about before. Singularity in Ebocloud involves the joining of the individual mind to a group collective conscious rather than a computer. For example, the BCI can employ electrical stimulation or neurotransmitter release to manipulate mood, feelings, thoughts, etc. Used across tribes, this will create a network of group feelings that will give us a new language and help us attain global comprehension of objective truth (286). It is all about love for each other. As a class, we were mostly creeped out by this intimate connection to people we had never meet before.

The way Ebocloud supposes to utlilize the brain in its technology is very relevant to my final paper topic. One of my arguments is that in the future we will use brain scans to evaluate people. The physical brain is analyzed to decode thoughts, emotions, etc. In the novel, the BCI began with a big project to map and ‘chart’ the human brain. This information will be used in the BCI to capture the data behind a thought or impression and transmit it to your tribe where they can decode it and experience the associated feelings. Mapping the brain cannot only be used to read minds but the knowledge can also be used to manipulate them.

Brain Imaging

In the past, people understood the mind in terms of dualism as a nonphysical entity, separate from our physical brain. Generally, the brain was still considered responsible for many neurological functions and characteristics, but ‘higher order’ things like consciousness transcended physical basis and existed in the immaterial mind. This theory has since given way to a physicalism view in which the brain itself is the sole basis for mental faculty. People now think of the brain as encoding and being responsible for all mental traits: personality, emotion, skills, intelligence, morals, consciousness, etc. etc. etc. Brain imaging technology has contributed to this notion, as it demystifies the brain and allows people to visualize the brain’s composition and activity.  Importantly, technological innovation in the field of brain imaging has also contributed to the idea that we can not only view brain activity but also analyze and interpret it to make conclusions about the nature of an individual’s brain and, consequently, their characteristics.

fMRI and PET scans are two of the most prominent imaging techniques in neuroscience. They both measure brain activity and display the results as differently colored areas on a cross-sectional view of the brain. The amount of activity across the brain can then be analyzed to make conclusions about brain functioning. This technology has become extremely popular in society because it is able to produce aesthetically pleasing and easily understandable pictures. fMRI and PET scans are being increasingly employed outside of the laboratory to help assess the traits and characteristics of real individuals. For example, in 2010 fMRI made its debut in court where it was used on an accused murderer. The neuroscientist designed tests for his memory and emotions in an attempt to determine pre-mediation. fMRI will soon replace the traditional lie-detector test in the judicial system.

Mainstream applications of these technologies will only increase as time goes on. The government is already working on developing brain imaging technologies as a type of pre-crime tool. For example, the brains of people in a large crowd could all be scanned to look for certain activity or pathways that indicate a predisposition to violence or an extremist belief set that might lead someone to commit a terrorist act.  Additionally, I will make argument that rather than take standardized tests or personality quizzes, kids will just have their brains scanned to be assessed.

This technology and its applications are concerning and problematic because they are largely misunderstood and misinterpreted by non-neuroscientists. Drastic and contrasting colors are used to differentiate between relatively small physiological differences in activity. People are given the impression that there are different brain ‘types’ that correspond to different traits (blue means caring, red means selfish) when really these discrete colors are being used to distinguish differences in a spectrum of activity. The other issue is what these technologies are actually measuring and how irrefutable our current knowledge of the brain actually is. I will discuss this skepticism surrounding the use of brain imaging technology in society.

For my media element, my first step is to compile a large collection of fMRI and PET scans. I plan to use these pictures to create a ‘flip book’ style video. I will order the images so that a blob is growing, shrinking, moving, changing color, etc. in a brain. This will create the effect that the brain is behaving erratically and spontaneously or being ‘attacked’. I will set this to psychedelic music to give the impression of a brain on drugs. Taking the very scientific and serious fMRI images and turning them into a funny art piece serves as a critique against them as a valid scientific measurement of characteristics or traits outside of the laboratory.

The Xenotext Experiment

Christian Bök’s The Xenotext Experiment is an ambitious attempt at harnessing emerging scientific technology to create new forms of artistic work.  Most generally, it is an endeavor to merge the humanities and ‘hard’ sciences. Bök writes about his plan to write a poem and encode it inside of the DNA of a bacterium to create ‘living poetry’. Along with the poem itself, Bök would create a number of supplementary materials and, all together, these would make up the Experiment. Bok is currently the first person to design a microorganism capable of writing a meaningful text in response to an enciphered gene. He is now working on getting a sample of the organism in culture. The purpose of the experiment is to convey the beauty of both poetry and biology and demonstrate potential ways for these fields to interact with each other in the future.

The idea of creating poetry in DNA is similar to a concept we read about earlier this semester, which is using DNA for storage. The article “Book written in DNA code”, published in The Guardian in August of 2012, discusses the first successful attempt at storing the contents of a book in DNA code. Currently, it is very expensive and time consuming to store information in DNA. The book was the largest file ever stored in DNA yet is was only 5.27 MB and it was stored in artificial DNA, not implanted inside of a real cell. However, the article reports that technology is improving rapidly and DNA might be a viable option for storage in the future, citing DNAs extremely efficient storage capacity. So the idea of manipulating DNA to create poetry and other forms of art seems like it will be a possibility sometime soon. Unlike the experiment with the book, The Xenotext Experiment is more than just using DNA to store the information of a text.

The Xenotext Experiment involves generating a poem with the intent in mind to have it stored as DNA sequence and having the molecules and bacteria themselves serve as part of the artwork. In living organisms, DNA and its associated machinery not only store information but also allow for the expression of the messages (protein production). Likewise, part of the The Xenotext Experiment is creating the poem and its cipher in such a way that the sequence containing the poem can be translated into a protein, which is itself another text. This concept is part of the art piece and the elucidation of the aesthetics of biology, having poetry mimic nature. The bacterium is not only the book but the printing press as well and part of the art piece.  As for the content of the poem itself, the topic is about the interaction of language and genetics. This, obviously, seems fitting given that the purpose of the project as a whole involves this relationship. Bök is also constrained in what he can write due to the nature of the media itself. As we learned from The Guardian article, artificially storing information in DNA is not only difficult but complicated and tricky as well. The poem has to be short to avoid a DNA sequence that is excessively lengthy and there might be more specific syntactical and dictional restrictions so as to make the sequence stable and capable of coding for the protein. Bok had to redesign the protein many times before he created one that could accomplish its intended function (in this case glowing a fluorescent green) while maintaining the poem sequence inside a cell. In the successful creation of the poetic cipher gene this year, the protein was able to glow and the poem persisted.

As part of the artwork, different types of images of the DNA, protein, and bacteria will be included in the piece. There are many imaging techniques in biology for visualizing organic structures, many of which produce aesthetically pleasing pictures. Bök plans to take advantage of this fact by including artwork of the compounds and in this way adopting the chemical foundation of the media as fine art. As we learned from our discussion with Jussi Parikka and Drew Burk a few weeks ago, the physical features of books are part of the experience of reading a book. The design of the cover, the type of binding, texture of the paper, and font/margins of the page are all attributes of the media and contribute to the message. In this new medium that Bök is envisioning, characteristics of the media again influence the message. Different poems and different coding schemes result in distinct DNA sequences that look different and create different proteins. Also, the choice of imaging techniques could be utilized by the author to establish styles and generate certain impressions, just like a painting can. Along with images of the products, Bök also plans to cover the scientific side of the Experiment as well by producing charts, graphs, outlines of the results, and an explanation of the chemical cipher.

The Xenotext Experiment is not just a written or digital text compilation of all of the documentations of this living poetry project. For example, Bök intends to organize an art exhibit with enlarged copies of the photos and charts, thereby creating a space for a discourse about the topic. One such tool Bök is already employing is a ball and stick model of his protein from a plastic model kit. The 3d protein sculpture has already made appearances in art exhibits. Bök also intends to publish a poetic manual at the end of the project detailing the text of the poem and including many of the pieces such as the chemical alphabet of the cipher, photos, and the scientific data. One cool plan Bök has is to include a slide with a sample of the bacteria with every book for the reader to examine. Providing an actual copy of the organism would enhance the affect of the poem by providing a tangible three-dimensional object for the reader to inspect and help the artwork resonate.

Picture of the protein sculpture on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver

Picture of the protein sculpture on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver

A final thing to consider is whether or not The Xenotext Experiment qualifies as electronic literature and if it even matters. On page x of the Read Me in Hayles’ Electronic Literature: New Horizons For the Literary, she says “electronic literature can be understood as a practice that mediates between human and machine cognition…” (Hayles x).  If we understand this statement with a broad definition of machine, including biological ‘machinery’ as a type of machine and not just interpreting it to mean computers, then I think this piece certainly counts as electronic literature. The Xenotext Experiment takes a human conception, poetry and other types of art, and puts it in biological terms. Hayles also comments that electronic literature is tied to the evolution of digital computers, just as print books were tied to the evolution of printing. Although existing in a biological and not computer form, ‘living poetry’ is dependent on and tied to digital computers for its creation and visualization so I believe The Xenotext Experiment fits this condition as well.

Currently, molecular biology and the arts are seen as exclusive fields of study and The Xenotext Experiment is an attempt to combat that notion. These two areas can be combined to create a multidisciplinary medium capable of transmitting information in an entirely new way. Additionally, this ‘living poetry’ makes arguments about both of these fields as well. Namely, biology can be art and poetry can employ technology and scientific principles.

Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons For the Literary. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2008.


Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba was the first graphic novel I have ever read in my life and it was an overall great experience. Based on the nature of the medium itself, at first the narrative seemed choppy and was hard for me to follow, giving me a headache in the process. However, I became more comfortable with how to read a graphic novel by the end of the first chapter and was able to fully appreciate the book. The illustrations (which are beautiful) of course make the task of picturing the scene in your head much easier and more vivid. They also streamline the text, allowing the reader to focus more on the dialogue of the story. Getting to actually see the facial expression on the characters’ faces combined with the focus on dialogue in graphic novels provides the same or maybe better type of characterization a real novel would accomplish through describing thoughts or expressions. This is another example of different media being able to transmit the same message through different means, to different affects.

One concept Daytripper plays around with a lot, which we have discussed a lot in our class, is time. The novel jumps around between important scenes in Bras’s life, not in chronological order. Many scenes also include flashbacks to earlier points in Bras’ life, in some cases these flashbacks include new information from events described in previous segments. Although not in chronological order, the sequencing of the scenes is clearly deliberate and extremely effective at building up tension and suspense. Throughout the novel, characters refer to things from the past that the reader doesn’t know yet but which are covered in later chapters, from earlier times. For example, in the first chapter Bras’s mom refers to him as her little miracle and Bras and Jorge reminisce about the time they spent in Salvador. The reader is left wondering what these things mean until they are both covered extensively in later chapters.

Apart from building suspense, the manipulation of time also serves to highlight one of the major themes of the book, which is figuring out the important things in life. The most important things in life are the meaningful relationships and the moments that form and build those relationships. All of the segments of Bras’s life shown involve him meeting those closest to him or in some way building upon those relationships. The skipping around through those moments makes the reader realize that these are the most important ones in a person’s life. Getting your first kiss, meeting your best friend in college, your first love, your first boring job, meeting your future wife, the birth of your child, and then the birth of your grandchildren. These moments are what matter in life and Daytripper presents this message in a beautiful manner with an engaging story and interesting progression.

Discussion with Jussi Parikka

After reading the article “The Geology of Media”, published in The Atlantic, and Chapter 1 of Media Archeology this week, we had the opportunity to meet with author Jussi Parikka and other scholars on Friday to discuss media archeology. One of the main themes of our conversation was the importance of the nature of a medium. The physical essence of a medium and the process by which it is made are very important and often influence the messages sent through them. One clear example of this, which we have discussed previously this semester, is print vs. digital books. We had all agreed that it is easier to study and memorize things with a physical copy. As I learned today, there are even book subcategories within print vs. digital and each one can produce a unique experience.

Different techniques for printing/publishing books over varying time periods result in distinct types of books. The tactile sensations and look of the books themselves depend on the process and influence the message. One exciting story we heard about today was a digital copy of a book written over a hundred years ago that is going to be physically printed in a similar manner to how it was originally produce. This reverse translation from digital to old methods to create the facsimile is being done in part to make a statement that sometimes the process of making can be more important than the end result. To this point, we heard an example about an aborigine style of art focused on the form and not the product. With its focus on the material manifestations of culture, media archeology provides a great framework for critical analysis of such forms and practices. This theme also relates to the ways in which we have critiqued digital media thus far. Video games are a particularly apt example of how media impact the message. Due to how interactive and flexible they are, they are capable of doing unique things other media cannot.

Another big talking point from our discussion was that no matter what discipline, everyone should consider the physical and ecological impact of a situation as an ethical obligation. We think of data and the internet as virtual, but there is a physical basis. A cloud is not just a cloud, there has to be physical storage for all of it. Parikka provided us with the anecdote of the old paper mill on the river near his hometown in Finland that has since been turned into a Google data center. It is almost inconceivable to us that data needs to be cooled, but it in fact does have substance. This is problematic because the substances of modern technologies are often toxic chemicals. The environment is something we have really only discussed in this class in the context of the novels we have read, Neuromancer and The Difference Engine. In The Difference Engine, the proliferation of new technologies resulted in a very polluted environment. The environmental concerns in our society today are very real and since the creation of media is contributing to these problems, there is a role for ecological concerns in media archeology.

One of the most thought provoking ideas from our discussion was the concept of accidentality. The theory is that whether a media takes off or becomes obsolete is determined largely by accident. The example given was that text messaging initially became popular in Europe simply because the phone companies made it cheaper than phone calls, not necessarily for any reason having to do with the benefits of the technology itself. As we explore new topics as the semester continues to progress, I think it might be interesting to consider in each case that whatever technology we discuss only came in to existence by accident.

The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine, written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, was first published in 1990 and has become one of the most famous steampunk novels. The novel is set (for the most part) in a reimagined 1855 in which Charles Babbage had succeeded in building a Difference Engine and technological innovation exploded rapidly thereafter. Within this premise, Gibson and Sterling created an extremely interesting world, radically different from what we know actually happened. As events unfold throughout this book, the reader is constantly made to think about how technology influences society by comparing what we know to have happened (or learned by Googling something every other page) and what we are exposed to in this society by following Sybil, Mallory, and Oliphant. Above all, The Difference Engine is concerned with how technology influences society and shapes the way we live our daily lives.

The actual plot of the novel gets overshadowed by the crazy setting and all of other things going on in this 19th Century computer/mechanical age. It is hard to care about the ‘heist’ aspect involving the punch cards when there are so many interesting things going on in the world around them. One of the biggest historical changes in the novel is that Lord Byron did not die in the war in Greece and became the leader of the Industrial Radical Party, “the rads”, which came to power. The new technology created in the wake of the difference engine often times resemble things that were eventually developed in the real 20th century. One of the coolest technologies in the book is the kinotrope. The kinotrope is like a television in that it shows moving scenes using tiny pixels that change color. Like the other technologies in this book, the klinotrope is, of course, mechanical and not digital. Tiny cubes serve as the pixels and are physically spun using power from a steam engine. The ‘film’ is preprogrammed using punch cards. I found a good explanation of this fictional technology here.

The novel also does a great of explaining how these technologies are utilized in society, again often mirroring how their correlates are used in our world. The kinotrope is employed by Sam Houston to enhance the dramatic impression of his speech and engage the audience. As Houston is retelling the story about a battle he fought against Indians, a recreation of the battle is being shown on the Kinotrope. The screen is also programmed to show fictitious designs. As Houston transitions from talking about happily getting married to talking about tragedy, the State Seal is shown getting covered in a menacing darkness. As we touched on in class, this is an example of film being used as propaganda. The film is used to influence the audience’s impression of his story. One funny thing I noticed in this scene is that Sybil becomes bored and even has to hold back a yawn during the battle scene. I think this might be a critique by Gibson and Sterling of how desensitized to violence our society is in the digital age because of simulated violence.

The Difference Engine also raises questions on how technologies and their social implications might influence our morals, values, and interests. In this fictitious society, the fine arts have mostly fallen by the wayside. In one scene, Mallory is puzzled by why somebody would be interested in such a strange topic when he is asked about famous poets. In the same scene, common morality is thrown in to question when Mallory gets called a bigot for being anti-slavery. The Marquess explains that it would be cruel to “pack poor Jupiter off to one of those fever-ridden jungles in Liberia!” when he can now read poetry and write (Gibson and Sterling 342). The societal changes brought about by revolutionary technologies even shifts our point-of-view and morality. The theme of technology infiltrating all facets of society and transcending set purposes (repurposing) is something we have seen throughout this class and will continue to see.

Gibson, William, and Bruce Sterling. The Difference Engine. New York: Random House, Inc., 1990.

Neuromancer 1st Paragraph, Reformated

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-Lord Israel Ladybird

Is literature data?

Like most of the tough questions we have attempted to tackle so far this semester, I think the answer is both yes and no when it comes to the issue is literature data. The first thing that needs to be done when addressing this question is defining what exactly we mean when we say data. Our discussion in class today revealed that there is even some discrepancy amongst ourselves about how we should define data in this context. I think  data in this consideration should refer to information (raw material) that is capable of being inputted into an algorithm, or in other ways be systematically processed, so that generalized conclusions about a set can be reached.

I think the Google Books services alone are enough to prove that literature must to some extent be data. Digitizing books has allowed Google to analyze large amounts of literature in complex ways, revealing all kinds of interesting trends. One of the more basic examples, which we have talked about extensively in class, is the Ngram Viewer. Ngram quantifies writing and allows users to investigate the frequency of a word’s usage in books over time. This tool is useful because it can assist in analyzing all sorts of historical events and trends. However, Ngram is really only turning words in isolation into data, not literature per se.

The forensic analysis of J.K. Rowling’s secret book provides better examples of how literature is data. Two forensic linguistic experts examined the book in question, one of Rowling’s known works, and three other British crime novels and then compared the results. They used a generic word frequency test, similar in idea to Ngram. However, the experts also employed more complex tests such as ones focusing on concepts and syntactical style. The ability to run literary elements like these through a computer algorithm is evidence enough for me that literature has to be thought of as data in ways. This kind of technology could augment scholarship in the future by giving us the potential to assign new sorts of quantified characteristics to writers. For example, rather than just saying, “this writer is known for his gloomy style, long prose, etc etc” we will be able to say, “this writer falls into this particular category because he uses this certain arrangement of related words with x frequency”.

At the same time, I don’t think that computers will ever be capable of fully analyzing the more sophisticated elements of good literature. Computers might become good predictors of symbolism, for example, just by analyzing past associations and running probabilities. But they will never be able to output anything that can represent the aesthetics and more intangible qualities and emotions of deep writing or poetry.

Game(r) Critique

The digital era has produced many new ways for people to receive, transmit, and interpret all types of data, ideas, experiences, etc. These new tools, such as television and more recently the internet, have drastically and forever changed our perspective and even how we think about information and its dissemination. Given the extent and magnitude of their societal affects, these digital age media have been the subject of critical analysis both positive and negative. Since digital age mediums largely serve as replacements for print material, critiques on them tend to focus on how they work in comparison to their print correlates and their affects on us as humans. Video games are no exception to this trend. Like other digital forms, video games are now woven in to our society as a valid medium for information exchange worthy of scholarly consideration.

Digital media allows for easier navigation through data when compared to print, which is limited to elements like footnotes and tables of contents. Additionally, digital interfaces also create the possibility of influencing how information is perceived by individuals and, consequently, what it is taken to mean (Hayles 4). Simple tools like hyperlinks and page tabs contribute to this affect, but it is features like layout/design flexibility, video, and animation that make digital media distinct from traditional print. They are able to accomplish things that more traditional media cannot by nature of their design. With this definition in mind, video games are a medium of their own because they can make unique contributions other media cannot.

Bogost argues that  “we can understand the relevance of a medium by looking at the variety of things it does” (Bogost 3). Subtracting the word relevance from the above statement, I agree that looking at what the medium does is certainly the best way to understand it. I also agree with Bogost’s later critique of McLuhan’s suggestion that we look at properties of a medium and ignore individual messages. He writes, “Instead of ignoring it, we ought to explore the relationships between the general properties of a medium and the particular situations in which it is used” (Bogost 5). I think this advice about what it means to ‘look at what the medium does’ is particularly relevant for video games. It might be easy to get caught up in the abstract or technical aspects of video games when talking about their potential. However, as a popular phenomenon, what video games are actually being used to do in society matters too. It is important to be realistic.

The message and content of polarizing and wildly successful video games like Grand Theft Auto certainly influence how video games are perceived in society and can influence the trajectory of the medium’s development, usage, and purposes. Regardless of whether or not the argument that these games are harming children in whatever ways holds any merit, this belief can damage the credibility of video games as a legitimate way of distributing or generating knowledge worthy of scholarly examination. The belief that video games are just for entertainment is already common and it might prevent the critical study that video games deserve. This notion is being combated by the recent growth in educational or fitness games. On the ‘properties of the medium’ side of the analysis, the creation of more interactive systems, like the Nintendo Wii, have helped popularize this trend. Regardless, it is a shame that people are taking this black and white approach to video games as useful and serious or useless and for entertainment because games like Grand Theft Auto offer many interesting areas for inquiry. Even if these games have no instructional value, one reason they are still worth studying is because of the interpassivity or surrogate self that exists in these role-playing games. Interpassivity serves to provide emotion transfer/extension and also an opportunity for self-creation/editing/exploration by proxy (Wilson 4). What does it mean that this is occurring within the context of a hyperviolent and unrealistic environment? Perhaps video games are serving as an outlet for some sort of built up rage or need for violence that some people might have. One reason video games are worth studying is because they can help us better understand the human psyche.

Returning to the issue of how to assess the relevance of the medium, I think this can only be done by points of comparison. What can video games do that other media cannot or what do video games by nature do better than other media. One example we talked about in class was the ethical dilemma presented by the game The Company of Myself. In this game, the player must kill his wife in order to advance and ultimately beat the game.  Perhaps due to the surrogate self affect, all of us hesitated at this point in the game and had to think about if we actually wanted to kill wives and if there was any other way to advance. We all eventually decided to kill her and move on; it became an issue of our lives versus someone else’s life and we all chose self-preservation. While over simplified, this example makes it easy to see how video games can be used to simulate and start conversations about ethical situations in ways that other media cannot. This is valuable because simulating real world scenarios can be a useful tool for learning or assessment. Although not REALLY a game (more like a short animation), Passage provided an interesting and unique way of representing concepts like free will. The player only has the option of moving forward in life and has no control over what happens to him. The character eventually dies with no explanations or meaningful occurrences. Video games allow for all new ways of presenting information and ideas. Studying video games will allow us to better understand which techniques work the best and thereby allow us to increase their effectiveness as teaching tools.

A lot of what video games do is remediation. They take bits of representation from other media and repurpose them to populate the game (Wark 32). As we saw in the above examples, this remediation is still valuable because often the video game format can be a better form of representation and allows for new nuances of the material to be uncovered. However, I think that as video games are becoming more sophisticated, we are moving beyond video games as just remediation of old data. Video games are now able to create and display new types of data inconceivable in other media. For example, another advantage of video games we discussed in class was their ability to play with space and time better than other media. The game Portal made us manipulate space in ways we would never consider otherwise and Braid played with our understanding of time. While it could be argued that films like Inception are equally as capable of making us consider time and space in new ways, I don’t think films as a medium can quite match video games when it comes to manipulating senses because of the active engagement involved. Video games are definitely a medium of their own and should be studied to learn more about ourselves and to learn new ways to improve ourselves.


Bogost, Ian. How To Do Things With Video Games. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2011.

Hayles, Katherine. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2012.

Wark, McKenzie. Gamer Theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007.

Wilson, Laetitia. “Interactivity or Interpassivity: A Question of Agency in Digital Play.”Fine Art Forum 17.8 (2009)

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