Presentation by Alan Liu (UC Santa Barbara).
In 1992, at the onset of today’s digital networks, publisher Kevin Begos, Jr., artist Dennis Ashbaugh, and science-fiction novelist William Gibson issued their collaborative artist book Agrippa (a book of the dead), whose last pages contained a self-encrypting, “vanishing” poem on a diskette. The poem went viral on the networks. Starting with a look at Agrippa and The Agrippa Files archive site, this talk speculates on the principles of “network archaeology” needed to extend the contemporary approaches of the “history of the book” and “media archaeology” to past and present media (whether print or digital) that behave as networked phenomena. The talk concludes with a presentation of the RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment) software system being developed on a NEH Digital Humanities Start-up grant (directed by Liu). RoSE models networks of past writers and works on an interactive social-network model.
Alan Liu is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author ofThe Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (2004) and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (2008).