Assemblage Theory new materialism speculative rhetoric

what does “theory” mean anymore?

This is a kind of inside-baseball question, I think. For the typical English speaker, theory means something like speculation. In more academic/research contexts, theories are the conceptual basis for the work we do: e.g., a theory of evolution. The OED provides this helpful definition that is closer to what I had in mind as a […]

Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric Posthumanism

the ends of posthuman computer vision

There’s a 2004 video interview of Katherine Hayles conducted by Arthur Kroker for C-Theory, where she discusses How We Became Posthuman, Writing Machines, and My Mother was a Computer. Her 1999 book traces the posthuman back to the beginnings of computers and cybernetics. Considered differently though, posthuman theory as we encounter it gets some start […]

media studies new materialism

a media theory of the nature-culture of space-time

The familiar posthuman natureculture of Haraway and others suggests, in its most basic form, that there is a material history for all things, even the most seemingly fundamental dimensions of space and time. It strikes me as a weird idea to try to grasp. I suppose on the one hand there is the Big Bang […]

Current Affairs electrate politics Second LIfe

I never met a verse…

As I’m guessing you know, Facebook has changed its name to “Meta” and headed out to colonize/discover/create a “metaverse.” It is a vision that at least in part has been propelled by the company’s acquisition of Oculus. What you may or may not know is that the term metaverse was coined by sci-fi author Neal […]

Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric

on pining for virtual fjords

Following up on Ted Underwood’s recent post on the recent article “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?” So yes my post title is a joke, but in my defense, they started it. Very briefly put, this is a conversation about natural language processing. NLP is about the nonhuman-computational processing […]


posthuman computer vision

As I have been writing (albeit infrequently) here, my current interest is with the concept of “posthuman computer vision.” It is apparently a term that is not in wide use. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad news for me from a rhetorical perspective. Obviously computer vision has been a field of research for […]

media studies speculative rhetoric

speculative media archeology

Media archeology is a familiar term even though its history is not so easily traced. Certainly it has to do with philosophical lineages passing through Foucault and Kittler, but that’s only a start. When I started this blog, more than 15 years ago, I subtitled it “an archeology of the future,” in part because the […]

media studies Uncategorized

computer vision, radical media archeology and post humanism

Computer vision is a massive field in computer science. I guess you could say it’s a subfield of AI. If it’s unfamiliar to you (wikipedia), it’s basically about how computers see things. There are many applications for computer vision. How many? Hmmm. Think of the many ways you use your eyes and then multiply that […]

electrate politics

believing in a broken mind hack

There are some broad implications that arise from the assertion of a material-historical (and thus non-essentialist) ontology. For one, humans are not necessary beings but are products of the unfolding of the history of matter, and for another, as a result, none of the qualities that describe humans are necessary either. Nothing about us is. […]

Books digital rhetoric

book publishing in a time of pandemics

I’m reviewing the copyedited version of my book manuscript (still well on pace for a Jan 2022 publication), and I’m thinking of adding a paragraph like the one below, either to the preface or introduction. Probably the preface since that bit has a more personal register. Basically it’s about the fact that the book was […]