Monday, November 5, 2007

M/C Journal 'error' Issue Now Available

M/C - Media and Culture is proud to present issue five in volume ten of

M/C Journal

'error' - Edited by Mark Nunes

In an age of information, utopia takes the form of an error-free world of efficient processing and clean transmission. Signals reproduce. Codes replicate. Communication crosses channels uncorrupted and pure. But something slips away or refuses to compute. Replication falters, introducing variance; the process wobbles, introducing deviation. Signal and noise merge and reverse.

Error marks the errant, the erratic - a heading that leads us astray. Is there not, then, something seductive in error as it draws us off our path of intention, interrupting the course of goals, objectives, and outcomes and pulling us toward the unintended and unforeseen?

Six Sigma black belts revive the Taylorist dream of absolute efficiency, streamlined processes, and waste-free production. And what could be more efficient than a system that provides a response before a query is formed, as commercial websites now aim to provide consumers with purchase suggestions based on a well-worn, algorithmic path of profiles and predictable results? But what happens when error occurs? What happens when the algorithm returns an errant result, leading the user off this path from source to receiver? "Noise" and "error" refuse to signify, and as such, they threaten to disrupt the cybernetic regime of efficiency and maximum performance. Error marks a rupture of signification that lays bare the dispersive and dissipative structures of an informatic society.

The aberrant marks a similar moment, a deviation that is decidedly off the path, an error in gender and generation. Every mutation marks an "error" in reproduction - and every production that is not a reproduction is erratic, "off the mark." Outliers - the statistical abject - are "throw-aways", errant events that occur out of field and out of genre. Yet it is the materially and informatically abject form that, by ceasing to signify within a system, marks an opening, a poiesis. This asignifying poetics of "noise," marked by these moments of errant information, simultaneously refuses and exceeds the cybernetic imperative to communicate.

The "error" issue focusses on the situation of noise, aberration, errancy, deviation, and mutation in a culture increasingly dominated by principles of maximum efficiency and maximum control. As we increasingly define politics as polling, networks as social, and bodies as information complexes, what is the meaning - or the refusal to mean - marked by error?

Feature Article
"Revealing Errors"
- Benjamin Mako Hill

Benjamin Mako Hill explores how media theorists would benefit from closer attention to errors as "under-appreciated and under-utilised in their ability to reveal technology around us." By allowing errors to communicate, he argues, we gain a perspective that makes invisible technologies all the more visible. As such, error provides a productive moment for both interpretive and critical interventions.


"Information, Noise and et al.'s "maintenance of social solidarity-instance 5""
- Su Ballard

"Error, the Unforeseen, and the Emergent: The Error and Interactive Media Art"
- Tim Barker

"Stock Images, Filler Content and the Ambiguous Corporate Message"
- Christopher Grant Ward

""Error: No Such Entry": Haunted Ethnographies of Online Archives"
- Adi Kuntsman

"Bad Avatar!: Griefing in Virtual Worlds"
- Kimberly Gregson

"Amazon Noir: Piracy, Distribution, Control'
- Michael Dieter

"Artificial Intelligence: Media Illiteracy and the SonicJihad Debacle in Congress"
- Elizabeth Losh

"The Emergence of Audience as Victims: The Issue of Trust in an Era of Phone Scandals"
- Yasmin Ibrahim

'"Have You Tried Not Being a Mutant?": Genetic Mutation and the Acquisition of Extra-ordinary Ability'
- Martin Mantle


Further M/C Journal issues scheduled for 2007 to 2009:

'vote': article deadline 19 October 2007, release date 12 December 2007
'citizen': article deadline 18 January 2008, release date 12 March 2008
'equal': article deadline 7 March 2008, release date 7 May 2008
'able'; article deadline 2 May 2008, release date 2 June 2008
'publish': article deadline 27 June 2008, release date 27 August 2008
'country': article deadline 22 August 2008, release date 22 October 2008
'recover': article deadline 10 October 2008, release date 10 December 2008
'still': article deadline 16 January 2009, release date 11 March 2009
M/C Journal 10.5 is now online:
Previous issues of M/C Journal on various topics are also still available.
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All contributors are available for media contacts:

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