Snap to Grid
A User's Guide to Digital Arts, Media, and CultureseBook - 2000
In Snap to Grid, an idiosyncratic guide to the interactive, telematic era, PeterLunenfeld maps out the trajectories that digital technologies have traced upon our culturalimaginary. His clear-eyed evaluation of new media includes an impassioned discussion--informed bythe discourses of technology, aesthetics, and cultural theory--of the digital artists, designers,and makers who matter most. "Snap to grid" is a command that instructs the computer to takehand-drawn lines and plot them precisely in Cartesian space. Users regularly disable this functionthe moment they open an application because the gains in predictability and accuracy are balancedagainst the losses of ambiguity and expressiveness. Lunenfeld uses "snap to grid" as a metaphor forhow we manipulate and think about the electronic culture that enfolds us. In this book he snaps hisseduction by the machine to the grid of critical thinking.How can we compare new media toestablished media? Must we revert to a default dichotomy between utopia and desolation, the notionthat media, even digital media, by themselves can redeem or damn us? As he answers these and otherquestions, Lunenfeld takes into account the post-1989 politico-economic context in which new mediahave developed and grounds the insights of theory in the constraints of production. Artistsdiscussed include Mark Amerika, Char Davies, Hollis Frampton, William Gibson, Gary Hill, PerryHobermann, JODI, Christian Möller, Adam Ross, Jennifer Steinkamp, Stelarc, and DianaThater.
a vibrant guide to the artistic, cultural, and social faces of the new media.