This section, Context, provides links to four sections of material complimentary to the Computers and Composition print-based essay titled "The Distributed Gesamptkunstwerk: Sound, Worlding, and New Media Culture." These sections are Glossary, Endnotes, Cited and Images. The glossary provides links to a variety of explanations, definitions, and commentary on neologisms and technical terms that may need further explanation. The Endnotes offer expanded versions of the printed endnotes with live links where appropriate, and can be read online while reading the print journal. Cited adds live links to online versions of materials cited in the original print-based essay, allowing a hypertextual extension of print through this website. Finally, five color images are available in the images section. Reproducing these images would have been prohibitively expensive , but are quite readily and inexpensively available digitally. Yet the problem of the print/digit interface remains: it would be nice to have a code on the page that opens each of these links on the screen with some as yet unrealized interface. The problem remains one of context as old as print itself, and which digital textuality has not (yet) solved.
One problem is that text travels alone into the world without the context in which it was created, or with only as much context as can be included in the text itself (metacommentary, linkings, bibliographies, narratives, images). The web offers opportunities to provide fuller contexts, replicating an information ecology showing how the text emerges from (but is never equivalent to) the rich matrix of connections, allusions, tusslings, recontextualizations, negotiations, and reworkings that constitute the processes of thinking and writing. As we have argued with regard to sound, we see that this rich contextual matrix places a priority upon the ambient environs in which one works and plays. Production and reception are intimately connected to the world—to technological, material, and informational scaffoldings that both give rise to and are expressed within the things we do and make. The truth is out there.
Nevertheless, we also understand that this rich sense of context, as important as it can be, and as potentially interesting (sticky!), also runs a counter risk, one that can be seen to work both with and against the text. That is, while these contextual fragments do bring richness to the text, they risk being overwhelming. They risk becoming too much information, drowning the "original argument," burying it in noise. Thus, the danger of a too rich sense of context is that as authors we run the risk of abandonment by our dear readers. We have labored to bring them (you) over the gulf of the print/digit interface only to lose their (your) attention to one of these vile, attractive, enticing sirens who call you and promise you more than we deliver. Richard Lanham's The Economics of Attention addresses this question of stickiness and attention in an age of fecund infomration. Should you follow the siren lure of the links, when you arrive there, you will find they too promise more than they deliver. We invite you back and hope you return.
We also note that the very act of clicking through creates new links, recreates a semblance of world, even as it runs its own entirely practical possibility of becoming too much information. Endless clicking risks becoming a new kind of noise. But this also means—and this is a primary lesson we learned from listening differently to sound—new kinds of invention, new kinds of production. This is not a vague exhortation ala "Oh, the new, the possible, how wonderful!", or other such kicky, warmed over congratulatories calling vaguely for us to be doing something other than we are. As the numerous musical practices we explore in this essay on sound testify, these new forms of invention and production are ongoing and far-reaching in their implications. They are precisely the kinds of things we now need to recontextualize/remediate, learn from, rework, perhaps even surpass. They constitute the new world of composition, and, thus, new ways of composing the world. top
Each link is roughly provided in the order in which it appears in the text.
Print economy runs on scarcity. Web economy runs on abundance. Our endnotes were (understandably) trimmed in the interests of running the article in the space allowed the print version of Computers and Compositon. Here are our complete endnotes with direct links to all websites referenced:
We will not have space to make as many connections to these aesthetic advancements on the road to virtuality as we would like; suffice it to say here there is still much to explore in looking back over this work.
As we wrote this paragraph, we were led to reflect on the image we have of our students: MP3 files, downloading, iPods, and streams of sound pouring into their ears. Our students, it seems, possess mysterious identities that seem far less literate, less textually constructed, and yet we find ourselves similarly hailed by the siren call of new media. As authors, we certainly recognize our own hybrid and multiple identities, both as literate and electrate prosumers (see Ulmer, webpage). So sound, then, is a mode of electracy distinguished from dialogic relationship we establish with our—as academics!—beloved texts. Still, we enjoy new media, enjoy these sounds produced by our own sound-dispensing techno-cultural artifacts. And while we do not attend to it as much as we should, we are led to Geoff Sirc's question posed in "Never Mind the Tagmemics, Where's the Sex Pistols?" He asks, quite emphatically, "Where's the fun?" As we explore the development of third order cybernetic language and techniques that value noise, multiply inputs, and re-sculpt the nature of sound itself, we would like this question to remain hovering in the background.
Shannon and Weaver offer their cybernetic model in their 1947 book The Mathematical Theory of Communication , but the image offered here is recreated by the authors so that it can be manipulated in subsequent figures: re-recorded (covered), sampled, re-worded, revised, remixed, and re-presented in new context. The revised/re-recorded image is based on Michael Underwood's version, available online, but Underwood's version is itself a re-presentation of the images included in Shannon and Weaver's figures from their 1947 textbook: http://www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/introductory/sw.html
Johndan Johnson-Eilola's Nostalgic Angels (1997) offers a sustained critique of Shannon and Weaver and offers additional models for technical and professional writing genres, none of which move towards valuing feedback, or noise, in the way we suggest here.
For a good overview of first, second, and third order cybernetics and their relevance for the humanities and English studies, see Hayles, How We Became Posthuman .
Yes began in 1968 as an "art rock" group directly inspired by the Beatles; aesthetically, this meant a psychedelic bent, inspiration in other musics besides rock or blues (especially classical and jazz), improvisation, and extended or transformed song forms. As the group evolved, they replaced a few early, less technically proficient band members with new, virtuosic players. This version of the group initiated the move from art rock to "progressive rock," which emphasized long song forms; technically proficient if not difficult playing; sophisticated and complex arrangements; classical, opera, and jazz sources for inspiration; and lyric seriousness (see Stump, Martin, Macan, and Covach, "Progressive").
For example, consider this snippet from Dean in a BBC interview: " Five times since I first worked with them we've fallen out enough for [them] to go and get someone else to do the covers! But that's really Yes . . . I recently heard Rick [Wakeman] say that I'd been the only person in and out of Yes more than him!"
Interestingly, with the case of Gilmore, we see that this method of composition is not without controversy. A review of Pink Floyd's work by critic Robert Christgau once snipped that Gilmore's guitar solos were transformed by studio trickery into something more than what he originally played. More recently, the alternative music review website Pitchfork posted a list of the fifty worst guitar solos of the millennium; David Gilmore's solo for Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" was listed as the forty-third worst because he used tape splicing to compose the solo (Sandlin). The aesthetic the author brings to bear demands that a solo be as spontaneous as possible, suggesting that the cult of the guitar hero remains a potent narrative despite the advent of new music forms that directly challenge it.
Such digital remixes redefine what it means to "watch" or "listen." The addition of another musical motif, widely recognizable as the music theme used by the English comedian Benny Hill, remixes Simpson's most embarrassing professional moment and places it in an entirely different frame.
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< defunct >. Accessed 19 September 2005 . For commentary on the list, see Monkeyfilter.
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Geoffery Sirc, "Never Mind the Tagmemics, Where's the Sex Pistols," originally printed in CCC 48: 1 (1997): 9-29, (C) 1997, National Council of Teachers of English. (The version published in P/T: E(L) , as submitted by Geoff Sirc, is a slightly different one from the essay published in CCC : accessed January 27, 2006 : <defunct> (At press time, this link was defunct. See CCC Online for access to the print version.)
Stump, Paul. The Music's All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock . London : Quartet Books, 1997.
Tamm, Eric. Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound . New York : Da Capo, 1995.
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Links to images, including scanned stills of Frequency Waveform Cartoons, are available below. Any images presented in black and white in print version of the essay can be reproduced here in color.