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The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine Hardcover – April 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


This is a relatively short, deftly written and attractively published book...I haven't come across a better book on this general topic, or a potentially more influential one.

(William Kowinski North Coast Journal)

Well known as one of the best analysts of digital culture, he opens here a certain number of historical, cultural, political, and ideological questions that make this book a real must-read for all those looking for new answers to the problems that modern technoculture has been facing...

(Jan Baetans Leonardo Online)

The Secret War Between Uploading and Downloading by Peter Lunenfeld is the most insightful work on web realpolitik I've read in a couple of years. His analysis/analogy of how ideas emerge to take hold of public discourse and then fade again, based on the Gestalt notion of "figure/ground" (you'll get it when you read it...) has altered the way I see the webworld, and will significantly change the way I talk to clients about what's going on out there.

(The Strategy Review)

'Cultural diabetes,' 'plutopian meliorism,' and 'Teflon objects' are only a few of the extraordinarily vivid concepts Peter Lunenfeld points out in this fascinating and impressionistic journey of the key cultural and technological events -- from the atomic bomb to the ubiquity of Google -- that have landed us in our brave new networked, searchable, and data-filled world.

(Judith Donath, Faculty Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University)

It is formally impossible to write a book that is more of-the-moment than Peter Lunenfeld's The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading.

(Bruce Sterling, futurist, science fiction author, and net critic)

Written in sharp, fast-paced prose, Peter Lunenfeld's provocative new book implores today's creative citizens to make more and consume less. In a culture glutted with slick, Teflon-coated downloads, we need to push ourselves to upload our own content. If our work has sticky surfaces and rough edges, it will bond with other ideas in the network and contribute to an ongoing dialogue. The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading is a ready-to-use manifesto for contemporary media practice.

(Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and author of Thinking with Type)

About the Author

Peter Lunenfeld is Professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 219 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition edition (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262015471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262015479
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Lunenfeld is a professor in the Design Media Arts department at UCLA. Publications include: The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine, 2011, USER: InfoTechnoDemo (MIT, 2005), Snap to Grid: A User's Guide to Digital Arts, Media & Cultures (MIT, 2000), and The Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media (MIT, 1999). Digital_Humanities, co-written with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, came out in 2012 from the MIT Press.

Lunenfeld is creator and editorial director of the multi-award-winning Mediawork project, a pamphlet series for the MIT Press which redefined the relationship between serious academic discourse and graphic design, and between book publishing and the World Wide Web. These "theoretical fetish objects" cover the intersections of media, art, design and technology.

Lunenfeld is on the Faculty Steering Committee of UCLA's new undergraduate minor and graduate certificate in Digital Humanities. His current research interests are taking him deeper into questions about new modes of knowledge formation that go beyond print, the design of the digital humanities, and the centrality of meaning making to networked culture. His on-going research project is in retreat from the future present. Provisionally titled City at the Edge of Forever, it is an alternative, connectionist history of Los Angeles and its cultural significance.

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Gould on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Lunenfeld's 'The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine' is a valuable new addition to new media discourse. It is a rare work, relevant to instructors, students, and the general public alike, that not only presents theory but also suggests practical applications. It challenges us - as readers, writers, students, teachers, and, inevitably, web consumers - to rethink our engagement(s) with the internet and to become producers of meaningful uploads. It also offers a good basic introduction to the 'generations' of digital influentials. Highly recommended to any and all sort of reader.
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