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Mobile apps promise to deliver (h)appiness to our devices at the touch of a finger or two. Apps offer gratifyingly immediate access to connection and entertainment. The array of apps downloadable from the app store may come from the cloud, but they attach themselves firmly to our individual movement from location to location on earth. In The Imaginary App, writers, theorists, and artists—including Stephen Wolfram (in conversation with Paul Miller) and Lev Manovich—explore the cultural and technological shifts that have accompanied the emergence of the mobile app. These contributors and interviewees see apps variously as “a machine of transcendence,” “a hulking wound in our nervous system,” or “a promise of new possibilities.” They ask whether the app is an object or a relation, and if it could be a “metamedium” that supersedes all other artistic media. They consider the control and power exercised by software architecture; the app's prosthetic ability to enhance certain human capacities, in reality or in imagination; the app economy, and the divergent possibilities it offers of making a living or making a fortune; and the app as medium and remediator of reality.
Also included (and documented in color) are selected projects by artists asked to design truly imaginary apps, “icons of the impossible.” These include a female sexual arousal graph using Doppler images; “The Ultimate App,” which accepts a payment and then closes, without providing information or functionality; and “iLuck,” which uses GPS technology and four-leaf-clover icons to mark places where luck might be found.
Christian Ulrik Andersen, Thierry Bardini, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Benjamin H. Bratton, Drew S. Burk, Patricia Ticineto Clough, Robbie Cormier, Dock Currie, Dal Yong Jin, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Ryan and Hays Holladay, Atle Mikkola Kjøsen, Eric Kluitenberg, Lev Manovich, Vincent Manzerolle, Svitlana Matviyenko, Dan Mellamphy, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Steven Millward, Anna Munster, Søren Bro Pold, Chris Richards, Scott Snibbe, Nick Srnicek, Stephen Wolfram
This rich collection brings together a set of newly translated essays, dialogues, and reviews by Gilles Châtelet (1944–1999). Châtelet was not only a philosopher, political theorist, theorist of individuation and of the magnification of human freedoms, but also a talented mathematician and an original theorist of the virtual, the diagram, and the gesture.
With their characteristic ebullience and speculative agility in transporting concepts between different fields, Châtelet's polymath interrogations were an acknowledged inspiration to his fellow philosophers, including Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou.
In the essays collected in this volume, Châtelet explores the articulation between mathematics and physical reality, algebra and geometry, romanticism and science, finite beings and the infinite manifestations of nature, and gesture and abstraction. The book also offers interviews with Châtelet and review articles in which he reckons with contemporaries including Badiou, Deleuze, Roger Penrose, and René Thom.
The extensive introduction by Châtelet's former colleague Charles Alunni outlines the life and career of this “last romantic philosopher” and the continuing importance of his work for our understanding of the relationships between the mathematical and the physical, the abstract and the concrete, and scientific thinking and the politics of liberation.