In this fiercely ambitious study, Meredith Anne Hoy seeks to reestablish the very definitions of digital art and aesthetics in art history. She begins by problematizing the notion of digital aesthetics, tracing the nineteenth- and twentieth-century movements that sought to break art down into its constituent elements, which in many ways predicted and paved the way for our acceptance of digital art. Through a series of case studies, Hoy questions the separation between analog and digital art and finds that while there may be sensual and experiential differences, they fall within the same technological categories. She also discusses computational art, in which the sole act of creation is the building of a self-generating algorithm. The medium isn't the message-what really matters is the degree to which the viewer can sense a creative hand in the art.
Richard Tapper's 1997 book, which is based on three decades of ethnographic fieldwork and extensive documentary research, traces the political and social history of the Shahsevan, one of the major nomadic peoples of Iran. The story is a dramatic one, recounting the mythical origins of the tribes, their unification as a confederacy, and their decline under the Pahlavi Shahs. The book is intended as a contribution to three different debates. The first concerns the riddle of Shahsevan origins, while another considers how far changes in tribal social and political formations are a function of relations with states. The third discusses how different constructions of the identity of a particular people determine their view of the past. In this way, the book promises not only to make a major contribution to the history and anthropology of the Middle East and Central Asia, but also to theoretical debates in both disciplines.
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