Manovich: Software Studies

Reading through Lev Manovich new book Software Studies, which is downloadable here:

Being massively jealous of course (“hey,I could’ve easily written part 3, that’s my research”), I wonder if what Manovich is doing in this book — which at first quick reading through seems to be great as a summary, and very teachable — is in fact first “interface studies” and secondly software studies. Shouldn’t way peel off one more layer, open one more black box to reach at — well, how software is made to function so it makes us function? Or is this criticism due to my fascination for programming — not being a programmer myself?

Naturally their are many smaller issues on which I’m tempted to take issue with Manovich, or where I think he might have missed something. (German media theory?). I wonder if remixability is as central as he claims it to be. Yet, exactly making such a claim — remix as dominant form of cultural production — produces clarity too.

Just as Language of New Media this could be a book that one simply cannot go around / escape, when doing software studies. Even if one’s own approach would be different. (Manovich focussed mainly at American and Americanized culture, less at more marginal software cultures, et cetera et cetera).

Well, this is all very very preliminary, having read Part One, skimmed through Part Two, and read diagonally across Part Three. But I couldn’t resist…

And well, this is a great quote: “In the era of Web 2.0, we can state that information wants to be ASCII.”

en,reading matter,research,software | November 27, 2008 | 22:58 | Comments Off on Manovich: Software Studies |


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