The value of nothing is explored in rich detail as the author reaches back as far as the ancient Sumerians to find evidence that humans have long struggled with the concept of zero, from the Greeks who may or may not have known of it, to the East where it was first used, to the modern-day desktop PC, which uses it as an essential letter in its computational alphabet.
The Nothing That Is and the Nothing That Is Not is the final volume in a trilogy on interpretations of otherness in the postmodern era. The first two volumes are A Do-It-Yourself Dystopia: The Americanization of Big Brother (University Press of America, 2002) and Leopards in the Temple: Selected Essays 1990-2000 (University Press of America, 2001).
Every culture has its own word for this nothing. Synonymous with the idea of absolute space and time, the ether is an ancient concept that has continually determined our definition of environment, our relations to each other, and our ideas about technology. It has also instigated our desire to know something irrepressibly beyond all that. In Ether, the histories of mysticism and the unseen merge with discussions of the technology and science of electromagnetism. Joe Milutis explores how the ideas of Anton Mesmer and Isaac Newton have manifested themselves as the inspiration for occult theories and artistic practices from Edgar Allan Poe’s works to today. In doing so, he demonstrates that fading in and out of scientific favor has not prevented the ether, a uniquely immaterial concept, from being a powerful force for material progress. Milutis deftly weaves the origins of electrical science with alchemical lore, nineteenth-century industrialism with yogic science, and network space with dreams of the absolute. Linking the ether to phenomena such as radio noise, space travel, avant-garde film, and the rise of the Internet, he lends it an almost physical presence and currency. From Federico Fellini to Gilles Deleuze, Japanese anime to Italian Futurism, Jean Cocteau to NASA, Shirley Temple to Wilhelm Reich, Ether traverses geographical boundaries, spiritual planes, and the divide between popular and high culture. Navigating more than three hundred years of the ether’s cultural and artistic history, Milutis reveals its continuous reinvention and tangible impact without ever losing sight of its ephemeral, elusive nature. The true meaning of ether, Milutis suggests, may be that it can never be fully grasped. Joe Milutis is assistant professor of art at the University of South Carolina. His writing has appeared in such publications as ArtByte, Wide Angle, Film Comment, and Cabinet.
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's The Blair Witch Project seemingly appeared from nowhere to become one of 1999's highest grossing films. While generating revenue as a low budget movie backed by a media blitz, The Blair Witch Project also generated controversy and made a mockery of the Hollywood industry, billing itself as "real" footage of a supernatural event. Critics were divided over some of the most basic questions: whether the film was an artistic success or the product of its hype, for example, and whether it challenged Hollywood conventions or succumbed to them in the end. Nothing That Is: The Blair Witch Controversies examines these and other debates, and initiates some of its own about American taste for horror, hoax, independent films, the Internet, and the direction of cinema in the twenty-first century. The book explores the modest origins and rapid demise of this independent film- while also analyzing the sensational results of its broad media discourses--a Web site developing the back story of The Blair Witch Project was one of the most-accessed sites on the entire Internet at the time of the movie's release. These essays, from many diverse perspectives, also look at The Blair Witch Project's manipulation of cinematic codes, its view on technology and the occult, its film progenitors, and even its effects on the film's setting of Burkittsville, Maryland. Nothing That Is will interest both film scholars and fans of this unexpected blockbuster that emerged from, if not "nothing," a complex brew of culture, technology, and ingenuity.
1922: Literature, Culture, Politics examines key aspects of culture and history in 1922, a year made famous by the publication of several modernist masterpieces, such as T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and James Joyce's Ulysses. Individual chapters written by leading scholars offer new contexts for the year's significant works of art, philosophy, politics, and literature. 1922 also analyzes both the political and intellectual forces that shaped the cultural interactions of that privileged moment. Although this volume takes post-WWI Europe as its chief focus, American artists and authors also receive thoughtful consideration. In its multiplicity of views, 1922 challenges misconceptions about the "Lost Generation" of cultural pilgrims who flocked to Paris and Berlin in the 1920s, thus stressing the wider influence of that momentous year.
This collection of new essays relates James's work to the political and social issues of his day, making this outstanding literary figure accessible to a broader reading public. Contributors include Richard Godden and Charles Swann, Millicent Bell and Deborah Phillips.
There are bizarre moments when we feel like strangers to ourselves. Through an investigation of Heidegger’s concept of uncanniness, Katherine Withy explores what such experiences reveal. She shows that we can be what we are only if we do not fully understand what it is to be us, and points toward what it is to live well as an uncanny human being.
Annotation Situating Habad's thought within the evolution of Kabbalistic mysticism, the history of Western philosophy & Mahayana Buddhism, Wolfson focuses on the nature of apophatic embodiment, semiotic materiality, hypernomian transvaluation, nondifferentiated alterity & atemporal temporality.