Bryce Wilner

When I type, sometimes, writing to somebody I’m not too interested in (or don’t have much to communicate to although I owe this person an email), I get some phrase that stays in my head a few seconds until it hazes to something as hard to recall as a dream. It may be the string “bbbbbbbbbbbb” that I press into my keyboard and stare through before I delete it from my screen and my brain. I can’t say whether the sound or the image of the string comes first; they seem to occur simultaneously and disappear in much the same way. And I can’t say with surety that the way the string looks influences how I pronounce it in my head. This sequence can loop for minutes before I remember where I am in my workflow and in my schedule. I raise my face out of the white text entry field into a desk space surrounded by printed paper and hand-written notes. And grinning like a tiger!

Library Stack Editors

Voter fraud, Twitter bots, fake news, fake likes, alternative facts, false leaks, sock puppets, psychometrics. Shadow Brokers vs. Reality Winners. Consensual factuality has been replaced by a contentious arena of propositions and counter-punches; the once reliably “real” is now shot through with opaque personas, avatars and profiles. Identity is under review by think tanks and policy institutes. Online space has become a full-time proxy war: unknown governments operating against (or with) unknown individuals for seemingly unknowable aims — all occasionally illuminated by anonymously leaked documents or the sudden surfacing of a whistleblower. Things unfold rapidly (Leak! Testimony! Tweet! Terrorist Attack! Random shooting! Counter-tweet!) and somehow manage to feel both aleatoric and eerily scripted. In the 1990s and early 2000s, asymmetric warfare — where large, formal state militaries are confronted by murky, small groups with improvised weapons and behaviors — dominated strategic discourse. Those years saw a lumbering American military face animal-borne IEDs (like exploding donkeys) in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Israeli army laterally bulldoze inner apartment walls in densely occupied urban territories. But recently, a new mode of state-level conflict has replaced tangible asymmetries with social, cultural, and behavioral ones. We are now involved in “non-linear war” — the tactical manipulating of society’s fragilities and norms to blur, confuse and weaken an enemy, or achieve a geopolitical objective, with no shots fired. Non-linear war aims to make other governments work less well, but not collapse; to claim authority over territories that had always been presumed international; to change future political stakes by inventing parties, issues, or actors where none had existed. It takes place across our softest interfaces — social media platforms, television journalism, Youtube memes, emotional advertisements — and occasionally concretizes into background threat levels or public demonstrations. It exaggerates contentious politics and is helped in turn by them. Non-linear war turns reality into an editing suite, where new combinations of cause and result are constantly being pieced together, focus-grouped, and reformulated. The objects in this collection trace some rupture points in that process: moments where truth is distinguished from reality, value from price, language from meaning, emotion from feeling, and identity from Identity. 

Center for Experimental Lectures

This collection of digital objects scratches the surface of some of the questions we like to puzzle over the most: What are the possibilities for public speaking now? How is learning something we do with our bodies? What is the materiality of acquiring knowledge? And what is important about being in a room with others, watching something together? We hope these 10 works offer some methods for reconsidering the possibilities of showing each other things in public.

Collection:

Howie Chen

Blueprint. Bodies. Tennis. Clock. Air. Surgery. Windmill. Accused. Ronin. Bread.

Collection:

Marina Vishmidt & Anthony Iles

Here is a best-of digital objects list that aims to be useful, entertaining and unsettling, if perhaps as haphazard as any 10 things pulled off the internet would be. We have combined both the substantial or regular — books, series, other websites — as well as reflexive digital objects, textured and justified by their milieu. These all viscerally object to the idea that digitality entails any meaningful shift in capitalist power dynamics; the question of property may be reconfigured by the digital, but is, as yet, far from resolved. So these objects, each in some way, enact an antagonistic relationship to the limited sensorium of capitalist property relations. We have: an application that consumes and regurgitates all others, a teen noise rant, pyrotechnic materialism, a dictionary of the negative, a militant exercise of the right to be forgotten, and a pretty decent meme, among a few other forms and strategies. Despite apparent seriousness or frivolity, they each smuggle a secret cargo of critical humor…

Collection:

Angie Keefer

The thought of compiling ten items for inclusion in the annals of Library Stack as a de facto recommended set was all but physically crippling to this typist, which is why her list appears only now, some five, long, dark fall and winter months after its existence was first and very kindly requested. This is also the reason why, instead of compiling a best-of, I’ve compiled a currently-in-the-middle-of, or an at-least-at-the-beginning-of. That is, here are ten books I’m reading now, together, deliberately together, albeit for purposes yet to be discerned. My list doubles as a suggestion that “top ten” be reconceived as “arbitrarily long ingredient list for a precognitive recipe,” though I’d wager my entire, staggering fortune that lubricated Teflon™ is at least 100% stickier than this proposal.

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