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From Digital to Analog

«Agrippa» and Other Hybrids in the Beginnings of Digital Culture

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Augustín Berti

From Digital to Analog delves into the origins of digitization and its effects on contemporary culture. The book challenges the «common sense» assertion that digitization is just another step in the evolution of the culture of the editorial, film and recorded music industries and their enforcement of copyright laws. Digital technologies in contemporary culture have paradoxically undermined and, at the same time, strengthened such practices, provoking an unprecedented quarrel over the possession of, and access to, cultural products. Agustín Berti uses the release of Agrippa (A Book of the Dead) in 1992 to study this paradox. The importance of Agrippa for digital culture studies is proven through the discussion of the frequently understated importance of the materiality of digital culture. The book develops a critique of digital technology and its alleged neutrality and transparency. Ultimately, it illustrates how Agrippa anticipated a number of contemporary phenomena such as piracy, leaks, remixes, memes, and more, forcing us to rethink the concept of digital content itself and thus the way in which culture is produced, received and preserved today. From Digital to Analog is ideal reading for a graduate student readership, especially Master candidates in the fields of Literature, Arts, Digital Humanities, Digital Culture and New Media Studies.
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With the exception of hyperlinks to some examples of images and videos without any clear authorship, the “References” list all the scholarly works, articles, papers, chapters, news articles, e-mails, and posts quoted or discussed in this book following the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style with some minor alterations in the criteria to clarify if needed, especially regarding non-canonical sources. The extensive list of literary and artistic works mentioned, as well as other cultural products such as games and software is, however, not included. All online references were checked during the copyediting of this book in March 2015. Hopefully, they will persist.

For those curious enough, I provide here the translations for epigraphs in languages other than English. Since translations are one of the earliest examples of information lossy replication, in the body of the work I opted to remain true to the rather whimsical sources of my intellectual background and the peculiar synapses it favors. Any information lost in translation is my fault alone.

For the trombone shall sound,

And the dead shall rise incorruptible,

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