Three good pieces today, all related to Russian media practices.
Media Piracy in Emerging Economies
This bilingual report frames media piracy as “a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets”, an assertion which gels nicely with the fieldwork responses I’m receiving from Russian gamers. The authors pick up on themes of education, local markets and comparative economic power across six different regions, drawing upon regional specialists who do a great job of contextualising the findings in the appropriate historical and social background. There’s not much on Russian videogames, sadly: a brief note on p160 is about all, but the information on internet and computer penetration is up to date and smartly dissected. As a bonus, the chapters all have hyperlinked sections via some kind of computer wizardry so you can bounce around quite easily and save yourself some scrolling.
Tomsk State University’s ‘Digital Humanities’ e-journal
Russian-speakers only for this one. Tomsk State University has an e-journal focusing on the digital humanities which has yielded some gems. It looks like all of the submissions are from within the university but I’ve found D.V. Galkin’s ‘Computer Games as a Phenomenon of Modern Culture‘ useful. Other topics: chat robots for language learning purposes, anthropological aspects of information societies, the psychology of ‘cybersportsmen’, cyber-ethics.
Peasant Muse: ‘Textual Dualism & Augmented Reality in the Russian Empire‘
Jeremy’s been writing some fascinating posts about the long written history of ‘digital dualism’; this post is a really nice round-up of some of his ideas. In particular he discusses strategies used by Russian peasants to escape restrictive bureaucratic definitions of their identities. It’s worth following the links in this post too – he takes a historically grounded view of digital media development and plays with the relationship between analogue and digital in some smart ways.
The Royal Society has recently made available 60,000 historical scientific papers from the past 350 years, sorted by date to 1887 here and thereafter divided into A (mathematics, physics, engineering) and B (biological and life sciences). If those pages are a little daunting, you can digest it all as a historical timeline here. Unfortunately I don’t have about five consecutive years to sit and read everything and the STEM papers definitely sail about six feet over my head, but I’ve spent a few hours reading through the scans of some of the older contributions. There’s a gruesome fascination in reading about experiments from the 1600s: descriptions of deformed animals, accounts of experimental blood transfusions in sheep and a rather useful paragraph on how to kill a rattlesnake.
Anyway, grotesque science aside I found some real treasures in the archives, and there are probably dozens more I skimmed over. Here are the highlights of my little adventure into historical science:
Dr. Harvey, “An Extract of the Anatomical Account, Written and Left by the Famous Dr. Harvey, Concerning Thomas Parre, Who Died in London at the Age of 152 Years and 9 Moneths“, 1668.
“An Extract of a Letter from a Learned French Gentleman, Concerning a Way of Making Sea-Water Sweet“, 1670.
Rob. Gourdon, “A Receipt to Cure Mad Dogs, or Men or Beasts Bitten by Mad Dogs“, 1686.
“Of the Posture-Master“, 1698.
J. Breintal, “A Letter from Mr. J. Breintal to Mr. Peter Collinson, F. R. S. Containing an Account of What He Felt after Being Bit by a Rattle-Snake“, 1746.
Peter Camper, “Account of the Organs of Speech of the Orang Outang“, 1779.
Also in the archives are Michael Faraday’s “Experimental Researches in Electricity” (which start in 1832 and are published in almost every edition until around 1839) and early work by Charles Darwin.
See anything else interesting? Tell me in the comments!
The new issue of Digital Icons is up, with a focus on transmediality and new digital phenomena in the Russian-speaking sphere. If you’re not familiar with Digital Icons, it’s a twice-yearly online journal dedicated to new media in Russia, Eurasia and Central Europe. All of the articles are available online in a combination of English, German and Russian.
They’re also launching a new project, Digital Memoirs. The latter promises a “collaborative historical narrative that would define use of digital media, including digital gadgets, digital forms of communication and digital practices, in a post-communist, post-totalitarian space”.
I’ve yet to read the articles in depth but two look particularly promising: Tine Roesen’s piece on the elite social network Snob.ru and Ellen Rutten’s exploration of the culture and news portal Openspace.ru.