Always One Bit More, Computing and the Experience of Ambiguity

Fuller, Matthew. 2014. Always One Bit More, Computing and the Experience of Ambiguity. In: Olga Goriunova, ed. Fun and Software Exploring Pleasure, Paradox and Pain in Computing. New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 91-107. ISBN 978-1-6235-6094-2 [Book Section]


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Abstract or Description

Fun is often understood to be non-conceptual and indeed without rigour, without relation to formal processes of thought, yielding an intense and joyous informality, a release from procedure. Yet, as this book argues, fun may also be found, alongside other kinds of pleasure, in the generation, iteration and imagination of operations and procedures. This chapter aims to develop a means of drawing out an understanding of fun in relation to concepts of experience in the culture of mathematics and in the machinic fun of certain computer games. Mathematical concepts of experience, as something to be effaced, in terms of the grind of churning out calculations, understood as an acme of human knowledge bordering on the mystical or something both prosaic, peculiar and thrillingly abstract have been crucial to the motivation and genesis of computing. Experience may be figured as something innate to the computing person, or that is abstractable and thus mobile, shifting heterogeneously from one context to another, producing strange affinities between scales – residues and likeness among computational forms that can occasionally link the most austere and mundane or cacophonous of aesthetics. Among such, the fine and perplexing fun of paradox and ambiguity arises not simply in the interplay between formalisms and other kinds of life but as formalisms interweave releasing and congealing further dynamics. There are many ways in which mathematics has been linked to culture as a means of ordering, describing, inspiring or explaining ways of being in the world, but it is less often that mathematics thinks about itself as producing figurations of existence, and such moments are useful to turn to in gaining a sense of some of the patternings of computational culture.

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Book Section

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Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2018 09:49

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:46


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