ESCAPEMENT BLOG

ESC BOOKS ⎮ LI TINGWEI. MINE

We would like to share with you some reading recommendations. Li Tingwei used the books below during her work on the video  "AirDrop, Clod Cloud" (2021), the most favorite work by all the visitors! And a piece of advice from our side on Chinese mythology. 


New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future


We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.

CHF 13.09, free delivery

The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols


The First Signs is the first-ever exploration of the little-known geometric images that accompany most cave art around the world-the first indications of symbolic meaning, intelligence, and language.

Join renowned archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger on an Indiana Jones-worthy adventure from the open-air rock art sites of northern Portugal to the dark depths of a remote cave in Spain that can only be reached by sliding face-first through the mud. Von Petzinger looks past the beautiful horses, powerful bison, graceful ibex, and faceless humans in the ancient paintings. Instead, she's obsessed with the abstract geometric images that accompany them, the terse symbols that appear more often than any other kinds of figures-signs that have never really been studied or explained until now.

CHF 15.12, free delivery

The Weather Experiment : The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future


By the 1800s, a century of feverish discovery had launched the major branches of science. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy made the natural world explicable through experiment, observation, and categorization. And yet one scientific field remained in its infancy. Despite millennia of observation, mankind still had no understanding of the forces behind the weather. A century after the death of Newton, the laws that governed the heavens were entirely unknown, and weather forecasting was the stuff of folklore and superstition.

Peter Moore's The Weather Experiment is the account of a group of naturalists, engineers, and artists who conquered the elements. It describes their travels and experiments, their breakthroughs and bankruptcies, with picaresque vigor. It takes readers from Irish bogs to a thunderstorm in Guanabara Bay to the basket of a hydrogen balloon 8,500 feet over Paris. And it captures the particular bent of mind--combining the Romantic love of Nature and the Enlightenment love of Reason--that allowed humanity to finally decipher the skies.

CHF 15.82, free delivery

The Marvelous Clouds : Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media


When we speak of clouds these days, it is as likely that we mean data clouds or network clouds as cumulus or stratus. In their sharing of the term, both kinds of clouds reveal an essential truth: that the natural world and the technological world are not so distinct. In The Marvelous Clouds, John Durham Peters argues that though we often think of media as environments, the reverse is just as true environments are media. Peters defines media expansively as elements that compose the human world. Drawing from ideas implicit in media philosophy, Peters argues that media are more than carriers of messages: they are the very infrastructures combining nature and culture that allow human life to thrive. Through an encyclopedic array of examples from the oceans to the skies, The Marvelous Clouds reveals the long prehistory of so-called new media. Digital media, Peters argues, are an extension of early practices tied to the establishment of civilization such as mastering fire, building calendars, reading the stars, creating language, and establishing religions.
New media do not take us into uncharted waters, but rather confront us with the deepest and oldest questions of society and ecology: how to manage the relations people have with themselves, others, and the natural world. A wide-ranging meditation on the many means we have employed to cope with the struggles of existence from navigation to farming, meteorology to Google The Marvelous Clouds shows how media lie at the very heart of our interactions with the world around us. Peters's book will not only change how we think about media but provide a new appreciation for the day-to-day foundations of life on earth that we so often take for granted.

CHF 19.82, free delivery

Psychopolitics : Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power


Byung-Chul Han, a star of German philosophy, continues his passionate critique of neoliberalism, trenchantly describing a regime of technological domination that, in contrast to Foucault's biopower, has discovered the productive force of the psyche. In the course of discussing all the facets of neoliberal psychopolitics fueling our contemporary crisis of freedom, Han elaborates an analytical framework that provides an original theory of Big Data and a lucid phenomenology of emotion. But this provocative essay proposes counter models too, presenting a wealth of ideas and surprising alternatives at every turn.

CHF 12.90, free delivery

Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture


In the age of search, keywords increasingly organize research, teaching, and even thought itself. Inspired by Raymond Williams's 1976 classic Keywords, the timely collection Digital Keywords gathers pointed, provocative short essays on more than two dozen keywords by leading and rising digital media scholars from the areas of anthropology, digital humanities, history, political science, philosophy, religious studies, rhetoric, science and technology studies, and sociology. Digital Keywords examines and critiques the rich lexicon animating the emerging field of digital studies. This collection broadens our understanding of how we talk about the modern world, particularly of the vocabulary at work in information technologies. Contributors scrutinize each keyword independently: for example, the recent pairing of digital and analog is separated, while classic terms such as community, culture, event, memory, and democracy are treated in light of their historical and intellectual importance.

CHF 25.84, free delivery

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty


A comprehensive political and design theory of planetary-scale computation proposing that The Stack--an accidental megastructure--is both a technological apparatus and a model for a new geopolitical architecture.

What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities? It takes different forms at different scales--from energy and mineral sourcing and subterranean cloud infrastructure to urban software and massive universal addressing systems; from interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand and eye to users identified by self--quantification and the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots. Together, how do these distort and deform modern political geographies and produce new territories in their own image?

CHF 34.23, free delivery

Handbook of Chinese Mythology


Every year, at the Wa Huang Gong temple in Hebei Province, China, people gather to worship the great mother, Nuwa, the oldest deity in Chinese myth, praising her for bringing them a happy life. It is a vivid demonstration of both the ancient reach and the continuing relevance of mythology in the lives of the Chinese people.

Compiled from ancient and scattered texts and based on groundbreaking new research, Handbook of Chinese Mythology is the most comprehensive English-language work on the subject ever written from an exclusively Chinese perspective. This work focuses on the Han Chinese people but ranges across the full spectrum of ancient and modern China, showing how key myths endured and evolved over time. A quick reference section covers all major deities, spirits, and demigods, as well as important places (Kunlun Mountain), mythical animals and plants (the crow with three feet; Fusang tree), and related items (Xirang-a kind of mythical soil; Bu Si Yao-mythical medicine for long life). No other work captures so well what Chinese mythology means to the people who lived and continue to live their lives by it.

CHF 22.38, free delivery

The Empress Nugua Repairs the Pillar of Heaven


As part of the Chinese Myths and Legends series, this fine picture book will introduce you to the colorful world of Chinese mythology and tell you a story about a goddess and the sky.

CHF 16.43, free delivery
Li Tingwei