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Blog: Where We Write

Digital Saints

By Maria French

It was recently reported that Rome is preparing to give sainthood to a 15-year-old computer whizz who passed away from Leukemia in 2006.  He was a young boy who cataloged miracles online in service to Rome, or as the Pope has proclaimed, ‘in service of the gospel.’  He is being referred to as the digital saint.

In keeping with tradition, the person up for beautification needs to have been deceased for five years before proper inquiry can be made into their life, with one requirement being at least two miracles performed.  

But what constitutes a miracle? 

I came across a book this weekend in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.  It was everything you would expect an old bookshop to be, especially in the medieval town of such a literary colossus.  

“Saints of the Twentieth Century” recalling heroic tales of those who lived and died in the cause of something greater than themselves. ...

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Hack to the Future

By Barry Taylor

Whether it’s Star Wars or Star Trek, Mars Attacks or Minority Report, 2001 A Space Odyssey or Dr. Who, film and television has long been enthralled with a future shaped by science, technology and visions of the future. Using incredible technologies and great stories, imagined worlds are made to look believable and real and have shaped so much of the ways we think the future might unfold. But as the philosopher Slavoj Žižek has noted, even though we know that something is fiction, that it is not real, it still fascinates us because there is something real in the illusion. We choose the things we watch because they trigger our desires even though we aren’t always aware of what we are desiring for when we watch a film or tv show. Žižek also said about cinema, the ‘ultimate perverts art’ because visual media doesn't simply give us what we desire - it tells us how to desire.

What those illusions are, what cinematic desire looks like and...

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Digitally Disrupted

By Barry Taylor

In 1922 the Swiss artist Paul Klee produced an enigmatic artwork called The Twittering Machine. Against a bluish-purple background, four crudely drawn birds cling to a wire. There is a handle attached to the wire the birds are on and you can work out that it probably represents some kind of mechanism to move the birds up and down when it is cranked. Beneath the birds is what looks like some kind of pit, or bath. What the painting means is hotly debated as Klee was an intuitive artist who liked to explore the role of the subconscious mind in inventing and interpreting the world and then left the interpretation of his work up to the viewer. But over the years consensus has centered around the relationship between humans and technology, and the questioning of the issue of progress.

Are we really progressing with all the technologies we employ or are we being manipulated by an invisible hand cranking the crooked wire upon which we all cling whilst hanging over a pit of?

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