"I recommend this book to you with an earnestness that I have seldom felt for any collection of historic texts," writes William Gibson in his foreword.Tracing the fertile series of collaborations between arts and sciences throughout the twentieth century, Randall Packer and Ken Jordan present the often overlooked history behind multimedia―the interfaces, links, and interactivity we all take for granted today. "Many of the papers that had profound impact upon my development―to say nothing of the entire industry―are here," raves Donald A. Norman, author of The Invisible Computer. In "an evocative whirlwind tour through 100 years of work" (Wired), Packer and Jordan bring together an "historically significant" (Slashdot) collection of the groundbreaking visions of scientists like Vannevar Bush, Douglas Englebart, and Norbert Wiener, and artists like John Cage, Nam June Paik, and William Gibson. Their insightful explanations of the core concepts behind multimedia provide historical context that "reads like a Western civ of modern media" (Film/Tape World).
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Ken Jordan has pioneered innovative Web sites such as SonicNet, Word, and Media Channel. He lives in New York City.From Booklist:
Readers interested in the history of multimedia should be enthralled by this collection of hard-to-find essays. "Outline of the Artwork of the Future," for instance, was first published in 1849, and its author was the great German composer Richard Wagner, who envisioned a new kind of stage drama that united music, visual effects, poetry, and dance. Skip forward seven decades, and here's 1924's "Theater, Circus, Variety," by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, one of the foremost practitioners of the Bauhaus school of art. His elaboration of Wagner's ideas incorporated the revolutionary idea of removing the so-called fourth wall and involving the audience in the play. Similarly, these essays trace the evolution of electronic media, film, and books (William Burroughs' 1964 piece, "The Future of the Novel," is itself worth the price of admission). A remarkable blending of past and present, these essays remind us that today's wondrous inventions didn't just spring into existence out of nothingness. David Pitt
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