Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age

Category: Book
By (author): Birkerts, Sven
Subject:  COMPUTERS / Information Technology
  LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Essays
  LITERARY CRITICISM / General
  TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Graywolf
Published: October 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 8.19in x 5.59in x 0.75in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Trenchant, expansive essays on the cultural consequences of ongoing, all-permeating technological innovation In 1994, Sven Birkerts published The Gutenberg Elegies , his celebrated rallying cry to resist the oncoming digital advances, especially those that might affect the way we read literature and experience art - the very cultural activities that make us human. After two decades of rampant change, Birkerts has allowed a degree of everyday digital technology into his life. He refuses to use a smartphone, but communicates via e-mail and spends some time reading online. In Changing the Subject , he examines the changes that he observes in himself and others - the distraction when reading on the screen; the loss of personal agency through reliance on GPS and one-stop information resources; an increasing acceptance of hive" behaviors. "An unprecedented shift is underway," he argues, and "this transformation is dramatically accelerated and more psychologically formative than any previous technological innovation." He finds solace in engagement with art, particularly literature, and he brilliantly describes the countering energy available to us through acts of sustained attention, even as he worries that our increasingly mediated existences are not conducive to creativity. It is impossible to read Changing the Subject without coming away with a renewed sense of what is lost by our wholesale acceptance of digital innovation and what is regained when we immerse ourselves in a good book. "
Review Quote*Praise for Sven Birkerts "One of America's most distinguished, eloquent servants of the poetry and fiction that matter." -Susan Sontag "Birkerts on reading fiction is like M.F.K. Fisher on eating or Norman Maclean on fly casting. He makes you want to go do it." -Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker
Biographical NoteSven Birkerts is the author of several books, including The Art of Time in Memoir , Reading Life , Readings , and The Gutenberg Elegies . He has taught at Harvard University and currently directs the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the editor of AGNI . He lives in Massachusetts.