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It is hard to find books on architecture and information technology which do not read like a manifesto. Indeed the strength of John Beckmann's "The Virtual Dimension" can be found in its inclusive and at times playfully eclectic scope. Rarely do editors working in this genre assemble into one volume such a conflicting cast of theorists, writers, artists and architects. Featured in a collection of 26 essays are authors as diverse as Paul Virilio, Stahl Stenslie, Mark C. Taylor, Stan Allen, Gareth Branwyn, Stelarc, Bernard Cache and many more. Aside from the sometimes bizarre prophesies of writers like Hans Moravec the essays in this book generally form a balanced survey of the many important issues facing our digital age. For anyone interested in computers, architecture theory, electronic art or the problematic relationship between cyberspace and the physical world Mr. Beckmann's profusely illustrated book is a virtual necessity. >>
The Virtual Dimension: Architecture, Representation, and Crash Culture Overview
In a century immersed in technological acceleration, we have reached a strange new plateau in the human condition. Advanced technologies such as biometrics and DNA cloning have not only caught up with reality, they have in many ways already surpassed it. The Virtual Dimension critically examines the role that digital and immersive technologies have on the methods used by architects, designers, and artists to conceptualize and represent new mediated spaces, topologies, and both real and virtual communities. This collection of interdisciplinary essays addresses the implications of "going virtual" from a variety of cultural and theoretical >viewpoints. Over thirty contributors, all leading architects, urban theorists, philosophers, scientists, and cultural critics, have contributed to this collection. These include Stan Allen, professor of architecture at Columbia University; Gareth Branwyn, contributing editor of Wired and co-author of The Happy Mutant Handbook and Jamming the Media: A Citizen's Guide; Canadian artist Char Davies; Manuel Delanda, author of War in the Age of Intelligent Machines; William J. Mitchell, author of City of Bits; Michael Heim, author of The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Vivian Sobchack, associate dean of film studies at UCLA; and philosopher and author Paul Virilio. The breadth and size of this collection will make it the most important reader on the subject, of interest to anyone excited by the possibilities of electronic communication.
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