Tuesday, May 15, 12:30 pm Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, Second Floor
How do we balance the empowering possibilities of the networked public sphere with the dark, unsettling, and even dangerous energies of cyberspace? Matthew Battles blends a deep-historical perspective on the internet with storytelling that reaches into its weird, uncanny depths. It's a hybrid approach, reflecting the web's way of landing us in a feral state—the predicament of a domestic creature forced to live by its imperfectly-rekindled instincts in a world where it is never entirely at home. The feral is a metaphor—and maybe more than just a metaphor—for thriving in cyberspace, a habitat that changes too rapidly for anyone truly to be native. This talk will weave critical and reflective discussion of online experience with a short story from Battles' new collection, The Sovereignties of Invention.
Matthew Battles is program fellow with metaLAB (at) Harvard, an academic and creative collaborative devoted to the exploration of technology in the arts and humanities, hosted by the Berkman Center. He writes about the historical, aesthetic, and cultural dimensions of cyberspace for such publications as The Boston Globe and The Atlantic Monthly. He spent eight years as a scholarly editor at Harvard's Houghton Library and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; as cofounder of the blog HiLobrow.com he has helped generate innovative literary publishing projects in print and online. The author of Library: an Unquiet History (Norton 2004), his forthcoming books include Letter by Letter (W. W. Norton), a sentimental and natural history of writing, and a short story collection, The Sovereignties of Invention (Red Lemonade).