Curbside pickup and returns now available at 26 locations. View updated hours of operations here.

Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

Book Cover
Average Rating
Published:
Graywolf Press 2015
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

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.

Also in This Series
Formats
Adobe EPUB eBook
Works on all eReaders (except Kindles), desktop computers and mobile devices with reading apps installed.
Kindle Book
Works on Kindles and devices with a Kindle app installed.
Need Help?
If you are having problem transferring a title to your device, please fill out this support form or visit the library so we can help you to use our eBooks and eAudio Books.
More Like This
Other Editions and Formats
More Copies In LINK+
Loading LINK+ Copies...
More Details
Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/06/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555979102
ASIN:
B015CKNY3M
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sven Birkerts. (2015). Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sven Birkerts. 2015. Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sven Birkerts, Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age. Graywolf Press, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sven Birkerts. Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age. Graywolf Press, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Copy Details
LibraryOwnedAvailable
Shared Digital Collection11
Staff View
Grouped Work ID:
79beb92f-8940-25e4-598a-e6ec64ee1014
Go To Grouped Work
Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:02:13
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:46:08
Last Metadata Check:
Mar 07, 2021 08:56:16
Last Metadata Change:
Apr 29, 2020 14:34:53
Last Availability Check:
Mar 07, 2021 08:56:19
Last Availability Change:
Dec 15, 2020 15:55:47
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Mar 08, 2021 02:26:54

OverDrive Product Record

images
    • cover:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-100/2390-1/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img100.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • thumbnail:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-200/2390-1/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img200.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • cover150Wide:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-150/2390-1/373/0A5/63/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img150.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • cover300Wide:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-400/2390-1/373/0A5/63/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img400.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
formats
      • identifiers:
            • type: ISBN
            • value: 9781555979102
      • name: Adobe EPUB eBook
      • id: ebook-epub-adobe
      • identifiers:
            • type: ASIN
            • value: B015CKNY3M
      • name: Kindle Book
      • id: ebook-kindle
      • identifiers:
            • type: ISBN
            • value: 9781555979102
      • name: OverDrive Read
      • id: ebook-overdrive
mediaType
eBook
primaryCreator
    • role: Author
    • name: Sven Birkerts
title
Changing the Subject
dateAdded
2016-12-01T14:38:11.993-05:00
contentDetails
      • href: https://link.overdrive.com/?websiteID=141&titleID=2395119
      • type: text/html
      • account:
          • name: Sacramento Public Library (CA)
          • id: 1151
sortTitle
Changing the Subject Art and Attention in the Internet Age
crossRefId
2395119
subtitle
Art and Attention in the Internet Age
id
3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66
starRating
3.5

OverDrive MetaData

isPublicDomain
False
images
    • cover:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-100/2390-1/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img100.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • thumbnail:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-200/2390-1/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img200.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • cover150Wide:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-150/2390-1/373/0A5/63/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img150.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
    • cover300Wide:
        • href: https://img1.od-cdn.com/ImageType-400/2390-1/373/0A5/63/{3730A563-16DD-4628-938A-22CECD9A4A66}Img400.jpg
        • type: image/jpeg
isPublicPerformanceAllowed
False
formats
      • fileName: ChangingtheSubjectArtandAttentioninth9781555979102
      • partCount: 0
      • fileSize: 2443522
      • identifiers:
            • type: ISBN
            • value: 9781555979102
      • rights:
            • type: Copying
            • value: 0
            • type: Printing
            • value: 0
            • type: Lending
            • value: 0
            • type: ReadAloud
            • value: 0
            • type: ExpirationRights
            • value: 0
      • name: Adobe EPUB eBook
      • id: ebook-epub-adobe
      • onSaleDate: 10/06/2015
      • samples:
            • source: From the book
            • formatType: ebook-overdrive
            • url: https://samples.overdrive.com/?crid=3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66&.epub-sample.overdrive.com
      • fileName: ChangingtheSubjectArtandAttentioninth9781555979102
      • partCount: 0
      • fileSize: 0
      • identifiers:
            • type: ASIN
            • value: B015CKNY3M
      • name: Kindle Book
      • id: ebook-kindle
      • onSaleDate: 10/06/2015
      • samples:
            • source: From the book
            • formatType: ebook-overdrive
            • url: https://samples.overdrive.com/?crid=3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66&.epub-sample.overdrive.com
      • fileName: ChangingtheSubjectArtandAttentioninth9781555979102
      • partCount: 0
      • fileSize: 2443522
      • identifiers:
            • type: ISBN
            • value: 9781555979102
      • name: OverDrive Read
      • id: ebook-overdrive
      • onSaleDate: 10/06/2015
      • samples:
            • source: From the book
            • formatType: ebook-overdrive
            • url: https://samples.overdrive.com/?crid=3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66&.epub-sample.overdrive.com
languages
      • code: en
      • name: English
keywords
      • value: General
creators
      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Birkerts, Sven
      • bioText: Sven 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.
      • name: Sven Birkerts
subjects
      • value: Literary Criticism
      • value: Technology
      • value: Nonfiction
publishDate
2015-10-06T00:00:00-04:00
publishDateText
10/06/2015
mediaType
eBook
shortDescription

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...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Changing the Subject
fullDescription

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.

sortTitle
Changing the Subject Art and Attention in the Internet Age
crossRefId
2395119
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 10, 2015
        In this anxious and rapturous book of essays, all previously published in literary magazines, Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies) posits the decline of “literary reading” and argues that the importance of the individual—the subjective “I” so central to Enlightenment culture—diminishes along with it. For Birkerts, the value in reading imaginative writing (fiction, poetry, even certain essays) doesn’t lie in the accumulation of plots or perspectives, but the exercise of empathetic attention. Increasingly sophisticated technologies, he fears, are irreversibly rewiring our brains in such a way that dissolves contemplation in the acid anxiety of the Internet’s endless possibility—the daily news cycle, social media, instant entertainment, and the knowledge that with your smartphone you can reach and be reached at any time. The present (not to mention the future) is more like Jorge Luis Borges’s vertiginous “library of Babel” than the rosy prognostications of the “digerati,” as Birkerts calls tech entrepreneurs, journalists, digital librarians, and (groan) young people. Birkerts has a knack for vividly conveying the phenomenology of reading fiction, and, drawing on the work of the Romantics, is convincing on the topic of its moral value. At the same time, he might do well to show he knows that reading novels was not so long ago condescended to as an unserious, even morally hazardous, activity.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2015
        A literary critic questions the effect of digital technology on minds, literature, and creativity. Although he uses computers, email, and GPS, Birkerts (The Other Walk: Essays, 2011, etc.), director of the Bennington Writing Seminars and editor of the literary journal AGNI at Boston University, wonders how those technologies have changed both the content they convey and users' connections to "the unmediated world...are these fabulous gains of access and ease really given without a counterbalancing sacrifice?" That choice of the word "sacrifice" reflects the author's suspicion, reiterated in many of these previously published essays, that "new technologies and behaviors have a way of encroaching almost visibly" to change the way we think-usually for the worst. When we use a search engine, he asserts, "we give over any real sense of control over our contexts...making ourselves that much more fit to be nodes in a larger system, that much less our independent selves." When we use GPS, we risk "floating weightlessly from here to there without a strong notion of origins or destination." Birkerts points to studies in neuroscience that find "short-term adaptations and neural reconfigurings" as a result of "digital expansion." Long-term effects, he acknowledges, are still unknown. The author worries, especially about the possibility that imagination may become compromised "every time another digital prosthesis appears and puts another thin layer of sheathing between ourselves and the essential givens of our existence." He also worries that these prostheses give us a skewed sense of agency and power; in his opinion, agency is being diminished: "If being a Luddite has come to mean refusing to rubber-stamp without questioning everything that passes for progress, then where do I sign up?" Following the visual paths of paintings, listening intently to a musical composition, and reading books, he insists, are analogous to prayer. Cogent and thoughtful, if nostalgic, essays urging our attention not to iPads and smartphones but to art.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2015

        For Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies), agency once meant something as simple as brushing dust from the needle of a record player and setting it to play once more. It meant mapping one's own road, sans GPS, or setting aside distractions to sink into the imaginary world found in a book. Like Susan Greenfield (Mind Change) and other technology skeptics, Birkerts argues in this collection of essays that humanity is evolving a less than desirable pattern of thought and behavior as we uncritically accept new technologies. Birkerts points to the plasticity of the human brain and suggests that we must, necessarily, be changed for the worse by our twitchy texting, googling, and e-reading. He makes his argument most compellingly as he describes his experience as a reader--how the physical text allows him to pursue a sustained thought, a unique reflection that leads to his own creative act. Birkerts warns that society will lose a great deal if it no longer cultivates focus, introspection, and individuality by encouraging its members to step off the grid and imagine a little for themselves. VERDICT Recommended for readers seeking a literary take on the philosophy and psychology of technological change.--Talea Anderson, College Place, WA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 1, 2015
        There is little doubt that the twenty-first century will be henceforth known as the digital age. Smartphones, tablets, and e-readers are ubiquitous; Google Search and Wikipedia have forever changed the way information, if not knowledge, is gained. But has this immediate connectivity and instantaneous gratification improved humanity? Or has it weakened the ability to focus, engage, and absorb on a more meaningful level? In essays that explore the disconcerting presence of GPS navigation, Siri's seductive helpfulness, impermanence of imaginative impulses, and loss of the attention span required to lose oneself in a good book, Birkerts extends the examination of technophilia that began with his prophetic The Gutenberg Elegies (1994). Birkerts is not categorically opposed to new technology, a subject he gamely embraces in It's Not Because I'm a Cranky Luddite, I Swear! Rather, he recognizes that while much is gained, some things may be irrevocably lost as we rely on machines to perform essential human functions. Erudite and entertaining, Birkerts offers a perspective on the techno-human interface that will resonate with all who question the omnipresence of digital technology.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

subtitle
Art and Attention in the Internet Age
popularity
22
publisher
Graywolf Press
links
    • self:
        • href: https://api.overdrive.com/v1/collections/v1L1BWwAAAA2I/products/3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66/metadata
        • type: application/vnd.overdrive.api+json
id
3730a563-16dd-4628-938a-22cecd9a4a66
starRating
3.5