Peter Krapp, Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture

Peter Krapp

Univ Of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-0816676255, 216 pages, 2011, English
If we apply Claude Shannon’s theory of communication (and his renowned diagram) to different creative processes we could end up with finding “noise” (at large) in various sectors of culture produced with digital means. This book discusses digital culture in various embodiments, focusing, mostly theoretically, on this kind of noise, better understood as “limitations” in the transmission of computer mediated communication. The “non-destructive” quality of noise is a premise and its presence in communication channels seems to be vast. In this book the chapter titles work often only as a starting point for a more general discourse which channels more philosophical considerations concerning how the general use of computers implies the involvement of certain types of codified gestures (especially in games) and cultural modalities that access and interact with raw data. So “glitch”, for example, the first word in the subtitle, is actually discussed in a couple of chapters (error in games and art, and in music), but it’s just one of the embodiments of noise (though probably its most aesthetic symbol). Throughout the book the author confronts and criticizes the positions and claims of theorists and innovators on topics like literature, secret communication, computer games and machinima, supporting the assertions discussing various related classic digital and internet-based artworks. “Noise”, then, loses its disruptive character, becoming an active part in transmission and acquiring a different subtle legitimation.