All posts by Lai-Tze Fan

Hi, I’m Lai-Tze. I’m a Postdoctoral Fellow at Concordia University, housed in the Department of English and the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology. Twitter: @lychee_fan

Deform, Destroy, Erase: On the Residue of Cultural Techniques

I find myself pondering over probing as an analytical exercise in which things–here, ideas, texts, media objects, to name a few–are handled and investigated, gently quite gently, in hopes that they offer something back in substance, whether it’s answers or questions. And I can’t help but turn to a book of probes for an example of how to structure this: Marshall McLuhan’s Book of Probes (2003), in fact–a text that could belong in any media classroom as well as on top of any coffee table for its probey photographs (often featuring pointy probe-like items like cactuses that look like fingers) and single, grandiose aphorisms-per-page. His observations about media, literacy, and culture probe and puncture, not at all gently, but like...

/ May 24, 2017

Gesturing Towards Writing: Reflecting upon Inscription using Terrible Keyboards

I write about writing. My interest in writing interfaces made me hone in on the Residual Media Depot’s Aquarius home computer (came out in 1983), Atari 500 (1979), and the Commodore VIC-20 (1980; currently doesn’t work). I tested out the Aquarius in the Depot by typing out some of the code programs, and I noted how difficult the keyboard was to use: it has a kind of gummy material that offers little in terms of tactile “give,” and the placement of keys is unlike that of modern QWERTY keyboards. Later, I spoke to Darren Wershler about this keyboard: might its shittiness have anything to do with why the Aquarius was so quickly discontinued (4 — 5 months after it was...

/ May 22, 2017