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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf: ‘Dawn of the New Everything’ – Jaron Lanier

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality

by Jaron Lanier

“Essential reading, not just for VR-watchers but for anyone interested in how society came to be how it is, and what it might yet become.”  ―The Economist

Named one of the best books of 2017 by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, & Vox

The father of virtual reality explains its dazzling possibilities by reflecting on his own lifelong relationship with technology

Bridging the gap between tech mania and the experience of being inside the human body, Dawn of the New Everything is a look at what it means to be human at a moment of unprecedented technological possibility.

Through a fascinating look back over his life in technology, Jaron Lanier, an interdisciplinary scientist and father of the term “virtual reality,” exposes VR’s ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of our species, and gives readers a new perspective on how the brain and body connect to the world. An inventive blend of autobiography, science writing, philosophy and advice, this book tells the wild story of his personal and professional life as a scientist, from his childhood in the UFO territory of New Mexico, to the loss of his mother, the founding of the first start-up, and finally becoming a world-renowned technological guru.

Understanding virtual reality as being both a scientific and cultural adventure, Lanier demonstrates it to be a humanistic setting for technology. While his previous books offered a more critical view of social media and other manifestations of technology, in this book he argues that virtual reality can actually make our lives richer and fuller.

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“A highly eccentric memoir that traces the author’s quest for VR back to its roots, not as some sort of geeky engineering challenge but as a feeling he had as a child of being overwhelmed by the magic of the universe.”  ―The Wall Street Journal

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“Intimate and idiosyncratic . . . quirky and fascinating . . . Lanier’s vivid and creative imagination is a distinct character in this book . . . His vision is humanistic, and he insists that the most important goal of developing virtual reality is a human connection.”  ―Cathy O’Neil, The New York Times Book Review

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Art Book Shelf Magic Magic Performing Arts Recommended Reading List Variety Arts Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Conjuring Asia – Magic, Orientalism”

Conjuring Asia

The promise of magic has always commanded the human imagination, but the story of industrial modernity is usually seen as a process of disenchantment. Drawing on the writings and performances of the so-called ‘Golden Age Magicians’ from the turn of the twentieth century, Chris Goto-Jones unveils the ways in which European and North American encounters with (and representations of) Asia – the fabled Mystic East – worked to re-enchant experiences of the modern world. Beginning with a reconceptualization of the meaning of ‘modern magic’ itself – moving beyond conventional categories of ‘real’ and ‘fake’ magic – Goto-Jones‘ acclaimed book guides us on a magical mystery tour around India, China and Japan, showing us levitations and decapitations, magic duels and bullet catches, goldfish bowls and paper butterflies. In the end, this mesmerizing book reveals Orientalism as a kind of magic in itself, casting a spell over Western culture that leaves it transformed even today.
“If magic is the art of accomplishing the impossible, Goto-Jones emerges as a scholar-magician: a wonder-full book!” 
Derren Brown, mentalist and illusionist

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Book Shelf Magic Magic

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Magic and Loss – The Internet as Art”

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Just as Susan Sontag did for photography and Marshall McLuhan did for television, Virginia Heffernan (called one of the “best living writers of English prose”) reveals the logic and aesthetics behind the Internet.
Since its inception, the Internet has morphed from merely an extension of traditional media into its own full-fledged civilization. It is among mankind’s great masterpieces—a massive work of art. As an idea, it rivals monotheism. We all inhabit this fascinating place. But its deep logic, its cultural potential, and its societal impact often elude us. In this deep and thoughtful book, Virginia Heffernan presents an original and far-reaching analysis of what the Internet is and does.
Life online, in the highly visual, social, portable, and global incarnation rewards certain virtues. The new medium favors speed, accuracy, wit, prolificacy, and versatility, and its form and functions are changing how we perceive, experience, and understand the world.
“Readers will be enthralled by Heffernan’s unique take on this popular entity. Tech-savvy readers will be drawn to this book, but the concept of technology as creative expression should also entice art lovers. Most important, readers will be encouraged to appreciate the Internet not only for its ability to connect us to one another and information but also for its beauty.”—Library Journal
“Heffernan is a new species of wizard, able to perform literary magic upon supersonic technology. Her superpower is to remove the technology from technology, leaving the essential art. You might get an epiphany, like I did, of what a masterpiece this internet thing is. Heffernan has the cure for the small thinking that everyday hardware often produces. She generates marvelous insights at the speed of light, warmed up by her well-worn classical soul. It’s a joy and revelation to be under her spell.”—Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants and co-founder of Wired
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Book Shelf Cinema Magic Silent Film

The Vaudevisuals Book Shelf – “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Colin Williamson

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Williamson offers an insightful, wide-ranging investigation of how the cinema has functioned as a “device of wonder” for more than a century while also exploring how several key filmmakers, from Orson Welles to Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese, employ the rhetoric of magic. Examining pre-cinematic visual culture, animation, nonfiction film, and the digital trickery of today’s CGI spectacles, Hidden in Plain Sight provides an eye-opening look at the powerful ways that magic has shaped our modes of perception and our experiences of the cinema.

“Fresh and intriguing, Hidden in Plain Sight offers a wealth of fascinating historical information on the myriad ways and contexts in which moving images have evoked experiences of wonder from audiences. Williamson’s interest in the material is infectious.”

—Stephen Prince, author of Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality

“In answering questions that date back, at least, a century in movie-making, Williamson looks at how movie magic has inspired people to learn more about the techniques and technology behind the images. “
—Flicksided
Purchase the book here.