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  • Colors of Error: Innovation and Failure from Plato to Digital Signal Processing

    Carolyn L. Kane

    Chapter from the book: Kane, C. 2019. High-Tech Trash: Glitch, Noise, and Aesthetic Failure.


    Think only success and ye shall find. So go the anachronistic dictates of corporate capital from the industrial era to post-Fordism. Over half a century later, we no longer live in a society guaranteeing anything resembling the American dream. Instead, failure colors too many facets of life, from business to personal well-being, despite ongoing efforts to push it aside. A larger problem emerges when we acknowledge that failure has existed as an attribute of human existence for millennia, and, the more it is denied, the stronger and more threatening it becomes. This chapter explores these claims through the history of Western philosophy and case studies from modern American industry. It proposes that error, failure, and accident are intimately related and, second, have always been intrinsic to human life and communication. Further, in an era of digital signal processing (DSP), information overload, and the frenzied pursuit of “innovation,” failure phenomena have become primary actors that can no longer be ignored or given merely fashionable lip service.

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    Kane, C. 2019. Colors of Error: Innovation and Failure from Plato to Digital Signal Processing. In: Kane, C, High-Tech Trash. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.83.b

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    Published on Dec. 17, 2019