Remote Control: Recommended reading

A special selection from the Bookshop's recommended reading and viewing to accompany our current exhibition, Remote control. The shop is now open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm.

ICA Shop

18 Apr 2012

A special selection from the Bookshop's recommended reading and viewing to accompany our current exhibition, Remote Control. The shop is now open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm, so please drop in and browse our new stock.

Optical Media
Friedrich Kittler

Optical Media is Kittler’s most accessible book, a must for the uninitiated (pre-fan). It travels from Renaissance painting to computer simulation, taking in a history of optical media on the way. Witty, insightful, provocative, at times outrageous, but always stimulating.

Art and Electronic Media
Edward A. Shanken

This book gives the perfect grounding on a subject which is progressing and morphing at a breakneck, dizzying speed, Light, robotics, virtual reality and the web are just a small portion of what is studied in this landmark Phaidon survey. It includes work by over 150 artists (including Bruce Nauman, inspiration for the ICA’s next sound exhibition).

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
Tim Wu

This is neither a business book, nor a history book, nor a novel but it has the best elements of all three. After the chaos that follows a major technological innovation (radio, telephone), a corporate power intervenes and centralizes control of the new medium - the master switch. Is the internet next?

Joe Pickett & Nick Prueher

These two gentlemen dedicated 20 years to collecting the best/worst, unintentionally appalling videotapes ever produced. The kind of thing that makes Howard the Duck look highbrow. This handsome compendium brings all the covers together into one place. 272 pages, nearly every page is full-colour and ridiculous.

Decoys and Disruptions
Martha Rosler

Rosler has been an influential artist, cultural critic and theorist for over twenty-five years. With a mixture of analysis and wit, the writings collected here address such topics as documentary, photography, feminist art, video, censorship, and the future of digitally based photographic media. The book also includes an absolutely fascinating collection of photographs.

On Television
Pierre Bourdieu

This book damns television as an enemy of critical discourse and a tool of social control that reinforces the status quo by decontextualising events and fostering ignorance and passivity. He probably hadn’t seen TV Burp. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that the appendix of this book is on The Olympics (on television). Topical stuff Bourdieu!

Raymond Williams

A true classic, this is the founding text of television studies. First published in 1974, Williams’ book is just as riveting and fascinating today. His criticisms of McLuhan are as devastating today as they were 40 years ago, which brings us onto our next book:

Understanding Media
Marshal McLuhan

Here is Marshal McLuhan in Annie Hall. Need we say more? Yes. Well, back in 1964 while “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” was playing on every radio, Marshal was considered to be a babbling madman for coining phrases such as “global village.” This remains the most important book written on communication.

Adrian Piper: Race, Gender, and Embodiment
John Bowles

John Bowles briefly explains Adrian Piper’s excellent work in this clip. Over the course of a decade, John P. Bowles and Piper conversed about her art and its meaning, reception, and relation to her scholarship on Kant’s philosophy. Drawing on those conversations, Bowles locates Piper’s work (performance, video, text, photography) at the nexus of Conceptual and feminist art of the late 1960s and 1970s.

Search (documenta 13 notebook no 035)
Matias Faldbakken

From the excellent (and cheap!) series of small Documenta books, Matias fearlessly presents a selection of his online browsing history for all to see. A sort of brazen conceptual explorer’s diary of butchered haikus.



What do you do when your child seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television?

Beyond Language
George Barber
£19.99 A pioneer of British video art, Barber was once described in Art Monthly as ‘the Henry Ford of independent video.’ In the early ’90s, Barber created many lo-tech video pieces and was influential in defining the then emergent ‘slacker’ aesthetic. Beyond Language presents a broad selection of from the past 30 years.

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