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Video: Tim Carmody, “The Dictatorial Perpendicular: Walter Benjamin’s Reading Revolution”

We don’t usually think about reading as a three-dimensional activity, but something that happens on flat surfaces: pages, walls, cards, signs, screens. In this presentation by Tim Carmody, we’ll try to think about the history of media in terms of these spatial grammars, and point to how new experiments in user interfaces both draw on and confound those expectations.

Tim Carmody, "The Dictatorial Perpendicular: Walter Benjamin’s Reading Revolution"


About the Speaker

Tim Carmody has a PhD in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as a postdoctoral fellow, studying the history of writing and media theory.

In 2010, he left the academy to become a full-time technology and culture journalist, joining and writing for The Atlantic,, MIT Technology Review, Nieman Journalism Lab, and HiLobrow. He also blogs about ideas & journalism at Snarkmarket, pop culture at The Idler, and the history and future of reading at

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