Life in the Grid

Phillip Thurtle, Life in the Grid: Envisioning a Political Aesthetics of Life in the 21st Century, (Minneapolis: Univeristy of Minnesota Press, 2018)

This is a remarkable time in the history of biological thought. Biologists are now more than ever interested in how biological worlds are built. Central to this shift is biology’s use of images to build biological worlds as opposed to only making biological arguments. In biology, as well as other forms of technical endeavors, making has become a new way of knowing. Enabling this shift is the ubiquitous use of grids in visual design and layers in animation. These new methods for controlling the construction of images has reinvigorated a philosophy of the organism as emergent from formal relationships and material constraints. Life in the Grid investigates the values of this shift in biology by looking at the origin of these visualization practices in entertainment, advertising, and special effects and their consequences for a robust political theory of life.