[SIGCIS-Members] Fwd: Interfaces - Cultural Networks: Infrastructural Implications of AT&T’s Picturephone

Jeffrey Yost yostx003 at umn.edu
Wed Sep 23 15:32:37 PDT 2020

Dear Colleagues,

About 4 months ago, I sent a message on CBI's launch of *Interfaces: Essays
and Reviews in Computing and Culture *with the publication of its first
essay, and encouraged people to join the CBI list, many have, some are on
it from before.  If you are not/have not, we just published our 5th essay
article (continuous publication) and you can find a link below. As we
publish one essay about every 3.5 to 4 weeks, or about 12 to 14 a year, we
are not sending notices to SIGCIS each time, but encourage you to sign
up/subscribe (free of course), see below.

I, however, did want to send a reminder now with this fascinating and
insightful new article by Ph.D. student in Communication Univ. of
Colorado's Malinda  Dietrich.  Dietrich contextualizes the  AT&T
picturephone of a half century ago with special attention to business,
cultural, and infrastructural change over time with video calls.  It, like
the essay published several weeks ago by CBI Senior Research Fellow Jim
Cortada on IBM's century-plus of mobile work (terrific to see and read of
the Motorola "Brick" the IBM sales force and field engineers used), are
especially timely in tying history to our work worlds from home, and
frequent Zoom meetings.

We encourage you to not only read *Interfaces*, but to publish in it--to
submit a manuscript (about 2,000 to 3,000 words) to our interdisciplinary
short essay journal. Essay submissions must have some meaningful focus on
IT's past (recent or distant). We especially encourage work from those in
sociology, anthropology, communication, history, media studies, information
studies/sciences, archives, curation, computer science, policy studies,
economics, social informatics, geography, and other fields. Please contact
myself (yostx003 at umn.edu) or Amanda Wick (abwick at umn.edu), *Interfaces*'
co-editors, with an essay manuscript, questions, or just to bounce an idea
off one of us.

Best, Jeff

*"Injustice wears the same harsh face wherever it shows itself."*-Ralph

Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D.
Director, Charles Babbage Institute
Research Professor, Program in the History of Science, Technology, and

222  21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Interfaces: Essays and Reviews in Computing and Culture from the Charles
Babbage Institute
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Essays and Reviews in Computing & Culture
*Interfaces publishes short essay articles and essay reviews connecting the
history of computing/IT studies with contemporary social, cultural,
political, economic, or environmental issues. It seeks to be an interface
between disciplines, and between academics and broader audiences. *
Editors: Jeffrey R. Yost <yostx003 at umn.edu> and Amanda Wick <abwick at umn.edu>

*Cultural Networks: Infrastructural Implications of AT&T’s Picturephone*
Malinda Dietrich, University of Colorado, Boulder
More than half a century ago, Bell Laboratories, the research branch of
AT&T, unveiled its “Picturephone”, an early iteration of today’s video
calls. While technically it worked, it completed the job it was supposed
to, its design, the cost of use and the lack of interest in the
Picturephone kept it from taking off.

More so, it was doomed to fail because of whom AT&T thought it should be
targeted to. This edition of *Interfaces* discusses the use of the
Picturephone during the second half of the 20th century as both an
historical artifact and an opportunity for us to speak through cultural
relations to infrastructure.

 *Read more.*

*Just Code Symposium*
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October 19. *

*Register today!*
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