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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A cold war internet architected in the WWI Vorticist revolution Maughan, Cynthia

Abstract

Can poetic theories designed to overcome poetic communication problems be used to solve data communication problems? Does data communications have an aesthetic and is it undergoing the same historical shifts to refine its communications in the steps of poetic theories? These are the questions that were asked in an investigation and comparison of the problems, motivations and solutions of Vorticist poetic theories, and the historical accounts of the invention of the Internet. The conclusion of this thesis is that the deep structure revolution of the WWI, Vorticist poetic theories recurred in the Cold War era design of the 1960s internet architecture. Specifically, it was the poetic theories of Vorticism designed by the engineering mind and Chinese language efficiencies of Ezra Pound, which had blasted the voice and symbol-based, central authority of the heroic post-Romantic poet, into a discrete, compressed communication aesthetic of rushing ideas between peer nodal vortexes, that recurred in the design of the Internet. It was when Vorticism was at the height of recognition in 1960s academic circles, and data communications was simultaneously seeking solutions to develop a new architecture, that data communication architects resolved "Romantic" telephony and mainframe communication problems in the historical revolutionary path of Vorticism.

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