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Peter Krapp - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Peter Krapp

Professor, Film & Media Studies | UC Irvine


Expertise in: Secret communications & cryptologic history; cultural memory and media history; history of computing & simulations



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Peter Krapp is Professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and there also affiliated with the Departments of English, Music (Claire Trevor School of the Arts), and Informatics (Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science). He studied in Germany, Britain, and the USA, and taught at the University of Minnesota and at Bard College before coming to Irvine; since then he held visiting positions in Taiwan, South Africa, Germany, and Brazil. At UC Irvine, he has served as department chair and as chair of the Academic Senate. Among his main publications are Deja Vu: Aberrations of Cultural Memory (2004), Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture (2011), and the forthcoming book Feedback: Reading Game Industry Circuits (2021); he was also an editor of Medium Cool (2002) as well as of the Handbook Language-Culture-Communication (2013). His main research areas are: secret communications and cybernetics (cryptologic history); cultural memory and media history (games and simulations, history of computing); aesthetic communication (title design, film music).

Areas of Expertise (8)

Media History

Cultural Memory

Aesthetic Communication

Cryptologic History

Secret Communications

Games and Simulations

Philosophy of Media

History of Computing

Accomplishments (2)

Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Award for Service (professional)

2011-12 UC Irvine Academic Senate

CORCL Research Award (professional)

March 2010 UC Irvine

Education (3)

University of California, Santa Barbara: PhD, German & Comparative Literature 2000

University of Stirling, Scotland: MPhil, English Literature 1994

University of Bonn: BA, English, Philosophy, Musicology, Religious Studies 1991

Affiliations (4)

  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • National Communications Association (NCA)
  • Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft (GfM)

Media Appearances (7)

ChatGPT is suddenly everywhere. Are we ready?

Engadget  online


ATGs, [automated text generation], like ChatGPT remix text passages plucked from their training data to output suspiciously realistic, albeit frequently pedestrian, prose. “They're trained on a very large amount of input,” Dr. Peter Krapp, Professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, told Engadget. “What results is more or less… an average of that input. It's never going to impress us with being exceptional or particularly apt or beautiful or skilled. It's always going to be kind of competent — to the extent that we all collectively are somewhat competent in using language to express ourselves.”

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Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

The Conversation  online


Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together.

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Will Spotify and Apple Music soon be forced to jack up their prices?

Mashable  online


In fact, UC Irvine media studies professor Peter Krapp told Mashable it would take about 4 million Spotify streams for a songwriter to make minimum wage in California over the course of a month.

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Commentary: Net neutrality vote will require users to 'pay to play'

LA Times  online


Net neutrality vote will require users to 'pay to play'.

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Culture-defining iPhone turns 10

USA Today  online


"The engineering is in the background, so the front end is really easy to use, with just a swipe or a poke of the finger," says Peter Krapp, professor of film & media studies at the University of California, Irvine. “That’s the success of the iPhone and why it’s has been so colonizing over the last decade.”

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The most reliable source of piracy: the Hollywood PR machine

Scroll.in  online


No doubt the costly marketing, advertising and promotion campaigns for big-budget films are far more sophisticated than a simple leak that generates attention. Nonetheless, considering the crucial role PR screeners play in promoting films, the industry might see piracy as a cost of doing business, if neither the number of movies made nor their profits are dented by piracy.

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UCLA shooting prompts concern for faculty training on aggressive students

KPCC  online


“There are people who said, you know, ‘Oh my goodness, now we are not only going to be worried about current students and colleagues, now we also have to worry about former students,” said Peter Krapp, department chair of Film and Media Studies at U.C. Irvine.

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Event Appearances (2)

Opening lecture of the 16th Image Week debates the glitch beyond digital error



Virtual Espionage

GCHQ and NSA take on MMOs  Stanford University

Articles (8)

Noise and Error in Contemporary Technoculture – An Interview with Peter Krapp

Spheres Journal for Digital Cultures

2019 On our questioning, we approach Krapp to discuss themes such as the ergonomic principles which play a central role in graphical user interfaces infrastructural development, the aestheticization of error in digital culture, and the unstable relationship between noise ratio and technological conditions in digital music production.

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Beyond Schlock on Screen: Teaching the History of Cryptology Through Media Representations of Secret Communications

Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Historical Cryptology

Peter Krapp

2019 This paper lays out the course design for, and teaching experiences with, a class that introduces students in the humanities to the history of cryptology, with particular attention to film and media studies. The course covers principles of secret communication from ancient times to the 2 I81 century, and encourages students to develop creative solutions that may help portray computing, computer networks, and cybersecurity issues in more informed and accurate ways on screen.

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Adoption of open educational resources in California colleges and universities

International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies

Ruth A. Guthrie, Katherine D. Harris, Peter Krapp

2018 The California Open Educational Resources Council (CAOERC) was formed in 2014 to find solutions to reduce the cost of college textbooks without impacting quality. Comprised of faculty from California's three public higher education systems, the CAOERC conducted a field study of 16 faculty using OER materials to discover practical knowledge about the challenges of adopting OER textbooks. The quality of the OER textbooks received positive reviews. The faculty also reported being more engaged with their teaching. The faculty felt that availability of OER support materials was a challenge to implementing OER. The following article presents the results of the CAOERC's study.

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Reading for the Noise

Journal of Visual Culture

Peter Krapp

2014 My first encounter with Marshall McLuhan's work was through an aunt studying design who told me about Jerome Agel; leafing through Herman Kahnsciousness (Agel, 1973), The Making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001 (Agel, 1970), and of course The Medium is the Massage (McLuhan with Fiore and Agel, 1967), I wondered how these noisy collages could be read?

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MMO Models: Crowd-Sourcing Economedia

Flow Journal

2013 Business models for digital culture oscillate between box-office hit and niche product; what models can media studies develop to unfold how this influences both the quality and availability of computer games? Finance draws a distinction between rational expectations that the market naturally finds to a balance: one may realize ‘beta’ in the wisdom of the crowds—and the surmise of reflexive behaviorists that the world is always subject to fluctuating imbalance: one may realize ‘alpha’ in the mass mania of the markets.

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The High Cost of Free Content: Games & Advertising

Flow Journal

2013 Contemporary computing culture is changing under the influence of mobile gaming trends, and as game developers seek new markets – not just for Facebook games or mobile games that are cheaper to develop, but also in large-scale games for thousands or even millions of online players.

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Ranks and Files: On Metacritic and Gamerankings

Flow Journal

2012 Since 2007, the US computer game industry boasts about surpassing cinema and popular music in annual dollar volume. The $19 billion market in 2007 (three times as large as a decade before) was half software and half hardware, with consoles and mobile devices taking a larger share than computers and displays. While the music industry shrank by 10% between 2002 and 2007 and the film industry remained flat, games saw growth of over 28%.

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On collegiality: Kittler models Derrida

Peter Krapp

Thesis Eleven

2011 Kittler was among the first to invite Derrida to lectures in Germany, and to translate Derrida’s texts into German. Yet a cursory tally in his references does not always do justice to what Kittler’s media theory owes to deconstruction. Discourse Networks credits Derrida with a mere ‘rediscovery’ of grammatology, although Wellbery’s foreword labors mightily to identify the deconstructive traits in Kittler’s work. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter reduces The Post Card’s complex networks to an allegation that ‘voice remains the other of typescripts' – as if Kittler had not in fact taken a much more subtle evaluation of hearing oneself speak from Derrida. What happens to the writability and citability of texts if they are sorted into such neat binary distinctions of logical or poetic orientation? What, to Kittler, is the quotability and readability of the body of work titled Derrida?

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