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March 08, 2014

A Lunch BIT from Interface Fantasy by André Nusselder

Posted by: Susan Mai

The idea that Lacan’s psychoanalytical theories might be useful in the current debates about cyberspace and digital technologies is an interesting idea which is tackled by Andre Nusselder in Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology.  He finds that Lacanian psychoanalysis considers fantasy to be an indispensable "screen" for our interaction with the outside world and argues that, at the mental level, computer screens and other human-computer interfaces incorporate this function of fantasy: they mediate the real and the virtual.

Philosophy in Review provides a thorough look at the book:

Interface Fantasy has two interrelated aims: firstly, to ‘update’ the ‘Lacanian subject’ in the age of information, and conversely to explore how psychoanalytical concepts of fantasy can provide a means for thinking about digital technology. This two-way approach proves creative of new insights, although it can also tend to obscure the deliberately nebulous Lacan beneath a ‘Lacanian’ perspective made virtually concrete. André Nusselder draws on recent scholars who have productively explored the relation of psychoanalytical theories to new technologies and media, including Sherry Turkle and Žižek, the series editor, as well as drawing more generally on a wide range of recent works that analyse human computer interactions and the effects of digital technologies. The book also relates these more recent works to a broad historical sweep of philosophical theories on technology, capably bringing to the discussion relevant notions from the works of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Heidegger and Kant.

Fantasy and the Virtual Mind: A BIT of Interface Fantasy illuminates our attachment to new media: why we love our devices; why we are fascinated by the images on their screens; and how it is possible that virtual images can provide physical pleasure. 

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