The vast social apparatus of the computer network has aligned people with technology in unprecedented ways. The intimacy of the human-computer interface has made it impossible to distinguish technology from the social and cultural business of being human. Cyberculture is the broader name given to this process of becoming through technological means. This book shows that cyberculture has been a long time coming.
In Prefiguring Cyberculture, media critics and theorists, philosophers, and historians of science explore the antecedents of such aspects of contemporary technological culture as the Internet, the World Wide Web, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, virtual reality, and the cyborg. The contributors examine key texts that anticipate cybercultural practice and theory, including Plato's "Simile of the Cave"; the Renaissance Ars Memoria; Descartes's Meditations (on the mind-body split); Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Alan Turing's Computing Machinery and Intelligence; Philip K. Dick's Man, Android, and Machine; William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Arthur C. Clarke's Profiles of the Future. In the final section, a number of cyberculture artists explore how cybercultural themes have been taken up and critiqued in the electronic arts.
Russell Blackford, Damien Broderick, Justine Cooper, Francesca da Rimini, Char Davies, Erik Davis, Mark Dery, Troy Innocent, Stephen Jones, Evelyn Fox Keller, VNS Matrix, Bruce Mazlish, Jon McCormack, Scott McQuire, Simon Penny, Patricia Piccinini, John Potts, Richard Slaughter, Zoe Sofoulis, Stelarc, John Sutton, Donald Theall, Gregory Ulmer, Samuel Umland, Catherine Waldby, McKenzie Wark, Margaret Wertheim, Karl Wessel, Elizabeth A. Wilson.
About the Editors
Darren Tofts is Chair of Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.
Annemarie Jonson teaches in the Arts Informatics Program at the University of Sydney.
Alessio Cavallaro is a producer and curator of new media projects at the Australian Center for the Moving Image in Melbourne.
"Engaging, challenging, and rewarding... This collection is a considerable achievement.", Mitchell Whitelaw, RealTime
"Engaging, challenging, and rewarding... This collection is a considerable achievement." Mitchell Whitelaw RealTime
"Cyberculture has a history, a deeply layered and non-teleological history, a history full of surprises both good and bad, a history replete with consequences for what it means to speak of the human in 'informatic' or 'post-human' idioms. This passionate, multi-lobed conviction is the generative organ of this wonderful book. The shapes of history matter here as much as its temporalities, as much as its subjectivities. Indeed, shape, time, and subject mutually reconfigure each other in the prefigurings in fiction, science, and technology that this book explores. Prefiguring Cyberculture explores what the editors call the 'continuous present tense.' That is the always unfinished time in which classifications of what may count as human and nonhuman morph within lived technologies that bear the stigmata of the signifying monster called information. Reading this book is an exercise in reconfiguring how we see how we are in this formation called cyberculture. In the process, readers enjoy what binds the authors and editors togetherthe capacity to be surprised in the belly of the monster."
Donna Haraway, Professor, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz and author of The Cyborg Manifesto and Modest Witness@Second_Millennium