In re: skin, scholars, essayists and short story writers offer their perspectives on skin--as boundary and surface, as metaphor and physical reality. The twenty-first century and its attendant technology call for a new investigation of the intersection of body, skin, and technology. These cutting-edge writings address themes of skin and bodily transformation in an era in which we are able not only to modify our own skins--by plastic surgery, tattooing, skin graft art, and other methods--but to cross skins, merging with other bodies or colonizing multiple bodies.The book's agile crossings of disciplinary and genre boundaries enact the very transformations they discuss. A short story imagines a manufactured maternal interface that allows a man to become pregnant, and a scholar describes the evolution of "body criticism"; a writer uses "faux science" to explore animal prints on faux fur, and fictional lovers experience one another's sexual sensations through the slipping on and off of skin-like bodysuits. Ubiquitous computational interfaces are considered as the "skin" of technology, and questions of race and color are shown to play out in digital art practice. The essays and narratives gathered in re: skin claim that the new technologically mutable body is neither purely liberating nor simply limiting; instead, these pieces show us models, ways of living in a technological culture.Contributors:Austin Booth, Rebecca Cannon, Model T and Sara D(iamond), L. Timmel Duchamp, Mary Flanagan, Jewelle Gomez, Jennifer Gonzalez, Nalo Hopkinson, Alice Imperiale, Shelley Jackson, Christina Lammer, David J. Leonard, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Melinda Rackham, Vivian Sobchack, Elisabeth Vonarburg, Bernadette Wegenstein
Most writing on cyberculture is dominated by two almost mutually exclusive visions: the heroic image of the male outlaw hacker and the utopian myth of a gender-free cyberworld. Reload offers an alternative picture of cyberspace as a complex and contradictory place where there is oppression as well as liberation. It shows how cyberpunk's revolutionary claims conceal its ultimate conservatism on matters of class, gender, and race. The cyberfeminists writing here view cyberculture as a social experiment with an as-yet-unfulfilled potential to create new identities, relationships, and cultures.
The book brings together women's cyberfiction—fiction that explores the relationship between people and virtual technologies—and feminist theoretical and critical investigations of gender and technoculture. From a variety of viewpoints, the writers consider the effects of rapid and profound technological change on culture, in particular both the revolutionary and reactionary effects of cyberculture on women’s lives. They also explore the feminist implications of the cyborg, a human-machine hybrid. The writers challenge the conceptual and institutional rifts between high and low culture, which are embedded in the texts and artifacts of cyberculture.