An Intellectual History
Multidisciplinary explorations of the antecedents to cyberculture through examinations of key historical texts, from Plato to Arthur C. Clarke.
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. This book is not for sale in Australia and New Zealand
HardcoverOut of Print ISBN: 9780262201452 328 pp. | 10 in x 8.5 in 10 color illus.
PaperbackOut of Print ISBN: 9780262701082 328 pp. | 10 in x 8.5 in 10 color illus.
Hardcover not for sale in Australia.
Engaging, challenging, and rewarding....This collection is a considerable achievement.
Engaging, challenging, and rewarding... This collection is a considerable achievement.
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 together—the capacity to be surprised in the belly of the monster.
Professor, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz and author of The Cyborg Manifesto and Modest Witness@Second_Millennium