McKenzie Wark

McKenzie Wark (she/her), awarded the 2019 Thoma Prize for writing in digital art, is the author of A Hacker Manifesto Gamer Theory, and The Beach Beneath the Street. Wark's correspondence with Kathy Acker was published by Semiotext(e) as I'm Very Into You.

  • Reverse Cowgirl

    Reverse Cowgirl

    McKenzie Wark

    McKenzie Wark invents a new genre for another gender: not a memoir but an auto-ethnography of the opacity of the self.

    Another genre for another gender.

    What if you were trans and didn't know it? What if there were some hole in your life and you didn't even know it was there? What if you went through life not knowing why you only felt at home in your body at peak moments of drugs and sex? What if you expended your days avoiding an absence, a hole in being? Reverse Cowgirl is not exactly a memoir. The author doesn't, in the end, have any answers as to who she really is or was, although maybe she figures out what she could become.

    Traveling from Sydney in the 1980s to New York today, Reverse Cowgirl is a comedy of errors, chronicling the author's failed attempts at being gay and at being straight across the shifting political and media landscapes of the late twentieth century. Finding that the established narratives of being transgender don't seem to apply to her, Wark borrows from the genres of autofiction, fictocriticism, and new narrative to create a writing practice that can discover the form of a life outside existing accounts of trans experience: an auto-ethnography of the opacity of the self.

    • Paperback $15.95 £12.99
  • I'm Very into You

    I'm Very into You

    Correspondence 1995–1996

    Kathy Acker, McKenzie Wark, and Matias Viegener

    The tempestuous email correspondence between Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark, shimmering with insight, gossip, sex, and cultural commentary.

    “Why am I telling you all this? Partly 'cause the whole queerness/identity thing for me stretches through everything, absolutely everything. Slipping between straight/gay is child's play compared to slipping between writer/teacher/influence-peddler whatever. I forget who I am. You reminded me of who I prefer to be.” [M.W.]

    “It's two in the morning... I know what you mean about slipping roles: I love it, going high low, power helpless even captive, male female, all over the place, space totally together and brain-sharp, if it wasn't for play I'd be bored stiff and I think boredom is the emotion I find most unbearable... ” [KA]—from I'm Very into You

    After Kathy Acker met McKenzie Wark on a trip to Australia in 1995, they had a brief fling and immediately began a heated two-week email correspondence. Their emails shimmer with insight, gossip, sex, and cultural commentary. They write in a frenzy, several times a day; their emails cross somewhere over the International Date Line, and themselves become a site of analysis. What results is an index of how two brilliant and idiosyncratic writers might go about a courtship across 7,500 miles of airspace—by pulling in Alfred Hitchcock, stuffed animals, Georges Bataille, Elvis Presley, phenomenology, Marxism, The X-files, psychoanalysis, and the I Ching.

    Their corresepondence is a Plato's Symposium for the twenty-first century, but written for queers, transsexuals, nerds, and book geeks. I'm Very Into You is a text of incipience, a text of beginnings, and a set of notes on the short, shared passage of two iconic individuals of our time.

    • Paperback $14.95 £11.99

Contributor

  • Simulation, Exercise, Operations

    Simulation, Exercise, Operations

    Robin Mackay

    Collection of interventions on the status of the moving image in an age of advanced simulation, exploring the contemporary links between power, simulation, and warfare.

    This collection of wide-ranging interventions and discussions on the status of the moving image in an age of advanced simulation explores the contemporary links between power, simulation, and warfare.

    Today, technological simulation has become an integral part of military training and operations; and at the same time, media spectacle—often enabled by the same technologies—has become integrated with military power. Trained in virtual environments, army personnel are increasingly enhanced by augmented reality technologies that bring combat into conformity with its simulation. Equally, the seductions of media and entertainment have become crucial weapons for “information dominance.” At the same time as the infosphere demands that war takes on the properties of a game, hyper-realistic videogames evolved from military technology become a kind of virtual distributed training camp, as the lines between simulation and action, combatant and civilian, become blurred.

    Based on a round table discussion prompted by the work of artist John Gerrard, Simulation, Exercise, Operations assembles thinkers from philosophy, media, and military theory to examine the powers of simulation in the contemporary world.

    • Paperback $12.95 £10.99
  • The Gameful World

    The Gameful World

    Approaches, Issues, Applications

    Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding

    What if every part of our everyday life was turned into a game? The implications of “gamification.”

    What if our whole life were turned into a game? What sounds like the premise of a science fiction novel is today becoming reality as “gamification.” As more and more organizations, practices, products, and services are infused with elements from games and play to make them more engaging, we are witnessing a veritable ludification of culture.

    Yet while some celebrate gamification as a possible answer to mankind's toughest challenges and others condemn it as a marketing ruse, the question remains: what are the ramifications of this “gameful world”? Can game design energize society and individuals, or will algorithmicincentive systems become our new robot overlords?

    In this book, more than fifty luminaries from academia and industry examine the key challenges of gamification and the ludification of culture—including Ian Bogost, John M. Carroll, Bernie DeKoven, Bill Gaver, Jane McGonigal, Frank Lantz, Jesse Schell, Kevin Slavin, McKenzie Wark, and Eric Zimmerman. They outline major disciplinary approaches, including rhetorics, economics, psychology, and aesthetics; tackle issues like exploitation or privacy; and survey main application domains such as health, education, design, sustainability, or social media.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
  • Torpor, New Edition

    Torpor, New Edition

    Chris Kraus

    In 1991, unhappily married Sylvie and her husband set off on a journey across Eastern Europe in search of a Romanian orphan to adopt.

    Sylvie wanted to believe that misery could simply be replaced with happiness. Time was a straight line, stretching out before you. If you could create a golden kind of time and lay it right beside the other time, the time of horror, Bad History could just recede into the distance without ever having to be resolved.—from Torpor

    Set at the dawn of the New World Order, Chris Kraus's third novel, Torpor loops back to the beginning of the decade that was the basis of I Love Dick, her pseudo-confessional cult-classic debut. It's summer, 1991, post-MTV, pre-AOL. Jerome Shafir and Sylvie Green, two former New Yorkers who can no longer afford an East Village apartment, set off on a journey across the entire former Soviet Bloc with the specious aim of adopting a Romanian orphan. Nirvana's on the radio everywhere, and wars are erupting across Yugoslavia.

    Unhappily married to Jerome, a 53-year-old Columbia University professor who loathes academe, Sylvie thinks only of happiness. There are only two things, Sylvie thinks, that will save them: a child of their own, and the success of The Anthropology of Unhappiness, her husband's long-postponed book on the Holocaust. But as they move forward toward impoverished Romania, Jerome's memories of his father's extermination at Auschwitz and his own childhood survival impede them. Savagely ironic and deeply lyrical, Torpor is Kraus's most personal novel to date.

    • Paperback $16.95 £13.99
  • Correspondence

    Correspondence

    The Foundation of the Situationist International (June 1957–August 1960)

    Guy Debord

    Letters by writer, filmmaker, and cultural revolutionary Guy Debord conjure a vivid picture of the dynamic first years of the Situationist International movement.

    Yesterday, the police interrogated me at length about the journal and other Situationist organizations. It was only a beginning. This is, I think, one of the principal threats that came up quickly during the discussion: the police want to consider the S.I. as an association to bring about the destruction of France.—from CorrespondenceThis volume traces the dynamic first years of the Situationist International movement—a cultural avant-garde that continues to inspire new generations of artists, theorists, and writers more than half a century later. Debord's letters—published here for the first time in English—provide a fascinating insider's view of just how this seemingly disorganized group drifting around a newly consumerized Paris became one of the most defining cultural movements of the twentieth century. Circumstances, personalities, and ambitions all come into play as the group develops its strategy of anarchic, conceptual, but highly political “intervention.” Brilliantly conceived, this collection of letters offers the best available introduction to the Situationist International movement by detailing, through original documents, how the group formed and defined its cultural mission: to bring about, “by any means possible, even artistic,” a complete transformation of personal life within the Society of the Spectacle.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £45.00
    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99
  • Super Vision

    Super Vision

    Nicholas Baume

    Leading contemporary artists, including Bridget Riley, Jeff Koons, Mona Hatoum, Andreas Gursky, and Yoko Ono, explore the ecstatic and the threatening aspects of contemporary visual experience.

    New technology enables super vision—both superhuman visual powers and actual supervision by surveillance. In Super Vision, which accompanies the inaugural exhibit at the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, a broad selection of important works in a variety of media expresses both the ecstatic and the threatening aspects of vision and reveals visual experience as a source of both pleasure and fear. These works reflect the digital era's profound shift in the nature of visuality itself—as computer graphics and imaging, digitization, and virtuality have transformed both the nature of representation and our relationship to it. Among the leading contemporary artists exploring the changing nature of contemporary visual experience in Super Vision are Bridget Riley, Anish Kapoor, and Gabriel Orozco, with works that bend, twist, and dissolve space, leaving us unsure of the boundaries between inside and outside, surface and depth, self and others. Other works by artists including Jeff Koons, Julie Mehretu, and Andreas Gursky, express aspects of virtuality—some explicitly, some more subtly—and explore the changes in the way we see and understand two-dimensional images. Vision in the twenty-first century is potentially everywhere, all the time; there is no way to escape it. Works by Sigmar Polke, Yoko Ono, Tony Oursler, Thomas Ruff, and others respond in complex ways to this disembodied and penetrating quality of vision. The many full-color images in Super Vision are accompanied by essays by exhibition curator Nicholas Baume, art historian David Joselit, and media theorist McKenzie Wark. Copublished with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.99