Sarah Kember

Sarah Kember is Professor of New Technologies of Communication at Goldsmiths, University of London, and author, most recently, of The Optical Effects of Lightning.

  • Life after New Media

    Life after New Media

    Mediation as a Vital Process

    Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska

    An argument for a shift in understanding new media—from a fascination with devices to an examination of the complex processes of mediation.

    In Life after New Media, Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska make a case for a significant shift in our understanding of new media. They argue that we should move beyond our fascination with objects—computers, smart phones, iPods, Kindles—to an examination of the interlocking technical, social, and biological processes of mediation. Doing so, they say, reveals that life itself can be understood as mediated—subject to the same processes of reproduction, transformation, flattening, and patenting undergone by other media forms.

    By Kember and Zylinska's account, the dispersal of media and technology into our biological and social lives intensifies our entanglement with nonhuman entities. Mediation—all-encompassing and indivisible—becomes for them a key trope for understanding our being in the technological world. Drawing on the work of Bergson and Derrida while displaying a rigorous playfulness toward philosophy, Kember and Zylinska examine the multiple flows of mediation. Importantly, they also consider the ethical necessity of making a “cut” to any media processes in order to contain them. Considering topics that range from media-enacted cosmic events to the intelligent home, they propose a new way of “doing” media studies that is simultaneously critical and creative, and that performs an encounter between theory and practice.

    • Hardcover $33.00 £28.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00

Contributor

  • I Hate the Lake District

    I Hate the Lake District

    Charlie Gere

    An alternative view of the North West of England that delves into its stranger past.

    I Hate the Lake District offers a different vision of the rural environment from those found in much contemporary nature writing. Based on the author's trips around North West England, the book engages with nuclear power and nuclear war, slavery, imperialism, ghosts, love, God, cockroaches, and the sheer violence and contingency of “nature” itself—of which the human presence is merely a part. Each chapter starts with an account of a visit to a place in this remote part of England, the deep north, but digresses and wanders through multifarious themes and subjects.

    Among the sites Gere visits are the defunct nuclear power station at Sellafield, home of all British nuclear waste; Lake Coniston, where Donald Campbell died trying to break the water speed record; Hadrian's Wall, furthermost reach of the Roman Empire; the mysterious and deathly Morecambe Bay; sites of slavery in the North West; places where UFOs have been sighted, avant-garde artists created work, and Islamic terrorists trained; shantytowns where the navvies who built the railways lived with their families; and even the remains of Blobbyland in Morecambe.

    In I Hate the Lake District, Gere challenges the bourgeois pastoralism of popular nature writing and reveals the landscape of North West England as profoundly unnatural and strange.

    • Paperback $15.95 £12.99
  • Six Concepts for the End of the World

    Six Concepts for the End of the World

    Steve Beard

    A navigational aid to the apocalypse.

    Steve Beard's Six Concepts for the End of the World mixes scientific research with experimental fiction to produce a manual for the apocalypse. The author examines six disciplines—technology, sociology, geography, psychology, theology and narratology—and for each one creates a fictional scenario that both reflects and energizes the research, all under the guiding light of the philosopher Paul Virilio's theories. This approach allows Beard to create one surprising idea after another: Hollywood viewed as a research and development lab for the end times, a first-person account of a UFO abduction, a blog on the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight 370, a voice-over for an imaginary film by a doomsday cult member.

    Highly original in both form and content, the book surprises and delights in its scope. The approach is multidisciplinary and multidirectional, and Beard's exploration ranges over many areas and themes, always bringing distinctive insights to bear. Six Concepts for the End of the World is an expertly guided tour through the author's imagination, and toward the end of the world.

    • Paperback $15.95 £12.99