(Cyborg Subjects está disponible en Amazon)
This book is an interrogation of humanity’s new potentials and threats brought by technology when the question of social change is becoming more crucial than ever. Collected in the course of 2010-2012, the selected essays in this anthology confront questions from a wide-ranging perspective that evoke the postmodern idea of the cyborg to illuminate recent phenomena from global warming, Wikileaks, to the Occupy movements. Multiple disciplines from music to psychoanalysis to journalism to anthropology collaborate to examine the way we shape the world from behind our ubiquitous screens to taking to the streets in mass protests. What does the increasing omnipotence of networked machines ultimately mean? What do social networks do to our sense of self, others and society? Does P2P technology foster new ethics and spiritualities? What potentials does posthumanity have to bring about social change? Featuring essays from Robert Barry, Siri Driessen & Roos van Haaften, Bonni Rambatan, Dustin Cohen, Jacob Johanssen, Michel Bauwens, Aliki Tzatha, Zakary Paget, Stefen Baack, Alessandro Zagato, Peter Nikolaus Funke, Glenn Muschert, and Jung-Hua Liu. The book’s goal is to offer a cutting edge commentary on recent issues and debates that are of interest to a large audience precisely because they traverse borders, nation states and cultures.
In its combination of complex theory, events and issues that many students, academics and readers relate to, it offers a new and illuminating way into different aspects of digital culture and helps to think about the question of how the virtual and the tangible are interwoven in our contemporary age. Part one of the book, entitled Subjects, is an exploration on the question “What is the Cyborg Subject?” Submitted by intellectuals from various fields—from music to film to psychoanalysis—this section represents the first moment: the conception of digital subjectivity and its different embodiments. Part two, Sharing, takes on this venture and proceeds to the second moment: when digital subjectivity turns into global resistance, specifically in the case of Wikileaks. The talk of shared discourses shifts our discussion from Part Two to Part three, Streets, marking the third moment: when people with a shared global consciousness enabled by digital networks begin taking to the streets, as exemplified by the worldwide Occupy movements. The book’s uniqueness lies in its connection of three contemporary issues of our age. No publication has attempted this before. We believe that it is this combination of political and ethical questions on posthumanism, Wikileaks and the worldwide Occupy movements that allows readers to see what is at stake in our world in a different light.
“The organization of this book—which follows the organization of topics of our calls for papers—is as follows:
Part One, Subjects, is an exploration on the question “What is the Cyborg Subject?” Submitted by intellectuals from various fields—from music to film to psychoanalysis—this section represents the first moment: the conception of digital subjectivity. Robert Barry’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Violins? speaks of transcending humanist aesthetics, specifically in the field of music. Finding the Local by Siri Driessen and Roos van Haaften questions spatial notions in our digitized world. Bonni Rambatan’s essay Are Trees the New Proletariat? explores posthumanity not through digitized networks, but instead through what I believe to be its obverse, i.e. ecology. The final two essays, “Know Thyself” … Again by Dustin Cohen and We Shall Overcome! by Jacob Johanssen, observe posthumanity under critical psychoanalytic lenses, questioning what exactly is lost when we claim to transcend humanity, and can be read as a warning to proceed with caution as we venture further into the realm of digital subjectivity.
Part Two, Sharing, takes on this venture and proceeds to the second moment: when digital subjectivity turns into global resistance, specifically in the Wikileaks polemic. Indeed, our second call for papers was made to garner response from intellectuals in those fields. Wikileaks: Signs and Seeds of Future Utopias by Aliki Tzatha discusses how Wikileaks sheds light to contemporary political culture and the taste for transhumanism it reflects. A ‘Turning of the Tables’ by Zakary Paget examines Wikileaks as an exemplary tool of counter-surveillance against authority. In A New Style of News Reporting by Stefan Baack, we explore the idea of data-driven journalism, or really the new trend of news discourse production.
The talk of shared discourses shifts our discussion from Part Two to Part Three, Streets, marking the third moment: when people with a shared global consciousness, enabled by digital networks, begin taking to the streets. Already present in protests against the prosecution of Julian Assange, this movement evolves into a stronger form in the 2011 revolutions. From the Arab Springs, Spain’s 15M, to the global Occupy movement, one finds a similar thesis: technological networks are today’s main catalyst for global revolutions. From Networks to the Streets by Aline Carvalho explores how such shared narratives in digital networks allow global movements. In The Occupy Movement as a Politics for All, Alessandro Zagato examines the shift in politics from conventional representation to something virtually available to everybody. Peter Nikolaus Funke takes the examination one step further with The Current Logic of Resistance, proposing a set of logic for digital subjectivities.
Included in the appendices of this book are some experimental notes by Glenn Muschert, Experimental and Extracurricular Notes on the Network Environment, questioning the very notion of networks and networked discourses itself, and Junghua-Liu’s artist statement for his Wi-Fi Cyborg project, a part of which is this book’s cover artwork. The two essays, although developed independently of one another, can be read perfectly complimentarily, the latter developing for the former a highly contextual example for the scope of discussion in this book.”