The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

Prefiguring Cyberculture


Edited by Darren Tofts, Annemarie Jonson and Alessio Cavallaro

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. Prefiguring Cyberculture - An Intellectual History shows that cyberculture has been a long time coming. In the book, media critics and theorists, philosophers, and historians of science explore the antecedents of such aspects of contemporary technological culture as the Internet, 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. A number of recognised new media artists also explore how cybercultural themes have been taken up and critiqued in the electronic arts.

322 pages, paperback, black and white and colour images.

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