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Necromedia

2015
Author:

Marcel O’Gorman

Necromedia

An unusual answer to a common question: Why does technology play such a powerful role in our culture?

In Necromedia, media activist Marcel O’Gorman takes aim at “the collusion of death and technology,” mixing philosophical speculation with artistic creation, personal memoir, and existential dread to document a struggle to embrace the technical essence of human being without permitting technology worshippers to have the last word on what it means to be human.

Marcel O’Gorman challenges us to think with and through the intimate relation between death and technology characterizing contemporary media. Born from his practical experience with the tinkering, wild accidents and thoughtful modes of creativity found in digital art practices, Necromedia brilliantly demonstrates that a different kind of media theory and approach to technoculture is possible. This is the approach the digital humanities needs to stay relevant.

Anna Munster, University of New South Wales, Australia

In Necromedia, media activist Marcel O’Gorman takes aim at “the collusion of death and technology,” drawing on a broad arsenal that ranges from posthumanist philosophy and social psychology to digital art and handmade “objects-to-think-with.” O’Gorman mixes philosophical speculation with artistic creation, personal memoir, and existential dread. He is not so much arguing against technoculture as documenting a struggle to embrace the technical essence of human being without permitting technology worshippers to have the last word on what it means to be human.

Inspired in part by the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, O’Gorman begins by suggesting that technology provides humans with a cultural hero system built on the denial of death and a false promise of immortality. This theory adds an existential zest to the book, allowing the author to devise a creative diagnosis of what Bernard Stiegler has called the malaise of contemporary technoculture and also to contribute a potential therapy—one that requires embracing human finitude, infusing care into the process of technological production, and recognizing the vulnerability of all things, human and nonhuman. With this goal in mind, Necromedia prescribes new research practices in the humanities that involve both written work and the creation of objects-to-think-with that are designed to infiltrate and shape the technoculture that surrounds us.

Necromedia

Marcel O’Gorman is associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo and director of the Critical Media Lab. He is the author of E-Crit: Digital Media, Critical Theory, and the Humanities.

Necromedia

Marcel O’Gorman challenges us to think with and through the intimate relation between death and technology characterizing contemporary media. Born from his practical experience with the tinkering, wild accidents and thoughtful modes of creativity found in digital art practices, Necromedia brilliantly demonstrates that a different kind of media theory and approach to technoculture is possible. This is the approach the digital humanities needs to stay relevant.

Anna Munster, University of New South Wales, Australia

He provides a credible account of the unavoidability of death presence even in an over-technological existence.

Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural

Necromedia is very readable and not too long in length, it delivers a serious if disturbing message about our thanatophobic culture, in a strangely beguiling manner. O’Gorman is not afraid to mix theory with quite personal material and has the skill as a writer to do so effectively.

The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

What Necromedia offers, and this may reflect the author’s being an artist and practitioner as well as a theorist, is a sense of theory being used for genuine engagement in the world and with its problems, and possibilities.

Technology and Culture

An ideal book for posthumanism.

Configurations

A powerful and deeply resonating argument in defense of an applied media theory founded in a techno-neopolitics of things, leaving the future open to ethically responsible reinvention.

Science Fiction, Film, and Television

Necromedia

Contents

Introduction
1. Necromedia Theory and Posthumanism
2. Border Disorder
3. Telephone, Pager, Two-Way Speaker, and Other Technologies of Betrayal
4. Dreadmill
5. Angels in Digital Armor: Technoculture, Terror Management, and the Antihero
6. Cycle of Dread
7. Speculative Realism Unchained: A Love Story
8. Myth of the Steersman
9. Digital Care, Curation, and Curriculum: On Applied Media Theory
10. Roach Lab
11. From Dust to Data: On Existential Terror and Horror Philosophy
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index