The Holographic Human

By Margret Grebowicz

Pettman_Human coverThis tour de force work consists of a series of attempts to articulate and correct some metaphysical errors in humanist, anti-humanist, and posthumanist literature.  Perhaps the greatest and most general “human error” that this book manages to correct is the exclusion of the machine from the literature of the animal turn. Even current talk, on the heels of Giorgio Agamben, of the anthropogenic or anthropological “machine” falls short of really exploring the technological nature of humanist logic. From the first page, which places us in front of our TVs, watching Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel, through chapters that examine voice recording technologies, the camera, the telephone, the Turing Test, time capsules, and crude oil extraction, Pettman’s engagement with the question of the animal is deeply technologically inflected.  This is to be expected given Pettman’s other work, like Love and Other Technologies (2006), in which he shows that our most erotic, libidinal, and “spiritual” modes of being depend on tools, prosthetics, and media, all in the business of trying to capture the elusive human element, that mythic thing that sets us apart from “other animals.”

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