Dashcrash (With Nathan Jurgenson)

David Cronenberg is so very Cyborgology. The fleshy, pulsating video game consoles that blur machine and body in eXistenZ (1999), or Videodrome (1983), the anti-digital-dualist counter-paradigm to The Matrix where a separate digital reality is rejected in favor of showing the augmentation of media and the body in bloody detail. Vaughn, a character in Cronenberg’s 1996 film, Crash, says that the car-crash is “the reshaping of the human body by modern technology.”

In Crash, the crash is a lust object, something to be witnessed in all of its reality and detail and in extreme close up. On YouTube, it’s the rise of Russian “dashcams.”

Read more on Cyborgology.

Trying to Understand #OWS in terms of Social Capital

I have a new post on Cyborgology about the new ways people are building social capital within the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Its less about the homogenious "vertical" ties of the mid-twentieth century that Putnam describes in Bowling Alone (Think Lion's Club or bowling leagues). Instead, we associate with much more diverse people based on very particular activities or causes.

Read more on Cyborgology

The Fourth Wave of Technological Progress

CubaGallery on Flickr

Much has been said about the arrival of the “information economy;” the “information age;” and/or the “knowledge worker.” If we take these claims seriously, and as indicating a shift in society and economy equal to the gravity of those statements, we should find similar revolutionary changes in today’s sites of industry as Mumford charted in the 14th and 18th centuries. The mine is the first wholly artificial environment. It has no sunlight, no women with large breasts in fields, and the very air that the miner breaths has had work done on it by a built ventilation system. The work of human beings surrounds the individual, and in this totalizing environment one is left to confront the world of abstracted use and exchange. The mine exists because of and through the scientific knowledge of the previous century. It is an environment that was made to be punishing (another way to say this is it was populated by the punished), and yet the extracted resources were the fundamental components of the physical container of society.

Theorizing the Web Conference

I'll be attending the Theorizing the Web Conference 2011 at the University of Maryland on April 9th. I'll be on the titular "Cyborgology" panel with some really awesome people. Its going to be a really great panel. If you have some time that weekend, and live within a $30 trip to the DC area, you should totally come. 

The abstracts for the four panelists are currently up on the Cyborgology blog. But if you're feeling a little "tl;dr" then let me just give you an elevator pitch. Have you ever felt unfulfilled by the media's portrayal of twitter, facebook, and mobile computing platforms? Does the phrase, "facebook revolution," in the context of the recent populist revolts, make your cringe? If you have always yearned for an intelligent conversation about what Facebook is doing to our world, this is it. 

While we're on the subject of conferences, I also wrote a short reaction to the national GK-12 conference that was held in early March. You can read it here.