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Introduction HROUGH THE METAPHOR OF MACHINES we focus on questions of our humanity and of human interaction with external structures, exploring utopias and dystopias. In our images of the machine—as system and as device—we question individual autonomy, human progress, and cognitive as well as semiosic processes. Our manu­ factured and imaginary robots have names such as Verbot, Thinko, and Hero: by assigning the faculties of language, thought, and courage to our would-be metallic “ clone,” we identify the hero of our times as not superman, but the robot. In an era when even the most intimate and sen­ timental relations between people are codified into instruction manuals and described in mechanical terminology, it is self-evident that we examine how the design and invention, programming and use of machines shape (both fictional and theoretical) literary discourse. We have created a lexicon in which common coin has been stamped of le désir technisé and la technique désirante, la psychotechnique and “ technoparanoia.” An individual becomes "un nœud d ’interface” in processes of displacements within a labyrinth of situations, no longer valorized as an agent in the creation of those situations. “ Technocritics” describe “ technopoetics” ; “ biotechnology” goes hand in hand with a “biographie de la machine” that describes machines as “prothèses du moi” and “exo-squelettes. ” How, then, does our thought about the construction, operation, and malfunction of machines carry over into writing? What results when the synthetic poses as or controls the organic? How are we to interpret the “ technification” of literary representation? In what ways has techno­ phobia or technophilia influenced a century of narrative strategies— from the industrialized machine age to the post-industrial cybernetic one we inhabit? In other words, in what ways has the machine simulated and mediated textuality: how a text produces and is produced? What is the ontological status and semiotic potential of the machine? And what bear­ ing does the interface of technology and text have on reading and responding to literature? The essays in this issue have been selected with a double purpose. By exploring the complexity of the relationships between technology and textuality, they articulate the role played by machines in the texts and, at the same time, the role played by the texts as machines. The intricacies of Vol. XXVI, No. 4 3 this interplay, both in terms of theoretical assumptions and in terms of methodology, outline the shape of the issue. A kind of dialogue takes place between bachelor machines and desiring machines, cybernetics and robotics, program and anagram, the living and the artificial, android and celluloid. In “ La Schizoanalyse,” Félix Guattari places the analytic prob­ lematic in the context of mobile assemblages of utterances based on informational flows. Situating schizoanalytic subjectivity at the inter­ section of the flow of signs and of the “ machinic flow,” he examines feed-back effects on analytic givens. Going beyond the problematic of the individuated subject, Guattari views man as adjacent to an abstract “ machinic phylum” giving him new capabilities that are “ machinocentric ” rather than “ logo-centric.” Developing his seminal theory of les machines célibataires—a concept recuperated by Guattari and Gilles Deleuze in L ’Anti-Œdipe (1972) and integrated into schizoanalytic theory—Michel Carrouges focusses on a specific, exemplary, literary case study. In “ Les machines pataphysiques de Maldoror et leurs groupes de transformations,” speaking of Les Chants de Maldoror in terms of systems of retroaction and amplifica­ tion, of centrifugal force and fields of force, he situates Lautréamont’s text at the crossroad of pataphysics and cybernetics. Confronting the possible articulations between desiring machines and sociology, between bachelor machines and feminist theory, and between thermodynamics and cybernetics, Inez Hedges formulates new readings of films and a new reading of cinema. Using such concepts as artificial intelligence, user friendliness, and robotic otherness, “ The Myth of the Perfect Woman: Cinema as machine célibataire” provides insights into an epistemic morphology relating Villiers’ L ’Eve future and Verne’s Le Château des Carpathes to films such as “ Belle de Jour” and “ Le Dernier Métro.” John Anzalone sharpens the focus on L ’Eve future—a paradigmatic text for both Carrouges and Guattari—working within a robotic model of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 3-5
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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