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Semiotic Flesh

Information and the Human Body

Phillip Thurtle

Publication Year: 2002

This collection of essays marks an important contribution to the emerging field of information studies, providing multiple perspectives on the implications of burgeoning information technologies and biotechnologies. Subjects range from the strange connections between LSD and DNA research, the implications of computer-assisted surgery, and the role of the human body in virtual reality installations.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vi-vii

In addition to the contributors and respondents for this volume, we would also like to thank the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, for its financial support of our lecture series and this volume (and an especially heartfelt thanks to Kathleen Woodward, Margit Dementi, and Liz Browning for their unflagging support and ...

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Introduction. Flash Data: Semiotics, Information, and the Body

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pp. 1-8

It seems so easy to keep separate: on one side is information and on the other is flesh and blood. Information is that which exists between elements; bodies are the elements themselves. One is abstract, the other corporeal. One is intricately involved in signs and syntax, the other in cells and organs. One operates through the metaphysics ...

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1. LSDNA: Consciousness Expansion and the Emergence of Biotechnology

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pp. 9-24

In the schematic argument that follows, I want to map the rather willy-nilly itinerary of molecular biology's rhetorical and conceptual evolution and its debts to those forms of agency best exemplified by laughter but available to many extraordinary affects "proper" to even the scientific will: laughter, terror, ecstasy. Such modes of response, ...

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Response

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pp. 25-27

Richard Doyle's essay makes provocative connections between the biotechnology that is increasingly reshaping our world today, on the one hand, and the illicit "technologies of the sacred" associated with LSD and other psychedelic drugs, on the other. These connections work on a number of levels. Psychedelic research and ...

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2. The Virtual Surgeon: Operating on the Data in an Age of Medialization

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pp. 28-47

Media inscribe our situation. We are becoming immersed in a growing repertoire of computer-based media for creating, distributing, and interacting with digitized versions of the world, media that constitute the instrumentarium of a new epistemic regime. In numerous areas of our daily activities, we are witnessing a drive toward the ...

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Response

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pp. 48-51

In his essay "The Virtual Surgeon: Operating on the Data in an Age of Medialization," Timothy Lenoir suggests that we will soon reach a time when the ubiquity of computers and the prevalence of virtual interfaces for surgical applications will lead to surgical practices where the "real" is indistinguishable from the "virtual." The ...

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3. Flesh and Metal: Reconfiguring the Mindbody in Virtual Environments

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pp. 52-68

In my recent book How we Became Posthuman, I struggled to avoid the Cartesian mind/body split by making a distinction between the body and embodiment. But having made the analytical distinction between the body and embodiment, I could not escape the clay of dualistic thinking that clung to me regardless of how strenuously I tried to ...

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Response

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pp. 69-71

In her excellent essay, Hayles discusses three virtual reality artworks that invite us to experience emerging structures of culture in our information-saturated environments. Her focus is on new concepts of the body and new experiences of embodiment, and her intent is to explicitly reject the analytical distinction between the mind and the body and ...

Authors

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p. 72-72


E-ISBN-13: 9780295804347
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295982007

Publication Year: 2002