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HUMANITIES 407 spiritual mentor because he's not considered 'nice' by some squeamish academic types. Next time, perhaps, he'll own up. (JOHN WALKER) Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, editors. Digital Delirium New World Perspectives. xviii, 318. $19.95 Neither censors nor fans of Arthur and Marilouise Kraker's signature rhetoric of panic and excess will be disappointed by Digital Delirium, the first collected outtakes of the digital duo's online journal of accelerated culture, C-THEORY (www.ctheory.com). The journal itself functions as a unique critical differend within the web's self-spiralling tendency towards compatibility and consensus. And as a printed simulation of their metastable webzine, the Krokers'latestvolume raises a peculiarly contemporary paradox: it has already happened. Which is just perfect. The text's neat division into sections with titles like 'Net Politics' and 'Memetic Flesh' belies its genuinely rhizomatic feel. Brief, mostly occasional pieces explore everything from the hyperreality ofBosnian politics to media coverage of a stain in the Virgin Mary's likeness on a building in Clearwater , Florida. Interviews abound, featuring the likes of Slavoj Zizek musing about the Japanese nnconscious, Jean Baudrillard waxing giddy about Sarajevo, and Paul Virilio explaining exactly how he differs from Baudrillard. From within this controlled mayhem motifs seem to radiate outwards, like blast radii or crop circles. So the late Kathy Acker takes on breast cancer in her Euripidean 'Requiem,' while Michael Dartnell documents the guardian angels of nipple piercing. A timely analysis of (the original) Godzilla explains the seduction of the prehuman in catastrophic Tokyo, while twenty-first-century cyborg man Stelarc rationalizes his own posthuman existence. Taken together, these pieces consistently rise above millennia! angst to map the temporary event-scenes of cultural intervention erupting throughout the global infoscape. If digital theme parks have indeed replaced books/ as David Cook suggests in his article/ then reading this text is like visiting EPCOT on acid. Even so, with essays by several Canadian artists and scholars on topics ranging from Marshall McLuhan to William Shatner, this radically cosmopolitan collection manages to strike a distinctly national note within the transnational media imperium. If you're searching for a primer in cyberculture, look elsewhere: these writers are more concerned with s and M than servers and modems. Antitrust issues take a back seat to the subcultural effects of mutant technologies , old and new, that simultaneously enable and evade the over-hyped 'digital revolution.' So Siegfried Zielinski painstakingly excavates the centuries of zoopraxiscopes, tachyloskops, and other dead optical media that lie beneath the Internet's strategies of visualized violence; other chapters address virtual, alien, retro-and nanotechnologies. These various 408 LEITERS IN CANADA 1997 positions and polemics are W1ited by a culture-jamming urge to undermine the cyberlibertarian's commitment to networking at any cost or speed, and to engineer memetically a more critical infobahn. Browsers, caches, and cookies emerge from the fray as so many 'tedmologies of uselessness/ in the Critical Art Ensemble's highly useful phrase. Less wired readers might find it difficult to download the provocative claim that 'everything aspires to the condition of software,' or to admit that '[m]aybe the Unabomber was right.' Ifinformation overload is as tyrannous as the editors claim, then -Digital Delirium rules with a silicon fist. Its heterology perfectly duplicates the Internet's ability to overwhelm its browser: one emerges blinking, slightly frenzied, and with intimations of connection. Even if you're one who spends hours surfing teclmical FAQS, you probably have never asked the questions for which these essays and dialogues provide answers. Still, I have found many of the pieces (re)printed here both provocative and accessible enough to link to my own undergraduate course pages. If this collection expands the audience of C-THEORY, then it has served its function for the fin de millennium. Whether you're a 'New Age Cyber-Hippie' or a 'Cyber-Punk Provo-Geek Techno-Luddite,' you'll be left waiting anxiously for the Year 2000 Bug to reveal that the cyberrevolution won't occur overnight- or for the next collection from CTHEORY , whichever comes first. Digital Delirium, then, for the end of the technocratic world. (BRIAN GREENSPAN) G.S. Shrimpton. History and Memory in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 407-408
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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