Thursday, February 28, 2008

"...the coming virtual city..."

Alexander "Pruned" Trevi has tagged me on a meme with the following rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

The nearest book when I'm sitting at the computer isn't the book I'm reading (coincidentally, one of the books I'm reading -- the first work of fiction I've read in ages -- features a character who knows a book and author's worth by flipping to page 67 and reading paragraph 3) but the book I just finished, in a pile with a bunch of other books I've finished but have yet to review in my weekly page (more on that glut of back-reviews in a forthcoming post here).

kwinter.jpg

The top of the pile is Sanford Kwinter's Far from Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture. He seems to have inadvertently foreshadowed this meme rather nicely.
The forces behind the coming virtual city are driven by savage economic imperatives, not delirious new possibilities for freedom, and we will need, at great challenge to the imagination, to find effective new ways of refusing them. We will need to create strong alternative cultures resistant to the sleazy short-term seductions of gadgetry, in the hopes of maintaining any semblance of longterm autonomy over our fates. "Jacking in" to a cyberspatial matrix, as the characters in William Gibson's foundational novel Neuromancer put it, is, after all, hardly a convincing idea of life reinvented beyond the tyranny of productivist ethics nor the most promising erotic vision of a world where the body's energies are partially freed to create new modalities of pleasure.
Four down, one to go. I hereby tag:
Brand Avenue
Kosmograd
lewism
no2self
The Sesquipedalist

3 comments:

  1. I love that the random paragraph was a William Gibson reference. Although I have the feeling that in any work by SK you've got a 99% chance of that occuring.

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  2. Hey hey, Brand Ave's already been tagged. Get your own victims. ;-)

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  3. autoautistic - Equally, it's hard to come across three sentences where he doesn't use the word modality. Must be his favorite.

    Brendan - Foiled again!

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