Stone’s The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age

Allucquère Rosanne Stone

The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age

Area: Digital Media

·      Root v. Floating identity

·      In the absence of a prosthetic, Hawking’s intellect becomes a tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it

·      The machine can only respond to an on-off situation (i.e. mouse click)

·      Interaction: mutual and simultaneous activity on the part of both participants, usually working toward the same goal (Lippman)

·      Five corollaries of interaction

o       Mutual interuptibility: each participant must be able to interrupt each other mutually and simultaneously

o       Graceful degradation: unanswerable question must be handled in a way that doesn’t halt the conversation

o       Limited look-ahead: Limit to how much the shape of the conversation can be anticipated by either party

o       No-default: no preplanned path—must develop fully in the interaction

o       Impression of an infinite database: an immersive interactional world should give the illusion of not being much more limiting in the choices it offers than an actual world would be

2: “That’s well and good, but still more people take some primary subject position for granted.  When pressed, they may give lip service to the idea that perhaps even their current ‘root’ persona is also a mask, but nobody really believes it. For all intents and purposes, your ‘root’ persona is you.  Take that one away, and there’s nobody home.”

7: “Further, what was being sent bask and forth over the wires wasn’t just information, it was bodies.  The majority of people assume that erotics implies bodies; a body is part of the idea of erotic interaction and its concomitants, and the erotic sensibilities are mobilized and organized around the idea of a physical body which is the seat of the whole thing.  The sex workers’ descriptions were invariably and quite directly about physical bodies and what they were doing or what was being done to them”


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December 2008
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