Digital and Other Virtualities: Renegotiating the Image (New by Griselda Pollock, Anthony Bryant

By Griselda Pollock, Anthony Bryant

If virtuality is being celebrated as heralding a greatly new period, wealthy with new chances and futures hitherto unimagined via cybernetics, networking and digitalizaton, such claims also are being seen with deep skepticism and countered through renewed curiosity within the groundedness and referentiality of the concept that of the index. 

In this transdisciplinary booklet, significant artists, filmmakers, movie theorists, philosophers, literary critics, info theorists and cultural  analysts learn the twists and turns of  the contesting phrases of virtuality and indexicality in modern cultural concept when it comes to historical past, trauma, sexuality, textuality, anxiousness, simulated lives, code, electronic cinema, technology fiction, and modern paintings. Antony Bryant, Juli Carson, N. Katherine Hayles, Anna Johnson, Mary Kelly, Brian Massumi, Claire Pajaczkowska, Griselda Pollock, Adrian Rifkin, Martha Rosler, Alison Rowley, Trinh T. Minha, Samuel Weber, and Paul Willemen draw on concrete practices, starting from movie, video and chatrooms to airport areas, conceptual paintings and textiles, to provide seriously engaged, occasionally skeptical, analyses of latest photo worlds within the gentle of a continual allegiance to grounded histories and important practice.

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Additional resources for Digital and Other Virtualities: Renegotiating the Image (New Encounters: Arts, Cultures, Concepts)

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The opening scenes depict the terrifying events of a war zone— bombs dropping, tanks rumbling down city streets, civilians screaming and 1. Hayles 14/03/2010 17:12 Page 33 TRAUMAS OF CODE 33 running. The signs of potential trauma are everywhere. But when the film’s protagonist Ash (Malgorzata Foremniak) turns and shoots a young soldier drawing a bead on her, his body explodes into pixellated fragments as she calmly remarks, ‘You are not ready for Class A yet. You might want to spend a little bit more time in Class B’.

The argument suggests that the unconscious has a historical dimension, changing in relation to the artefactual environment with which it interacts. Thrift’s vision resonates with recent arguments for thinking of cognition as something that, far from being limited to the neocortex, occurs throughout the body and stretches beyond body boundaries into the environment. Andy Clark and Edwin Hutchins, among others, see human thought as taking place within extended cognitive systems in which artefacts carry part of the cognitive load, operating in flexible configurations in which are embedded human thoughts, actions, and memories.

From the Latin virtus meaning excellence, sharing a root with the word vir, meaning ‘man’, and its adaptation to a Middle English word, virtuell, meaning effective, we inherit the still confusing but rich term virtuality. ‘It is virtually the same’, we say; or ‘it is virtually impossible’. This everyday usage means ‘almost’ but not quite. We also say ‘it is so by virtue of x’, meaning having the property of x, but not the essence. Virtual suggests something that is effective, operating in parallel to, but at a distance from the concrete, actual, material, or lived reality.

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