[Air-L] New Book: Artificial Culture

Tama Leaver tamaleaver at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 01:05:24 PDT 2012

New Book Announcement (apologies for x-posting)

Artificial Culture: Identity, Technology, and Bodies (Routledge, 2012)

Tama Leaver, Curtin University

Amazon http://amzn.to/wRe4PN

Routledge: http://bit.ly/mivLzx

Artificial Culture is an examination of the articulation, construction, and
representation of "the artificial" in contemporary popular cultural texts,
with a focus on science fiction films and novels, but also addressing
digital culture more broadly including analysis of Wikileaks, the Visible
Human Project and the emergence of synthespians. The book argues that today
we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable
relationships between people and technology, with human bodies as a key
marker of these symbiotic connections. While the artificial is often
imagined as outside of the natural order and thus also beyond the realm of
humanity, paradoxically, artificial concepts are simultaneously produced
and constructed by human ideas and labor. The artificial can thus act as a
boundary point against which it is possible in some respects to measure
what it might mean to be human. More importantly, the artificial often
blurs the boundary between humans, technology and the environment at large
in often purposefully unsettling ways.

The core texts analysed in the book are: 2001 A Space Odyssey; the four
Terminator films; Greg Egan’s novels Permutation City and Diaspora; The
Visible Human Project; William Gibson’s bridge trilogy (Virtual Light,
Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties); Wikileaks; The Matrix films and
franchise; WETA’s digital effects in the Lord of the Rings films, with a
particular focus on the synthespian Gollum; the Spider-Man trilogy; Wall-E;
and Avatar.


Part1: Artificial Intelligence
   1. Early Artificial Intelligence Films: ‘When are you going to let me
out of this box?
   2. "I am a machine!": Artificial Intelligences in Contemporary Cinema

Part 2: Artificial Life

   3. From Digital Genesis to the Artificial Other

   4. Diasporic Subjectivities: Not Quite ‘Beyond the Infinite’

Part 3: Artificial Space

   5. The Fortification of Place in the Digital Age

   6. Resistance is Spatial

   7. The Infinite Plasticity of the Digital?

Part 4: Artificial Culture

   8. Matrices of Embodiment

   9. The Symbiosis of Special Effects

Part 5: Artificial Culture

   10. Before the Mourning

   11. Artificial Mourning: Spider-Man, Special Effects and September 11

For slightly more information (and colour versions of the images used in
the book) please visit http://www.tamaleaver.net/artificial-culture/ . My
apologies that the book on the expensive side; if you have access to a
university library, perhaps recommend they purchase it in the first


Dr Tama Leaver
Lecturer in Internet Studies
Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University of Technology
GPO Box U1987 Perth WA Australia 6845
Phone: (+61 8) 9266 1258
Fax: (+61 8) 9266 3166
Email: t.leaver at curtin.edu.au
Web: www.tamaleaver.net

CRICOS Provider Code: 00301J (WA) 02637B (NSW)

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