My initial thoughts are that anything related to cyberpunk has to engage at some level with cyberpunk's investment in neoliberalism. That the two rose to "prominence," if you will (although this means something completely different in each case), around the same time - 1970s and early 80s - seems hardly coincidental. And while many have foretold the "death" of cyberpunk as a genre, it seems to stubbornly stick around, especially in film (recent instantiations could include the most recent Terminator film, Gamer, certainly The Matrix films). And neoliberalism certainly doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Ties that bind: utopianism, freedom of information/of capital/of individuals, rebellion (let's not forget that's what neoliberalism initially was, a rebellion against the Keynesian state), transnationalism/globalization, biotechnology, information technology (is it yet another coincidence that the two forms of technology most discussed/lusted after/critiqued in many cyberpunk works are informational and biological? And that many seminal works of the cyberpunk genre - I am thinking here of Neuromancer, among others - discuss both forms of technology almost always within discussions of/references to the global flow of capital?).
The question to consider is to what extent neoliberalism informs and grounds that which seems at first to be its critique (cyberpunk). Here
is one of the few essays I have found on this topic, and it was written way back in the dark ages of 1994 (NOTE: you have to be logged in to a server that subscribes to the journal to see this; ie, you need to be on a campus network or be logged in through the off-campus login. For those who can't access the link, the essay is David Brande's "The Business of Cyberpunk: Symbolic Economy and Ideology in William Gibson," published in Configurations
in 2.3 (1994)). From there, it seems worth thinking about what role data visualization may play in this intellectual trajectory. This is probably really obscure, but, in the cyberpunk vein, can we think of data visualization as resistant to neoliberalism to some extent? Also in the cyberpunk vein, can we think of data visualization as part of the neoliberal project? Re: Alan's comment in class today, can we think about our short film, as an example of "cyberpunk," as a visualization of neoliberalism? How could we represent "neoliberalism" in a cyberpunk short film? David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism
is a good resource to start with.