Feb 26
Zach and Lindsay Thomas:
    Cyberpunk Series

    Cyberpunk genre
    General thoughts about the cyberpunk genre. Example that stand out or would be particularly relevant to this project.

    (post thoughts here)
    Feb 11
    Lindsay Thomas:
      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.
    Mar 3
      Jameson and Cyberpunk
      According to Jameson, cyberpunk "is fully as much an expression of transnational corporate realities as it is of global paranoia itself: William Gibson's representational innovations, indeed, mark this work as an exceptional literary realization within a predominantly visual or aural postmodern production." (Postmodernism, 38) This technological paranoia is an attempt "to think the impossible totality of the contemporary world system." (38) Thus the link between the free flow of information and the "commodification of everything." The paranoia aspect of cyberpunk can be thought of as an implicit critique of neoliberalism, or at least the catalyst of a critique. Jameson's point is that it is precisely the totalization that neoliberalism represents and stages that cyberpunk reacts to.
    Feb 11
      Further along the lines of Alan's comment: Is cyberpunk an ideal visualization of neoliberal networks? How is this related to binary information: on/off, with no in-between state. Nothing appears between the nodes of neoliberalism's (ideal) flows of exchange. Is cyberpunk (as aesthetics of information, visualization) complicit in this imagining?
    Feb 17
    Lindsay Thomas:
      Nothing appears between bodies either; man and machine are joined together in a perfect kind of biotechnological flow of materiality. A true cyborg manifesto/ation.
    Feb 25
    Lindsay Thomas:

      Subject: ideal flows of information and bodies, neoliberalism + cyberpunk
      Range: three previous blips, especially about ideal visualizations of neoliberalism and idealized flows of information
      Suggestions: association of idealized flows of information and bodies with idealized flows of capital
    Feb 25
    Lindsay Thomas:
      Re: the binary vs. continuous issue alluded to above, while digital computers are binary, they are of course not strictly binary; there is never any clear demarcation between on/off states. But, practically speaking, there is. As Turing writes, it's like when you flip a light switch: there is a huge range of motion between the "on" and "off" states of the light, but practically speaking they are negligible. The human brain, of course, is continuous. Just a little tidbit there.
    May 2
    Bola C. King:
      You guys are basically right on about cyberpunk, but there's another important thing to consider. The genre, especially in the 80s and 90s, really was A) about personifying the horror of the promise/threat represented by neoliberalism and B) a response to a perceived stasis within "traditional," overly-utopian science fiction (especially after the oil crisis and the no-future fears of the cold war). On top of that, however, the cyberpunks (especially Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Greg Bear, Walter Jon Williams, Peter R. Emshwiller, Neal Stephenson, Chris Moriarty, and before them, Phillip K. Dick, James Tiptree Jr., and others) aimed to make these critiques as personal as possible. Lindsay’s point about demarcation is particularly apt here: not only is there no demarcation between human and machine; one of cyberpunk’s main themes is exploration of the unmediated contact between the neoliberalist dream/nightmare and the individual (the liberal human subject).

      I would also posit that because they're generally dystopian visions, it's probably not appropriate to think of the visualizations in terms of whether they're ideal or not.

    Series title:
    Post suggestions for a title here.

    Series terminology

    Story: Teaser Episode
    This "episode" will serve as an introduction to the series. It will be aproximately five minutes long. Post potential story ideas, general tropes, or even individual images, here.

    1. Arrival of a character to the contaminated zone? Rental of a terminal/room in which to stay? Who would she rent from?

    2. Search for proper hardware with which to connect?

    3. Interaction with a set of unknown data in virtual space.
    Feb 18
    Lindsay Thomas:
      So Zach, you have been saying that you have some ideas floating around about what we are actually going to do for our "storyboard" of sorts. Why don't you post them here? Huh?
    Mar 3
      Someone seems to have gained unauthorized access to my brain and corrupted them. Is there nowhere their long arm doesn't reach??

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