Issue 8: Technologies

Spring 2009

Technologies allow us to interrogate what material objects, techniques and systems of knowledge are made and how they are produced.

The 8th issue of Forum engages with a range of questions concerning the definitions, meanings, applications and representations of technologies. The three guest articles by distinguished technology scholars deal with technologies and embodiment in Doctor Who, Marcuse's aesthetics, and the figure of the independent inventor. The following articles explore the significance of technologies across the fields of literary and film studies, history and art history as well as media studies.

The wide variety of articles from different disciplines highlight the interdisciplinary nature of technologies, and the complexity of the term 'technology' itself.

 

Contents

Guest Articles

Mediating Human-Technology Relationships: Explorations of Hybridity, Humanity and Embodiment in Doctor Who. 
Professor Anne Cranny-Francis (Macquarie University)

Marcuse on Art and Technology. 
Professor Andrew Feenberg (Simon Fraser University)

The Independent Inventor: Hero or Fool? 
Professor Ron Westrum (Eastern Michigan University)

 

Articles

Fractured Bodies & Social Wounds: The Simulation of Trauma in J.G. Ballard'sCrash
Panayiota Chrysochou (University of Edinburgh)

Technology and Perception in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire: A Reflection on Time, Space and Memory in the Postmodern Metropolis. 
Silia Kaplan (University of North California)

On Dwarves and Scientists: Probing for Technological Ethics in the Creative Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. 
Jeremy Kidwell (Regent College)

"a void rubbing out its own inscription": Electronic Technology, Hypertext and the Paradox of Self-Erasure. 
Luke Korzun Martin (University of York)

The War Artists' Advisory Committee, Aviation and the Nation During the Second World War. 
Rebecca Searle (University of Sussex)

Not Just Ensemble Films: Six Degrees, Webs, Multiplexity and the Rise of Network Narratives. 
Vivien Silvey (The Australian National University)

"Unleashing the Underdog": Technology of Place in Virginia Woolf's Flush. 
Verita Sriratana (University of St Andrews)

MY PROSTHETIC AND I: identity representation in bodily extension. 
Elizabeth Wright (University of Newcastle, Australia)




 

Guest Articles

Mediating Human-Technology Relationships: Explorations of Hybridity, Humanity and Embodiment in Doctor Who
Professor Anne Cranny-Francis (Macquarie University)

Analysing the representation of Daleks in a recent Doctor Who double-episode (2007), the article explores the complex dynamics of the human-technology relationship.

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Marcuse on Art and Technology 
Professor Andrew Feenberg (Simon Fraser University)

This paper argues that Marcuse's aesthetics are deeply implicated in his concept of technology, and that technological change is in fact a fundamental "praxis" corresponding to his aesthetic theory. Marcuse's "aesthetics of technology" are further shown to be based on his theory of sensation.

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The Independent Inventor: Hero or Fool? 
Professor Ron Westrum (Eastern Michigan University)

This article analyses the image and role of the independent inventor - a subject often neglected when writing on technological innovation. Contrary to popular belief, not only do independent inventors still invent, but they are more successful than is generally thought.

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Articles

Fractured Bodies & Social Wounds: The Simulation of Trauma in J.G. Ballard'sCrash
Panayiota Chrysochou (University of Edinburgh)

Drawing on J.G.Ballard's sci-fi novel Crash, this paper aims to explore if - and to what extent - collapsing boundaries between body/image/machine are to be unreservedly celebrated and/or apprehended with caution in the wake of technological and industrial consumerist culture.

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Technology and Perception in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire: A Reflection on Time, Space and Memory in the Postmodern Metropolis. 
Silia Kaplan (University of Northern California)

Drawing on the theories of Walter Benjamin, Paul Virilio, and Jean Baudrillard, this paper examines discourses of technology and perception in Wim Wenders' 1987 film, Wings of Desire, and argues that technologies stand at the center of Wenders' Berlin portrait and his reflection on memory and history.

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On Dwarves and Scientists: Probing for Technological Ethics in the Creative Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. 
Jeremy Kidwell (Regent College)

By engaging in a close reading of J.R.R. Tolkien's fiction, this paper provides an account of his approach to technology, and argues that he presented a consistent position with both negative and positive limits regarding its sub-creation and subsequent use.

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"a void rubbing out its own inscription": Electronic Technology, Hypertext and the Paradox of Self-Erasure. 
Luke Korzun Martin (University of York)

The advent of electronic technologies like the computer and the internet have led to new ways of exploring writing, the predominant expression of which is the theory of hypertext. Drawing examples from contemporary fiction, this essay examines the ways in which hypertexts destabilize the whole field of signification and, in doing so, paradoxically erase themselves.

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The War Artists' Advisory Committee, Aviation and the Nation During the Second World War. 
Rebecca Searle (University of Sussex)

This article analyses the ways in which the relationship between aviation and ideas of the nation was represented in British official war art during the Second World War. Comparisons are made with interwar representations to highlight how this aesthetic was modified to accord with constructions of the nation at war.

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Not Just Ensemble Films: Six Degrees, Webs, Multiplexity and the Rise of Network Narratives. 
Vivien Silvey (The Australian National University)

Ensemble films like Babel and Crash have flourished in recent years. Their unifying theme, the interconnectedness of strangers, reflects the technologically enabled paradigm of network society. Drawing on Fredric Jameson's concept "cognitive mapping", I argue that these films' utopian aspects risk reinstating the conservative politics they initially appear to eschew.

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"Unleashing the Underdog": Technology of Place in Virginia Woolf's FlushVerita Sriratana (University of St Andrews)

Through close analysis of Virginia Woolf's Flush, this paper propounds that "technology of place" is an amalgamation of and tension between the abstract ideas and the concrete elements which construct place in our understanding. A study of technology of place puts into question the discourse of power behind spatial production.

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MY PROSTHETIC AND I: identity representation in bodily extension. Elizabeth Wright (University of Newcastle, Australia)

Even though my prosthetic is a secret of my self, within my body schema, my prosthetic is as much a part of my body as my skin, blood, and organs. It is also an object of technology, a topological replacement of a missing body part. For academics, artists, and theorists to understand the prosthetic/body relationship, is to bring forth new ideas on the prosthetic. Therefore as an artist, how do you explore this experience and draw out the uncanny into a world of subtle visual acceptance?

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Editors

Jana Funke
Lena Wånggren