Rachel Berger is Associate Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at California College of the Arts. Berger’s book “A Toolkit for Gathering” will be published by Art Practical later this year. Her recent project, “Shooter Box,” is a multi-disciplinary investigation of the U.S. Military’s use of Microsoft Xbox controllers as battle equipment. Berger’s writing has been published by MIT Press, Bloomsbury, Design Observer, and Works that Work. She holds an MFA in Graphic Design and a BA in American Studies, both from Yale University.

The Horror of Direct Experience: Cyberpunk Bodies and “The Machine Stops”

Here is a list of the quotations / sources cited in the presentation:

  1. Machine
    “the bodiless exultation of cyberspace” (Neuromancer)
  2. Milk
    “swaddled lump of flesh”, “a face as white as a fungus”, “the sin against the body”, “white pap” (“The Machine Stops”)
  3. Meat
    “He lost all awareness of the meat that had been his prison for close to fifty years, and the relief he felt at having laid his burden down was as great as himself.” (Synners)
    “belonged…to the meat”, “infinite intricacy that only the body, in its strong blind way, could ever read” (Neuromancer)
  4. Mirror
    “good enough”, “horror of direct experience”, “barbarically” (“The Machine Stops”)
    “washed out and blurry” (Ready Player One)
    “Standing there, under the bleak fluorescents of my tiny one-room apartment, there was no escaping the truth. In real life, I was nothing but an antisocial hermit.” (Ready Player One)

Cadigan, P. (1991). Synners. New York: Bantam Spectra.
Cline, Ernest (2011). Ready Player One. New York: Crown Publishers.
Forster, E. M. (November 1909). “The Machine Stops.” The Oxford and Cambridge Review. London: Archibald Constable & Co.
Gibson, W. (1984). Neuromancer. New York: Ace Science Fiction Books.
Lanier, J. (2017). Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality. New York: Henry Holt and Co.
Seegert, A. (January 2010). “Technology and the Fleshly Interface in Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’: An Ecocritical Appraisal of a One-Hundred Year Old Future.” The Journal of Ecocriticism. University of Northern British Columbia.
Stephenson, Neal. (1992). Snow Crash. New York: Bantam Books.

Discord Discussion

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