There’s a nasty bug doing the rounds. Like a computer virus it occupies apparently innocuous spaces, then starts replicating itself at amazing speed spawning logical contradictions that eventually bring the system shuddering to a halt. Fortunately, the symptoms are easy to spot. If words like ‘seduction’ ‘simulation’, ‘decentred individual’ and ‘posthumanism’ randomly flash across the page, you know you’ve found the bug of post modernism.
Neither Mark Dery’s Escape Velocity nor Shelly Turkle’s ‘Life on the Screen’ are free from this virulent force. Both claim to explore the cultural impact of the ‘digital revolution’, and yet rely on the prescriptions of Baudrillard, Jameson and Lacan - theorists who main contributions were relevant to the mass media of ten or twenty years ago, rather than the multimedia industry today.