P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 19, Number 2 (January, 2009)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editor:                            Eyal Amiran

Review Editor:                     Ellen McCallum

Advisory Board: 		   Lisa Brawley
				   James F. English 
				   Paula Geyh
                                   Stuart Moulthrop
                                   John Unsworth

Editorial Staff, UC Irvine:        Michelle Cho
                                   Vuslat Demirkoparan
                                   Vicki Hsieh
                                   Annie Moore, Editorial Coordinator
                                   Rob Schoenbeck
                                   Erin Trapp

Open Access Coordinator:           Claire Chantell

Editorial Board:                                           

     James Berger                  Patrick O'Donnell 
     Marcus Boon                   Bob Perelman
     Heesok Chang                  Marjorie Perloff
     Wendy Hui Kyong Chun          Peggy Phelan         
     Ashley Dawson	           Arkady Plotnitsky
     Johanna Drucker               Alessia Ricciardi  
     Graham Hammill                Tilottama Rajan 
     Terry Harpold                 Judith Roof
     Steven Helmling               Susan Schultz  
     David Herman                  Steven Shaviro
     Eleanor Kaufman               Rei Terada
     Matthew Kirschenbaum          Darren Tofts        
     Neil Larsen                   Paul Trembath 
     Akira Lippit                  Jeffrey Williams 
     Adrian Miles                     
     James Morrison                  
     Sianne Ngai	                                             
    John Culbert, The Well and the Web: Phantoms of
    Community and the Mediatic Public Sphere
    Louis Kaplan, Unknowing Susan Sontag's Regarding:
    Recutting with Georges Bataille
    Ulrik Ekman, Irreducible Vagueness: Mixed Worlding
    in Diller & Scofidio's Blur Building
    Brian Lennon, New Media Critical Homologies
    Neil Larsen, A Brief Reply to Kalindi Vora's
    "Others' Organs: South Asian Domestic Labor and the
    Kidney Trade"
    Phillip Novak, Performing Politics. A review of Jennifer
    Fay, _Theaters of Occupation: Hollywood and the Reeducation
    of Postwar Germany_.  UP of Minnesota, 2008.
    Bernard Duyfhuizen, "God Knows, Few of Us Are Strangers
    to Moral Ambiguity": Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. A
    review of Thomas Pynchon, _Inherent Vice_.  New York:
    Penguin Press, 2009.
    Stephanie Boluk, Anthological and Archaeological Approaches:
    A Review of Electronic Literature and Prehistoric Digital
    Poetry. A review of Katherine Hayles's _Electronic
    Literature: New Horizons for the Literary_.  Notre Dame,
    IN: University of Notre Dame, 2008, and C.T. Funkhouser's
    _Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms,
    1959-1995_. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2007.
    Richard Rushton, Cinema After Deleuze After 9/11.
    A review of David Martin-Jones, _Deleuze, Cinema and
    National Identity: Narrative Time in National Contexts_.
    Edinburgh UP, 2008.
    Peter Schwenger, The Dream of Writing.
    A review of Herschel Farbman, _The Other Night: Dream,
    Writing, and Restlessness in Twentieth-Century
    Literature_.  New York: Fordham UP, 2008.
                      Notes on Contributors
    John Culbert, The Well and the Web: Phantoms
    of Community and the Mediatic Public Sphere
    * Abstract: "The Well and the Web" examines a number of
    media watershed events in which the sense of community in
    crisis, threatened by new technologies of communication,
    is expressed in sensationalistic dramas of young lives in
    mortal danger. From the advent of live TV news to the rise
    of web-based interactivity, the figure insistently invoked
    in such scenes of crisis is that of a girl fallen into a
    well. This theme is echoed in the recent films Ringu and
    The Ring, whose horror premise makes explicit the
    necropolitics (Mbembe) underpinning the conventional
    discourse of community and televisual spectatorship. Drawing
    on The Phantom Public Sphere (Robbins) and new media
    theory (Doane, Latham, Poster), I argue that the discourse
    of community and morality betrays a haunted logic that must
    engage with contemporary theories of virtuality and
    spectrality (Derrida). The horror genre's tropes of the
    viral and the ghost provide the means to articulate a
    postmodern ethics of spectatorship that, attuned to trauma
    and the duplicity of discourse, can challenge necropolitics
    and extend hospitality to the phantoms that haunt the
    mediatic public sphere.--jc
    Ulrik Ekman, Irreducible Vagueness: Mixed Worlding
    in Diller & Scofidio's Blur Building
    * Abstract: This article argues that Blur Building, Diller
    & Scofidio's architectural project for the Swiss Expo 2002,
    demonstrated performatively and interactively how
    contemporary worldmaking involves cultural and
    technological invention and construction both, implying our
    cultural co-evolution with ubiquitous computing and media
    such that "worlding" must today be approached and
    approximated as a question of realities that mix virtuality
    and actuality.  This article not only touches upon the
    actual inventions produced in this project--with its
    atmospheric architecture of tensegrity structures, its
    vast artifactual mist-cloud, its bio-genetic pumping
    system, its smart weather system, and its complex
    systems for ubicomp surveillance and wearable computing --
    but also goes on to problematize the implications of mixed
    realities for existing notions of practical contextuality
    or the "life world." Specifically, it is argued that mixed
    worlding in an epoch of calm ubiquitous computing
    necessarily confronts us with a lived experience (Erlebnis)
    of embodiment whose irreducible vagueness stems from a
    transduction of the imperceptible and the unimaginable,
    i.e., from a being-among in originary tactility as that
    which affects and animates us and remains structurally
    earlier than or ahead of any commonsensical hermeneutic
    horizon of conscious, linguistic, or discursive meaning.
    Louis Kaplan, Unknowing Susan Sontag's Regarding:
    Recutting with Georges Bataille
    * Abstract: This essay reviews and challenges Susan Sontag's
    use and abuse of Georges Bataille in her last book, Regarding
    the Pain of Others.  Sontag takes up Bataille's understanding
    of and fascination with a group of Chinese torture (or lingchi)
    photographs from the beginning of the twentieth century.  Her
    somber reading glosses over Bataille's "anguished gaiety" in
    the face of these images and his post-Nietzschean tendency to
    laugh in the face of the impossible.  Sontag overlooks Bataille's
    atheological and iconoclastic approach to these images steeped
    in transgression and non-knowledge in an attempt to frame his
    thinking as somehow full of religious meaning and allied to the
    Christian transmutation of suffering into sacrifice.  Bound to
    a restricted (or Hegeilian) economy that remains servile to
    knowledge, Sontag's encounter with these images misses the
    opportunity to acknowledge the sovereign (and comic) operation
    as "absolute rending" inscribed in an excessive economy without
    reserve.  Unlike Sontag in Regarding, Bataille looks to these
    deathly images in terms of an ethics of the impossible and
    risks bringing together non-knowledge, laughter, and tears.
    The essay concludes with a look at the limits of Sontag's
    analysis of Jeff Wall's Dead Troops Talk to underscore the
    profound practical joke that non-knowledge plays on those who
    would seek to turn death into a pedagogical exercise.  The
    essay also suggests the relevance of Jean-Luc Nancy's thinking
    about such images (and photography in general) beyond the
    logic of representation and in terms of exposure (or of being
    posed in exteriority). --lk
    Brian Lennon, New Media Critical Homologies
    * Abstract: New media studies, we might say, has discovered
    temporality. After fifteen years in which its cultural
    dominant was presentist prognostication, even a kind of
    bullying, the field has folded on itself with such new guiding
    concepts as the "residuality," the "deep time" or "prehistory,"
    and the "forensic imagination" of a new media now understood
    as after all always already new. This essay rereads the legacy
    of hyperfiction pioneer and demiurge Michael Joyce through
    Fredric Jameson's call, twenty years ago, for a "deeper
    comparison" than new media studies is yet ready to make, even
    today. It argues that new media studies, as a disturbance in
    both the practices and production regimes of humanistic
    discipline, is and always has been best thought less as an
    emergent field than as a site of such double vision. If we
    still want to consider Joyce's work a founding moment in new
    media literary studies in the U.S., we will have to recognize
    the radical untimeliness of, and at, that foundation: the
    extent to which the negativity of Joyce's secession from this
    emergent field must be understood not as the end of his
    influence in it, but in antinomian fashion, as its beginning
    again. --bl
Copyright (c) 2009 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins 
University Press

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