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 18, Number 3 (May, 2008)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editor:                            Eyal Amiran

Review Editors:                    Marcus Boon
                                   Ellen McCallum

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

Managing Editor:                   Claire Chantell

Editorial Assistants:              Michelle Cho
                                   Annie Moore, Copyediting Coordinator
                                   Rob Schoenbeck

Editorial Board:                                           

     James Berger                  Sianne Ngai 
     Heesok Chang                  Patrick O'Donnell
     Wendy Hui Kyong Chun          Bob Perelman         
     Ashley Dawson	           Marjorie Perloff 
     Johanna Drucker               Peggy Phelan   
     Graham Hammill                Arkady Plotnitsky 
     Terry Harpold                 Alessia Ricciardi 
     Steven Helmling               Tilottama Rajan   
     David Herman                  Judith Roof 
     Eleanor Kaufman               Susan Schultz         
     Matthew Kirschenbaum          Steven Shaviro 
     Neil Larsen                   Rei Terada 
     Akira Lippit                  Darren Tofts   
     Adrian Miles                  Paul Trembath   
     James Morrison		   Jeffrey Williams                         
    Tristan Abbott, Bomb Media, 1953-1964
    John Freeman, The Steorn Exploit and its Spin
    Doktors, or "Synergie ist der name of das Spiel,
    my boy!"
    Neal King, Secret Agency in Mainstream Postmodern
    George Kuchar, AncesTree
    Michael D. Snediker, Subjunctivity.  A review essay
    of Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips, intimacies. U of
    Chicago P, 2008.  
    Susanne E. Hall, Tracking the Field.  A review of
    Joe Amato, _Industrial Poetics: Demo Tracks for a Mobile
    Culture_.  Iowa UP, 2006.
    Chris Funkhouser,  Bionanomedia Expression. A review
    of Eduardo Kac, ed., _Media Poetry: An International
    Anthology_. Chicago: Intellect Books, 2007, and Kac,
    _Hodibis Potax_.  Ivry-sur-Seine (France): Édition
    Action Poétique, 2007.
    Elizabeth Freudenthal, The Double Helix and
    Other Social Structures. A review of Judith Roof,
    _The Poetics of DNA_. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2007.
    Amy Ongiri, The Color of Shame: Reading Kathryn Bond
    Stockton's Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame in Context.
    A review of Kathryn Bond Stockton, _Beautiful Bottom,
    Beautiful Shame: Where "Black" Meets "Queer."_ Durham,
    NC: Duke UP, 2006.
    Keith P. Feldman, "fuga." A review of Edward
    W. Said, _On Late Style: Music and Literature Against
     the Grain_. New York: Pantheon, 2006.
                      Notes on Contributors
    Tristan Abbott, Bomb Media, 1953-1964
    * Abstract: This essay sketches a dialogue between
    the government-sanctioned, nuclear "scare" films of
    the 50s and 60s and the dissident, nuclear-themed
    popular media of the same time period. Through
    their direct and indirect indictment of the
    government's fallacious claims about the causes,
    effects, and survivability of nuclear war, these
    popular films served to shift the enabling dialogue
    of nuclearism in such a way as to greatly diminish
    the actual threat of war.  While the positive
    effects of such dissident media were usually
    unintentional or else incidental, their success
    has nonetheless yielded a set of lessons for
    making anti-nuclear statements which are both
    viable and effective.  Nuclear annihilation is
    unique in that it is a potentiality that gains
    inevitability through its own discussion, and so
    texts that wish to diminish its power need to
    address a set of specific criteria, as is
    outlined in the essay. --ta
    John Freeman, The Steorn Exploit and its Spin
    Doktors, or "Synergie ist der Name of das Spiel,
    my boy!"
    * Abstract:  This essay considers one of the more
    intriguing techno-events of this decade: the claim
    of the Irish technology company Steorn to have
    produced a perpetual motion device, the Orbo.
    Although its promised demo in July 2007 failed
    to produce a working device, events leading up to
    and beyond the failed demo offer a case study in
    what Galloway and Thacker define as an "exploit,"
    "a resonant flaw designed to resist, threaten,
    and ultimately desert the dominant political
    diagram." Selecting its own jury to test and
    validate the Orbo, the company has resisted the
    normal scientific validation process. Enlisting
    the aid of an "outernet" workforce, Steorn has
    challenged traditional business models as well.
    Unfortunately, Orbo's failure has put a reverse
    spin on the Steorn Exploit and its viral
    marketing campaign, demonstrating that viruses
    not only spread but also mutate.  Embarking on
    its own exploit, Steorn's on-line forum has
    morphed into a webmind whose emergent
    properties recall Goertzel's psynet, "a self-
    organizing network of information-carrying
    agents." "Mobile agents," forum members create
    new links and provide each other feedback as
    they sort through the multiple drafts of
    Steorn's narrative. Scripted into this
    narrative, they must also do battle with other
    counter-exploitive elements such as Herr Doktor
    Mabuse, a nightmarish perversion of Steorn's
    original vision.  Soldiering through the
    elements that have brought down similar social
    network enterprises, the forum has thus far
    survived.  Whether or not it endures depends
    paradoxically on the very spirit of
    contestation that drives its--and Steorn's--
    operations. --jf
    Neal King, Secret Agency: Elements of
    Postmodernism in Mainstream Cinema
    * Abstract: A set of English-language feature
    films, mostly released at the turn of the
    century, offer protagonists who do not know
    that they are spies. Scholars have suggested
    that such culture can be postmodern in theme,
    in clarity, and in production at the same time.
    But this essay shows that these films hew to
    norms of classical narrative and have been
    used to shore up a modernist sense of authorship.
    They follow on Jameson's influential formulation
    of a postmodern aesthetic, using surreal film
    style to convey hallucinations and telling of
    protagonists who come to know that they are
    brainwashed. But scholarly arguments that
    Hollywood has sacrificed clarity to postmodern
    ambiguity are based on selective studies of art
    films and stories of insanity, and are
    disconfirmed by studies of these mind job films.
    These movies owe neither to large-scale demand
    for postmodern themes nor to postmodernity in
    financial affairs, but rather to a small group
    of filmmakers who took inspiration from
    brainwashing scares and such novelists as
    Burroughs and Dick. Those filmmakers emphasize
    their own modernist authorship by using flashy
    technique to tell provocative stories of
    compromised agency. --nk
Copyright (c) 2008 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins 
University Press

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