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 12, Number 1 (September, 2001)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    James F. English

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    Stuart Moulthrop
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Bill Albertini 

Research Assistants:                Elizabeth Bridgham
                                    Brian Glavey
				    Jordan Taylor
                                    Melissa White

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube 		     Larysa Mykyta 
     Nahum Chandler 		     Chimalum Nwankwo
     Heesok Chang 		     Patrick O'Donnell
     J. Yellowlees Douglas 	     Elaine Orr
     Johanna Drucker 		     Bob Perelman
     Diane Gromala 		     Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill 		     Fred Pfeil
     David Herman 		     Peggy Phelan
     Terry Harpold 		     David Porush
     Marcia Ian                      Mark Poster
     Michael Joyce 		     Judith Roof
     E. Ann Kaplan 		     Susan Schultz
     Matt Kirschenbaum 		     William Spanos
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett   Katie Stewart
     Neil Larsen                     Allucquere Roseanne Stone	
     Tan Lin 			     Gary Lee Stonum
     Saree Makdisi 		     Rei Terada
     Brian Massumi		     Darren Tofts
     Jerome McGann 		     Paul Trembath
     Adrian Miles 		     Greg Ulmer
     Jim Morrison 

    David Grandy, "The Otherness of Light"
    Suzanne Bost, "'Be deceived if ya wanna be foolish': 
    (Re)constructing Body, Genre, and Gender in Feminist Rap"
    Frank Palmeri, "Other than Postmodern?--Foucault, Pynchon, 
    Hybridity, Ethics"
    Ashley Dawson, "Surveillance Sites: Digital Media and the Dual 
    Society in Keith Piper's 'Relocating the Remains'"
    Rita Raley, "Reveal Codes: Hypertext and Performance"
    Dävd. Gulraliji, "Hiiilperlexlicoaorpara=][strophismagien:
                           PMC Interview
    Evans Chan, "Against Postmodernism, etcetera--A Conversation 
    with Susan Sontag" 
    Helen Grace, "As Radical as Reality Itself." A review of Susan 
    Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass 
    Utopia in East and West.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000. 
    Srdjan Smajic, "The Ecstasy of Speed." A review of Paul Virilio, 
    A Landscape of Events. Trans. Julie Rose. Cambridge, MA: MIT 
    Press, 2000. 
    Jerzy O. Jura, "Complicating Complexity: Reflections on Writing
    about Pictures." A review of James Elkins, Why Are Our Pictures
    Puzzles? On the Modern Origins of Pictorial Complexity. New York 
    and London: Routledge, 1999. 
    David Banash, "Intoxicating Class: Cocaine at the Multiplex." 
    A review of Traffic.  Dir. Steven Soderbergh. Perf. Michael
    Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid. 
    USA Films, 2000, and Blow. Dir. Ted Demme. Perf. Johnny Depp, 
    Penelope Cruz, Paul Reubens, Ray Liotta. New Line Cinema, 2001. 
    Piotr Gwiazda, "Utopia in the City." A review of "Utopia: The 
    Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World." Special
    Exhibition at the New York Public Library.  October 2000-
    January 2001. 
    Jeffrey Insko, Art After Ahab." A review of And God Created 
    Great Whales.  Conceived and Composed by Rinde Eckert. Performed
    by Rinde Eckert and Nora Cole.  Directed by David Schweizer. 
    The Culture Project at 45 Bleecker, New York, NY. 
    9 September 2000. 
                              Related Readings
     			 [WWW Version Only]
                              Bibliography of
                            and Critical Theory
     			 [WWW Version Only]
     			 [WWW Version Only]
                            Notes on Contributors
    David Grandy, "The Otherness of Light"
        o Abstract: Otherness is an integral part of the human 
           experience, and yet the very coin of otherness 
           is strangeness and apartness. How then does otherness 
           bridge into experience? Here light is presented as a 
           bridging agency, albeit one that fosters and fashions 
           the ambiguities associated with otherness at the 
           experiential level. In Einsteinian physics, light breaks 
           into material reality in a "relationless" way: the speed 
           or motion of light cannot be scaled into the motion of 
           material bodies, into the spacetime metric of everyday 
           experience. Similarly, Emmanuel Levinas's otherness has 
           an integrity or metric of its own that cannot be 
           assimilated into Heideggerian Being. Inasmuch as light 
           enables apprehension of the other, one may propose a 
           single process: the irreducibility of light becomes the 
           irreducible otherness of the outside world.--dg 
    Suzanne Bost, "'Be deceived if ya wanna be foolish': 
    (Re)constructing Body, Genre, and Gender in Feminist Rap"
        o Abstract: Current media that love to demonize Black urban 
           culture focus much attention on "gangsta rap" because it 
           reinforces racist criteria of gender intelligibility that 
           date from slavery. In this framework, women are 
           objectified as "hos"--sexual commodities and exotic 
           spectacle--or vilified as gender-crossing "gangstas"--a 
           criminal threat to social order and "pure" womanhood. 
           This gender binary eclipses much of the work done by 
           women within hip hop culture. Chicago rap star Da Brat 
           has achieved tremendous success both inside and outside 
           of "the ghetto," but this prominence can be attributed, 
           in part, to her apparent concession to rap's famed 
           misogyny, "booty call," and other dominant media 
           images. Using the familiar criteria gains Da Brat a 
           much wider audience than her more clearly "feminist" 
           contemporaries, and the size of this audience makes her 
           a serious political force to be reckoned with. 
           Employing double-voiced strategies that are traditional 
           to African American culture--from slave songs and quilts 
           with hidden meanings to signifyin(g) linguistic games 
           and multi-tracked, parodic "sampling"--hip hop texts are 
           often about more than they seem to be. Yet critics miss 
           this complexity when they ignore the dissonance between 
           verbal, musical, and corporeal levels of performance. 
           This paper uses the overtly feminist raps of hip 
           hop-style spoken word artists--Ursula Rucker, Dana 
           Bryant, and Sarah Jones--to uncover potentially 
           empowering gender politics in the more ambivalent, but 
           also more publicly visible, raps of Da Brat. All four 
           artists begin by emphasizing the artificiality of 
           objectified images of Black women, undermine these 
           images with excessive imitation, and ultimately clear 
           spaces for reimagining hip hop gender. Together they 
           present powerful and accessible feminist theories of 
           the body.--sb 
    Frank Palmeri, "Other than Postmodern?--Foucault, Pynchon, 
    Hybridity, Ethics"
        o Abstract: This essay argues that the high postmodernism of 
           the 1960s through the 1980s has been succeeded by two 
           other modes of cultural expression. In the late 
           postmodernism which has been dominant in the last decade, 
           the tense equilibrium between paranoia and skepticism 
           typical of the earlier period has hardened into a darkly 
           paranoid vision of conspiracies that usually involve 
           threatening human hybrids. In such works as The X-Files 
           and The Matrix, an autonomous human subject emerges as a 
           hero whose efforts can save humans from becoming hybrids 
           with machines or aliens. What is other than postmodern, by 
           contrast, moves away from the representation of extreme 
           paranoia toward a vision of local ethical-political action 
           and a less anxious view of human hybrids. Levinas's 
           philosophy of ethical responsibility serves as a precursor 
           and component of this mode, as does Haraway's manifesto 
           for cyborgs, and Laclau and Mouffe's emphasis on subject 
           positions rather than essential identities. Foucault and 
           Pynchon, in their roughly parallel careers, turn away from 
           a high postmodern deterministic vision of the efficacy of 
           normalizing forces (Foucault) or the prominence of 
           inanimacy and death (Pynchon). Their later works resist 
           paranoid totalizing, and view humans less as automata 
           subject to forces of control, and more as creatures with 
           some capacity for effective ethical-political action, 
           based on their ability to form themselves. 
           Other-than-postmodern thinkers do not seek to establish 
           an essential, purely human subject, and are thus more open 
           to the possibilities for hybrids of humans and others, and 
           to an understanding of animals as moral subjects, as 
           exemplified in Pynchon's Mason & Dixon.--fp 
    Ashley Dawson, "Surveillance Sites: Digital Media and the Dual 
    Society in Keith Piper's 'Relocating the Remains'"
        o Abstract: This essay argues that postcolonial theory needs 
           to be brought to bear on digital media. In addition, the 
           essay dramatizes such an application through analysis of 
           Keith Piper's digital installation Relocating the Remains. 
           The declining value of technology stocks has certainly 
           deflated some of the hyperbolic utopian rhetoric that 
           attached to the internet in its early days. Yet even in 
           the heyday of the "New Economy," discussions of digital 
           technology were imbued with problematic assumptions and 
           studded with metaphors lifted blindly from colonial 
           discourse. As Keith Piper's work demonstrates through its 
           deft dissection of the role of the social sciences during 
           the colonial era, science and technology are not only 
           historically embedded, but have often been complicit with 
           the European project of colonial domination. However, 
           descriptions of contemporary technology are not simply 
           the product of historical amnesia. Digital media are 
           themselves central to the project of surveying and 
           containing populations that are perceived as a threat to 
           social stability in the increasingly polarized cities of 
           today. Such technologies therefore need to be carefully 
           scrutinized for their potential to curtail civil 
           liberties. In addition, the essay argues that we must be 
           attentive to possible changes in the code through which 
           technologies like the internet are structured, for it is 
           this code which enables or disables oppressive uses of 
           technology. As Piper's dystopian vision underlines, 
           there are no ironclad guarantees that digital media will 
           be used for egalitarian purposes.--ad 
    Rita Raley, "Reveal Codes: Hypertext and Performance"
        o Abstract: A central problem for hypertext fiction, 
           criticism, and theory has been the delineation of a 
           strict ontological difference between the analog and the 
           digital, but this problem is irresolvable in these terms. 
           It is not possible to locate a fundamental difference in 
           the metaphysical sense, and yet it cannot be denied that 
           something different happens when one works with, or 
           performs, hypertext: the operative difference this makes 
           is the concern of this article. The author argues that 
           hypertext must be conceived in terms of performance and 
           that approaching the problem of a difference between the 
           analog and the digital must be done in a mode through 
           which digital textuality can emerge on its own terms. To 
           that end, the author proposes a new typology for hypertext 
           by emphasizing its function as performance, an interface 
           of user and system that becomes a mode that separates the 
           digital from the analog. The performance of hypertext 
           collapses processing and product, input and output, within 
           a system of "making" that is both complex and emergent. 
           Because it is its emergence in performance that 
           differentiates hypertext from text, its difference as such 
           is not ontologically discernible and it is locatable only 
           in effect. The article is constructed in four nodes--
           Charting, Combinatorial Writing, An-anamorphosis, and 
           Linking--which display and situate this new aspect of 
           performance in the digital terms of hypertext. The central 
           visual model for what the author identifies as the trace 
           performance of hypertext is Jasper Johns's anamorphic 
           painting Flags.--rr 
    Dävd. Gulraliji, "Hiiilperlexlicoaorpara=][strophismagien:
        o Abstracht: He stirkens out alsto yon distante marke. Holo, 
           stripes yhis pare. Vaspusio, hehtoughtoutof this, as 
           sugg. yin _Loaws_ &yan _Crisias_.--= A canonization 
           intheDoneaanmode, &ya'reocgitintonoiof htehete-
           remoneorphousnature of languagagel...a 
           aassseumsethattheyareisomorhpic &attemptsthomakeThem 
           so' (PMC 666),thenew-fdlandSited, yand into yong long 
           natureyearly history. Takeethis queyandgo forth. --dy 
    Evans Chan, "Against Postmodernism, etcetera--A Conversation 
    with Susan Sontag" 
        o Abstract: The interview explores Susan Sontag's ambivalent, 
           contradictory relationship with, and overt hostility to, 
           postmodernism, which she dismisses as "[non]-critical 
           ideas." As both a cultural critic/essayist and novelist, 
           she refuses to lend credence to postmodernism by 
           distancing her celebrated '60s writings on "camp" and 
           "the new sensibility," as well as her most recent novels, 
           from what has come to be known as the postmodern. While 
           acknowledging the interviewer's interpretation of "On 
           Photography" as a pioneering work about postmodernity, 
           she continues to characterize "postmodern" as a term both 
           imprecise and cheap, a way of facilitating consumerism. 
           Sontag makes provocative statements about Barthes and 
           Jameson and expresses a wholesale political dismissal of 
           Baudrillard. She talks about post-Cold War politics and 
           her disillusionment as a public intellectual. Also 
           intended as an introduction to a Chinese anthology of 
           Sontag's writings, the interview invites Sontag to 
           reminisce about her trip to China in the 60's, which she 
           has never written about directly.--ec 
Copyright (c) 2001 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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Last Modified: Monday, 05-Nov-2001 16:40:44 EDT