[iDC] work, play, praxis

Ken Wark warkk at newschool.edu
Mon Jul 6 00:55:34 UTC 2009

for David Heckman: 
Lacan never appealed to me. But i noticed this forthcoming book at MIT
Press that might be of interest to you:

Interface Fantasy
A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology
André Nusselder

Cyberspace is first and foremost a mental space. Therefore we need to
take a psychological approach to understand our experiences in it. In
Interface Fantasy, André Nusselder uses the core psychoanalytic notion
of fantasy to examine our relationship to computers and digital
technology. Lacanian psychoanalysis considers fantasy to be an
indispensable "screen" for our interaction with the outside world;
Nusselder argues that, at the mental level, computer screens and other
human-computer interfaces incorporate this function of fantasy: they
mediate the real and the virtual.

Interface Fantasy illuminates our attachment to new media: why we love
our devices; why we are fascinated by the images on their screens; and
how it is possible that virtual images can provide physical pleasure.
Nusselder puts such phenomena as avatars, role playing, cybersex,
computer psychotherapy, and Internet addiction in the context of
established psychoanalytic theory. The virtual identities we assume in
virtual worlds, exemplified best by avatars consisting of both realistic
and symbolic self-representations, illustrate the three orders that
Lacan uses to analyze human reality: the imaginary, the symbolic, and
the real.

Nusselder analyzes our most intimate involvement with information
technology—the almost invisible, affective aspects of technology that
have the greatest impact on our lives. Interface Fantasy lays the
foundation for a new way of thinking that acknowledges the pivotal role
of the screen in the current world of information. And it gives an
intelligible overview of basic Lacanian principles (including fantasy,
language, the virtual, the real, embodiment, and enjoyment) that shows
their enormous relevance for understanding the current state of media

McKenzie Wark,  Associate Professor of Media Studies, Eugene Lang
College and the New School for Social Research

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