[iDC] work, play, praxis

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Mon Jul 6 08:38:11 UTC 2009

Hi Ken

What do you mean by a mental space? Specifically, how do you conceive the
mind? Do you regard this as being of the self (self/other as a key
differentiation) or an expanded phenomena ­ a social construct (self as
instance)? If you consider it to be the latter (your text below would
suggest you do not) then Cyberspace, as with all cultural imaginaries,
becomes a social space. How does this impact on a psychoanalytical approach
to its analysis, which often relies upon a self defined in opposition to the
other? Or would you argue against expanded conceptions of mind?



Simon Biggs
Research Professor
edinburgh college of art
s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM/Skype: simonbiggsuk

From: Ken Wark <warkk at newschool.edu>
Date: Sun, 05 Jul 2009 20:55:34 -0400
To: <idc at mailman.thing.net>
Subject: Re: [iDC] work, play, praxis

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