Databodies: Digitalising the Ustopian Spaces in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission Cover Image
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Databodies: Digitalising the Ustopian Spaces in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission
Databodies: Digitalising the Ustopian Spaces in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission

Author(s): Carmen-Veronica Borbély, Petruţa Pop
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Fundatia Culturala Echinox
Keywords: Ustopias; Regime of Computation; Digital Universe; Digital Epigenesis; Transmission; Drift; Databodies.

Summary/Abstract: The present paper attempts to circumscribe Hari Kunzru’s 2005 novel, Transmission, within the genre we label, following Margaret Atwood, “ustopia,” defined as the intersection between the twin impulses of utopia and dystopia. Encompassing both the exhilaration and the anxieties triggered by our speedy immersion in an increasingly digital world, the particular brand of cybernetic ustopia we focus on seems governed by what N. Katherine Hayles called “the regime of computation,” a tropological projection of the universe envisaging subjects and landscapes as products of code and functioning through making, storing, and (crucially) transmission. Our aim is to show how the “intermediation” Hayles identifies as an effect of the encounter between analog materiality and digital information produces, in the terms of Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, an ontology of “epigenesis,” or the random emergence of new organisms from the same mutations in the code that Kunzru’s “viral” landscapes epitomizes.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 27
  • Page Range: 307-318
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English