Augmented Headspace: Digital Parallax

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    This work responds to the theme of parallax futures by confronting our current relation to technology and posing alternative modes of conceiving the place of consciousness and culture in an increasingly digital world. Developed from a doctoral thesis on ‘The Cyborg Subject’ at the Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation at the University of Wolverhampton, the project applies Slavoj Žižek’s parallax, whereby “subject and object are inherently “mediated,” so that an “epistemological” shift in the subject’s point of view always reflects an “ontological” shift in the object itself”, to the split within consciousness between physical and digital modes of reality. This marks a shift in understanding contemporary digitised society, away from Žižek’s technophobia under which the ultimate use for the digital realm is to destroy it in a “virtual catastrophe” that will “somehow redeem ‘real life’”, towards the need for new conceptions of the digital that embrace the parallel modes of thought and thus access to different realities. David Gunkel elaborates this within our conception of technology as the problem of “how the position of enunciation already influences and informs what comes to be enunciated”, under which the perspective on technology always (re)constructs our relation to the technology itself, the mediation of others through technology, and the alternative worlds and ontologies the technology enables within consciousness. This leads us towards Žižek’s assertion that “how cyberspace will affect us is not directly inscribed into its technological properties; rather it hinges on the network of socio-symbolic relations which always-already overdetermine the way cyberspace affects us”. That is, the cultural construction of the contemporary subject is causal in the delineation of physical and digital as discrete modes of being and thinking.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Zizek Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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