The cyborg subject: parallax realities, functions of consciousness and the void of subjectivity

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    This thesis contributes to the fields of digital technology, consciousness studies and cultural theory by reassessing the relation of the contemporary subject to physical and digital worlds. By moving beyond the materiality of these worlds, this investigation will position the subject as a cyborg: a series of relations within consciousness that defines the reality and psychological construction of the subject across and through physical and digital perspectives. The functions of consciousness are set out as Existence, Meaning, Virtual, and Real, and their shifting relations defined in terms of physical and digital modes of consciousness. Using Slavoj Žižek’s conception of parallax, applied ontologically to digital technology, and introducing a new framework for analysing consciousness as a series of relations between functions, the void of subjectivity is defined as the gap between physical and digital worlds. Within this framework the work of Gilles Deleuze and the philosophy of quantum physics are employed to negotiate a disruption of conventional reality with the Virtuality of thought and matter respectively, towards the conception of the subject as an engaged spectator. These methodological tools are developed to analyse cultural phenomena that highlight and challenge our consciousness of the relation between physical and digital worlds. Online and gallery-based digital art interventions, avatar-mediated spaces, computer games and representations of digital technology and culture in literature are examined in order to assess specific relations between functions, drawing the discussion towards the antagonism between Virtuality and Reality within the construction of the cyborg subject. Through these analyses, a critical position is established through which the contemporary subject is able to achieve the rupture of a minimal distance towards its own parallax position to confront the void of subjectivity between Virtual and Real functions of consciousness and between physical and digital modes of cyborg reality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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