corpse companionship

‘Knew him personally at all, did you, sir?’ the Detective Chief Superintendent of Police asked respectfully in a voice kept deliberately low. ‘Or perhaps I shouldn’t enquire.’     The two men had been together for fifteen minutes but this was the Superintendent’s first question. For a while Smiley did not seem to hear it, but his silence was not offensive, he had the gift of quiet. Besides, there is a companionship about two men contemplating a corpse. (Le Carré 1979: chpt. 3) LE CARRÉ, JOHN [aka CORNWELL, DAVID JOHN MOORE]. 1979. Smiley’s people. London: Hodder & Stoughton. … Continue reading

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billion dollar brain

“↑Billion Dollar Brain” (Russell 1967) is a cold war spy thriller movie based on the ↑novel of the same name by British writer ↑Len Deighton (1966). Said novel is one of a series starring an unnamed secret agent, working for British intelligence, as the central protagonist. During the 1960s three movies were made, based on three novels of the series. In the movies the protagonist has a name, ↑Harry Palmer, and is played by ↑Michael Caine.     Both, the novels and the movies, somewhat counter ↑Ian Fleming‘s urbane character ↑James Bond and his glitzy high society universe. Deighton renders … Continue reading

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gods and robots

Somehow this one has escaped my attention till today—unfortunately some paywall, moving wall, system bug, or whatyouhave bars my access to it, although my university has subscribed to that publication and pays for the access. Anyhow, it goes together well with ↵the new gods. Here’s the abstract of Vidal’s article: Since the 1980s, a new area of research entitled HRI (Human-Robot Interaction) has been emerging in the field of robotic studies. It focuses on the empirical study of the relationship between robots and human beings. This article aims to contrast the findings of roboticists concerning the interaction between humans and … Continue reading

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occupy guy

On 26th September 2011 ↑Noam Chomsky announced his solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The next day ↑Cornell West addressed the crowd in person. And on 09th October ↑Slavoj Žižek gave a talk at ↑Liberty Plaza (formely Zuccotti Park). Not that I am much in synch with Žižek, but it’s the second time this year that I read something from him which made me applaud. Have a snippet from the transcript: In April 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV and films and in novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel. This is a good sign … Continue reading

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talking cyberanthropology

Several weeks before this year’s conference of the German Anthropological Association (GAA/DGV) took place (14-17 September in Vienna, Austria), Thomas Lohninger contacted me via e-mail. He is the founder of, and force behind ↑Talking Anthropology which went live in July 2009. Since then he has produced and brought online 39 podcasts, 16 of them in English. The idea of Talking Anthropology is to bring topics, notions, and ideas from social and cultural anthropology to a broader public. The podcast seems to be a fitting format for that endeavour. The download numbers, for some of his productions in the thousands, confirm … Continue reading

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rogue states

It’s 20 years ago that Bruce Sterling drew a connection between ↑cyberpunk in the nineties and Jules Verne: ‘↑Captain Nemo was a technical anarcho-terrorist.’ (Sterling 1991: 39) By chance last night I stumbled over a passage in Verne’s ‘↓20,000 leagues under the sea‘ I had marked some time. It is part of a conversation between Ned Land [picture Kirk Douglas] and Professor Arronax. Together with Arronax’ trusty servant Conseil they in effect are prisoners aboard Nemo’s submarine ‘Nautilus’ and now speculate about their jailors’ origin: “My opinion is formed,” replied Ned Land, sharply. “They are rascals.” “Good! and from what … Continue reading

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delineation

Some weeks ago I once again had a conversation on the distinctions between social/cultural anthropology and neighbouring or kin disciplines. On the very same day a bookseller sent me an e-mail advertising the (quite costly) “Encyclopaedia of Social Anthropology” by Indian sociologist Henna Tabassum (2011). The book’s ↑product overview gives a quite comprehensive description, which very much is in synch with my convictions: Social anthropology is distinguished from subjects such as economics or political science by its holistic range and the attention it gives to the diversity of culture and society across the world and the capacity this gives the … Continue reading

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cyberanthropology

My new book ‘↑Cyberanthropology‘ has been published. You absolutely are invited to order it online ↑via amazon [I have absolutely nothing against you clicking the like-button there] or ↑via Peter Hammer Verlag. Offline every decent bookshop can get it for you, too. As the book is in German, here is my description of its contents in German: In “Cyberanthropology” geht es um moderne Technik und den Menschen, um Computer und Internet, um Computerspiele, aber auch um GPS, Automobile, Roboter …     Was vor nicht allzu langer Zeit Science Fiction war, ist Lebenswirklichkeit geworden. Die vielfältigen Erscheinungsformen digitaler Elektronik und … Continue reading

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future/tech noir

Quite some water more on my mills which are grinding to construct what I like to call the cyberpunk discourse. The first installment of this construction you can read in my book ‘Cyberanthropology’ [in German], which will be published in August 2011 (and already ↑can be ordered in advance at amazon—did I already mention that?). ↑AUGER, EMILY E. 2011. ↑Tech-noir film: A theory of the development of popular genres. Bristol, Chicago: Intellect. AZIZ, JAMALUDDIN BIN. 2005. ↑Future noir. ↑Crimeculture ↑Summer 2005. Electronic document. Available online. MURPHY, GRAHAM J. AND SHERRYL VINT (Eds.). 2010. Beyond cyberpunk: New critical perspectives. London: Routledge. … Continue reading

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neuromancer tattoo

In a way this is a kind of follow-up to ↵moore’s magic. Somewhen [yes, that’s a word—still] during 2007 and 2008 ↑Nigel Palmer of Brighton has tattooed portions of text from William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’ (1984) on ↑the_dan’s arms. The association with Peter Greenaway’s ‘The pillow book’ (1996) is obvious. GREENAWAY, PETER. 1996. The pillow book [motion picture]. Rotterdam: Kasander & Wigman Productions. GIBSON, WILLIAM FORD. 1984. Neuromancer. New York: Penguin. via email from CT—tnx! … Continue reading

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