Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology (Short Circuits)

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9780262513005: Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology (Short Circuits)
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Behind our computer screens we are all cyborgs: through fantasy we can understand our involvement in virtual worlds.

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.

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About the Author:

André Nusselder is the author of 'Interface Fantasy' (MIT Press 2009) and 'The Surface Effect' (Routledge 2012), books which, departing from the notion of fantasy in the work of Jacques Lacan, analyze the screen in mental life and in human-computer interaction. He worked as a lecturer at several Dutch universities, organizes a masterclass on games in Rotterdam, and is program director of the PhD program at the Academy for Information and Management in Amsterdam that seeks to establish new forms of learning for the current informational society. Closely related to his investigations into the transformation of society is his work as a writer in philosophy seeking new styles for philosophical thought.

Review:

"Andre Nusselder's

"Andre Nusselder's "Interface Fantasy" is a most welcome addition to Internet Studies. Although much important work has been done on cyberspace, one area that is underdeveloped is the realm of desire. Psychoanalytically inspired studies of the Internet are relatively rare. Nusselder's contribution is a good place to begin exploring this essential domain."--Mark Poster, Film and Media Studies, University of California, Irvine

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