Articles — April 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

An interview with Simon Penny: Techno-Utopianism, Embodied Interaction and the Aesthetics of Behavior

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LEA Volume 17 Issue 2
Senior Editors for this volume: Lanfranco Aceti and Simon Penny

ISBN: 978-1906897-16-1
ISSN: 1071-4391

Reference: Jihoon Felix Kim and Kristen Galvin, “An Interview with Simon Penny: Techno-Utopianism, Embodied Interaction and the Aesthetics of Behavior,” eds. Lanfranco Aceti and Simon Penny, Leonardo Electronic Almanac (DAC09: After Media: Embodiment and Context) 17, no. 2 (2012): 136-145.

An interview with Simon Penny: Techno-Utopianism, Embodied Interaction and the Aesthetics of Behavior
by Jihoon Felix Kim and Kristen Galvin

In your writing you have criticized immersive Vr technologies for their dream of detachment from human flesh and their rhetoric of command and control. Do you think your critical assessment is relevant to today’s media artworks and communication technologies based on Vr?

The 1990s was the formative decade for interactive art and digital culture, and throughout I critiqued both the technology and the rhetoric around the technology. Many theorists were expounding Utopian ideas of convergence, social harmony, world peace, spiritual redemption or collective intelligence. This worried me because while the technology was ostensibly new, the rhetoric was just another chapter in 200 years of techno-utopianism. Theodore Roszak quotes a poem about the steam train from the 1830s, “steel and her handmaid steam will make utopia only half a dream” and will “…bring peace on every line.” If you change key words to “Internet” and “Computer” it sounds like the rhetoric of the 1990s.(…)

Full article is available for download as a pdf here.

Vol 17 Issue 2 of Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) is published on line as a free PDF but will also be rolled out as Amazon Print on Demand and will be available on iTunes, iPad, Kindle and other e-publishing outlets.

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