Memory Trade: A Prehistory of Cyberculture

Front Cover
Interface, 1998 - Art - 131 pages
The notion of "culture" is changing at the speed of information itself. Computer technology is creating a new kind of public, a cyberculture with all its utopian & apocalyptic possibilities. But is it that new? Popular debate generally ignores cyberculture's historical context. The official history begins in the nineteenth century & tracks the evolution of telecommunications, the egalitarian dream of the global village, & the emergence of the military-industrial complex. However, this omits the deeper, prehistory of technological transformations of culture that are everywhere felt but nowhere seen in the telematic landscape of the late twentieth century. Cyberculture is an extension, rather than innovation, of human engagement with communication & information technologies. A work of archeology, Memory Trade scrapes away the surfaces of the contemporary world to detect the sedimentary traces of the past: a past that inflects the present with the echoes of ancient, unresolved philosophical questions about the relationships between humans & technology, creativity & artifice, reality & representations of reality. Memory Trade is an exploration, in text & image, of the unconscious of cyberculture, its silent, secret prehistory. From Plato's Cave to Borges' literary labyrinths, Freud's Mystic Writing-Pad, & Joyce's reinvention of language in Finnegans Wake, Memory Trade is a reflection of contemporary culture.

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The End Of Print 36
Writing Trauma In Ancient Athens 44

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About the author (1998)

Darren Tofts is Chair of Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.

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