When Technocultures Collide
Innovation from Below and the Struggle for Autonomy
Paper 222 pp.
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When Technocultures Collide provides rich and diverse studies of collision courses between technologically inspired subcultures and the corporate and governmental entities they seek to undermine. The adventures and exploits of computer hackers, phone phreaks, urban explorers, calculator and computer collectors, “CrackBerry” users, whistle-blowers, Yippies, zinsters, roulette cheats, chess geeks, and a range of losers and tinkerers feature prominently in this volume. Gary Genosko analyzes these practices for their remarkable diversity and their innovation and leaps of imagination. He assesses the results of a number of operations, including the Canadian stories of Mafiaboy, Jeff Chapman of Infiltration, and BlackBerry users.
The author provides critical accounts of highly specialized attributes, such as the prospects of deterritorialized computer mice and big toe computing, the role of electrical grid hacks in urban technopolitics, and whether info-addiction and depression contribute to tactical resistance. Beyond resistance, however, the goal of this work is to find examples of technocultural autonomy in the minor and marginal cultural productions of small cultures, ethico-poetic diversions, and sustainable withdrawals with genuine therapeutic potential to surpass accumulation, debt, and competition. The dangers and joys of these struggles for autonomy are underlined in studies of RIM’s BlackBerry and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks website.
Gary Genosko is a professor in and director of the Communication Program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He held a Canada Research Chair in Technoculture from 2002 to 2012. He is the author of Remodelling Communication: From WWII to the WWW (2012), Félix Guattari: A Critical Introduction (2009), and co-author, with Scott Thompson, of Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO (2009).
“Gary Genosko has written a book that is conceptually dense and exceptionally timely. When Technocultures Collide deals with the most up-to-date subjects concerning technology, communication, and politics. Whoever wants to talk about these subjects must read it.”
— Franco Bifo Berardi, author of After the Future (2011) and The Uprising (2012)
“Gary Genosko remediates the technoculture of the ’80s and ’90s from below. In the process he takes the reader on a wild ride through hacking, phreaking, and other modes of political resistance to 21st-century digital hegemony, sometimes following a theoretical map drawn up by the likes of Félix Guattari and Bifo Berardi and other times going off-road to blaze his own autonomous trail.”
— Richard Grusin, director, Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee; author of Remediation: Understanding New Media (with Jay David Bolter, 1999) and Premediation: Affect and Mediality after 9/11 (2010)
“Gary Genosko’s new book is again a demonstration of his theoretical flair. From big toes to global media politics, whistling to WikiLeaks, his interventions into the technocultural condition are enjoyable to read and insightful to think-along. Genosko knows how to write transversal theory, and how to weave together media studies with politics.”
— Jussi Parikka, Winchester School of Art; author of Insect Media (2010) and What Is Media Archaeology? (2012)