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Telesthesia: Communication, Culture and Class

Telesthesia: Communication, Culture and Class

McKenzie Wark

ISBN: 978-0-745-65398-3 September 2012 Polity 224 Pages


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The telegraph, telephone, and television, not to mention the Internet and mobile telephony, are all forms of communication that move information faster than the speed at which objects move. Both labor and capital and armies and commodities once moved at the same speed as the information organizing them. Over the last two centuries, social space has developed a strange folded quality, where physical space comes more and more to be doubled by a space of the movement of information. Telesthesia, or perception at a distance, comes increasingly to characterize how we see and hear and know the world.

How does the evolution of different communication forms affect how we can perceive and act? How can the underlying infrastructure of communication forms be detected in the events of everyday life? These are the central questions animating this book. McKenzie Wark first explores relations between metropolitan and peripheral cultures – or postcolonial relations – with close attention to the texture of events that can happen when perception is mediated. He then examines what were once called postmodern experiences, and how relations of communication create new kinds of class relations and experiences of everyday life, from 9/11 to Occupy Wall Street.

How to Occupy an Abstraction
Fresh Maimed Babies
Neither Here Nor There
Speaking Trajectories
Cruising Virilio's Overexposed City
Architectronics of the Multitude
Weird Global Media Event and Vectoral Unconscious
Securing Security
Game and Play in Everyday Life
The Gift Shop at the End of History
From Intellectual Persona to Hacker Interface
Disco Marxism vs Techno Marxism
The Vectoral Class and its Antipodes
From Disco Marxism to Praxis (Object Oriented)
Considerations on A Hacker Manifesto
After Politics: To the Vector the Spoils
The Little Sisters Are Watching You
Shit is Fucked Up and Bullshit
Last Words and Key Words

“From Sydney to New York, the real to the virtual, the theoretical to the practical and back again, McKenzie Wark charts the vectors of a new space that is neither here nor there and yet is transforming society and the economy in unprecedented ways. By exposing what is hiding in plain sight, Telesthesia challenges us to fashion a new politics of creative disruption. This book is provocative, insightful and timely.”
Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University

Telesthesia continues McKenzie Wark’s sharp observations on recent media life. Well-informed on both cultural-political theory and media practices, Wark’s studies are highly recommended for students of all levels. And he writes with incredible grace.”
Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine

  • A new book by one of the leading figures in the field of new media and media theory
  • A highly original analysis of modern forms of communication and how they have affected the way we act and perceive the world
  • Explores the relations between metropolitan and peripheral cultures, and examines how relations of communication create new kinds of class relations and inequality
  • Argues that telesthesia, or perception at a distance, has come to characterize the way we see and hear the world