CTheory Books – Draft

An innovative series of open access, digital texts exploring key themes
in political and social theory, the body, science and technology, art, and critical aesthetics.

(Click on book covers below to download a PDF or read online)

Blueshift series poster

Like the high velocity approach of a massive object from the spectrum of digital space and time that surrounds us, technology has suddenly blueshifted, moving closer and closer to the epicenter of the contemporary human condition. A digital wave that is energized by its increasingly short iterations, signaled by its disruptions and perturbations, and tangibly felt by its aura of cold to the color blue. Already visible in the cerulean sky of data are new constellations of the future, waiting to be interpreted for their political implications and social entanglements by writers and artists involved in the BLUESHIFT SERIES.

*********

2015 releases


Conversations in Critical Making
Edited by Garnet Hertz

Against the current of disposable technology and estranged digital devices, critical making brings together individuals working at the intersection of critical thinking and hands-on practice. What follows are a series of interviews with leading theorists and practitioners of critical making. Discussions range from the political implications of critical making to creative reflections on the place of technology in culture and society.

Originally released in 2012 by Teleharmonium; revised and updated in 2015 for CTheory Books. Cover design: Garnet Hertz.

*********

Surveillance Never Sleeps
Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Surveillance Never Sleeps is a new way of looking at the human impact of technology in the twenty-first century. Here, four critical intersections of technology and society—drones, surveillance, DIY bodies, and recent innovations in robotic technologies—are explored for what they have to tell us about the “new real” of digital culture.

Copyright (c) 2015 CTheory Books.

*********

The Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT) by Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab is a last mile safety device designed to aid the disoriented of any nationality in a desert environment. The project’s interactive platform was developed and tested in southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from 2009 to 2012. Its code is executable when and if one adds the coordinates of functional water caches to its poetic program. Its poetry, another executable code, comprises TBT’s desert survival series.

2014 The Office of Net Assessment. Released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.

*********

Jackson 2bears is a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) multimedia artist who has exhibited his multimedia works in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally in media arts festivals and group exhibitions. He writes:

“My current works focus on the aesthetics of Indigenous identity in contemporary times, and I envision my practice as a form of cultural critique in which I explore alternative ways to engage with the question of Native spirituality in our modern, technological society.

“My artworks typically take the form of new media/interactive installations or multimedia performances where I work primarily with video and audio media as a means to reflect on issues of racism, colonialism, discrimination, Indigenous subjectivity, and Native stereotypes.”

Drifting; Almost Invisible
Jackson 2bears



Download:     [H.264/MP4]     [ogg/theora]

After the Drones
Jackson 2bears



Download:     [H.264/MP4]     [ogg/theora]

*********

Critical Digital Studies

Code Drift: Essays in Critical Digital Studies
Edited by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Code Drift is the spectral destiny of the story of technology. No necessary message, no final meaning, no definite goal: only a digital culture drifting in complex streams of social networking technologies filtered here and there with sudden changes in code frequencies, moving at the speed of random fluctuations, always seeking to make of the question of identity a sampling error, to connect with the broken energy flows of ruptures, conjurations, unintelligibility, bifurcations.

ISBN 978-0-920393-08-6. Copyright (c) 2010 New World Perspectives/CTheory Books.

*********

Life in the Wires: The CTheory Reader
Edited by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Life in the Wires is about life today, from Al-Jazeera to eBay, from creatively understanding new media to analyzing how questions of gender, race, class, and colonialism have been deeply transformed by networked society.

Website: http://www.lifeinthewires.net/
ISBN: 0-920393-21-7. Copyright (c) 2004 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CTheory Books.

*********

The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism is what happens when previously seperated worlds implode, when the embedded time of critical theory streams the hyper-space of the Net. Digital dialectics as theorizing at the jagged speed of data. (Note: this book is only available here as an interactive website.)

ISBN: 0-8020-8786-8 (cloth), 0-8020-8573-3 (paper). Copyright (c) 2004 University of Toronto Press).

*********

Digital Delirium
Edited and introduced by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Digital Delirium writes the new horizon of electronic culture. Part of the CultureTexts Series, Digital Delirium features contributions by Jean Baudrillard, Kathy Acker, Hakim Bey, Bruce Sterling, Ricardo Dominguez, and many others.

ISBN: 0-920393-71-3 (paper). Copyright (c) 1997 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

Hacking the Future
By Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Written in the shadows of the digital age, Hacking the Future tells the story of what happens to us when information technology escapes the high tech labs of Silicon Valley and invades the sites of everyday culture. Shopping the GAP, Branded Flesh, the World-Wide-Web Self: these are some of the survival tales of people who just want to feel again in a culture that is numbed and purified. The accompanying spoken word/music CD by the Krokers and composers Steve Gibson and David Kristian provides a sonic tour of our accelerated culture.

Download the audio tracks for the accompanying CD (Hacking the Future music composed by Steve Gibson and David Kristian).

ISBN: 0-920393-50-0. Copyright (c) 1996 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

Data Trash: The Theory of the Virtual Class
By Arthur Kroker and Michael A. Weinstein

“When the shadows grow deeper, and skeletal hands pull the curtain closed, and the talking heads of CNN glow like gibbous moons in the corner, and the majordomo throws another Branch Davidian on the fire, then my choice is clear: I’ll pull my collar up and hunker down under the rusty springs of the couch with another heaping helping of Data Trash.” — Bruce Sterling

ISBN: 0-920393-23-3. Copyright (c) 1994 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

“…an intellectual tour de force, written with enormous power and insight. Kroker has seized on what is unique and vital and has rendered the Canadian mind itself on a world stage.” — Abraham Rotstein

ISBN: 0-920393-00-4. Copyright (c) 1984 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

Politics and Culture

America’s vision of itself as a nation blessed by God has provided strong spiritual support for bold and world-changing innovations in the areas of technology, governance, business, communications, imprisonment, and warfare. But this same vision has also long helped America to keep from common sight and collective memory legacies of a far grimmer sort.

ISBN: 978-0-920393-42-0. Copyright (c) 2006 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CTheory Books.

*********

City Upon a Hill, the American Dream, a sacred covenant—the United States has done that most elusive and perhaps ineffable of all things: wrapped together the language of god and technology into a powerful, adventurous political experiment which is “premodern” in its (religious) sensibility and “posthuman” in it (technological) enthusiasm.

ISBN: 978-0-920393-42-0. Copyright (c) 2006 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CTheory Books.

*********

Ideology and Power in the Age of Lenin in Ruins
Edited and Introduced by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Ideology and Power in the Age of Lenin in Ruins is written in the shadow of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here, the meaning of power and ideology is finally thought with and against the shattered horizon of socialist and capitalist realism. Thinking anew the theory and practice of democratic politics, the essays put into question the meaning of ideology (as false consciousness) and the meaning of power (as seduction). On the question of ideology, political theorists, including Anthony Giddens, Jurgen Habermas, Claude Lefort, and Zygmunt Bauman, challenge the privileging of ideology-critique in orthodox Marxism. This critical reinterpretation of ideology is then accelerated by a radical (Baudrillardian) rereading of the meaning of power as seduction. The book concludes with political analyses of demon politics in the post-Cold War era.

ISBN: 0-920393-49-7. Copyright (c) 1991 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

New Media Aesthetics

A theory-fiction about the crash world of virtual reality, from the cold sex of Madonna Mutant, the pure sex of Michael Jackson and the dead sex of Elvis to the technological fetishes of Silicon Valley. Written from the perspectives of cultural politics, music, photography, cinema and cyber-machine art, Spasm explores the ecstasy and fadeout of wired culture. Here, we suddenly find ourselves the inhabitants of a glittering, but vaguely menacing, technological galaxy where the machines finally begin to speak. Spasm is a book/CD to take along with you on your hacker journey of the electronic frontier.

Download the audio tracks for the accompanying CD (Spasm music composed by Steve Gibson).

ISBN: 0-920393-35-7. Copyright (c) 1993 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

Seduction
By Jean Baudrillard (translation by Brian Singer)

Seduction is Jean Baudrillard’s most provocative book. Here, under the sign of seduction, all modern theory is put into question. Seduction speaks of the sudden reversibility in the order of things where discourse is absorbed into its own signs without a trace of meaning. In the sudden triumph of seduction in apocalyptic culture there is also signaled the end of history. As Baudrillard says, “Nothing can be greater than seduction itself, not even the order that destroys it.”

ISBN: 0-920393-25-X, paper. Copyright (c) 1979, Editions Galilée (c) 1990 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

Panic Encyclopedia
by Arthur Kroker, Marilouise Kroker, and David Cook

A stimulating and thoroughly entertaining look at the rapid countdown to the year 2000, the Panic Encyclopedia argues that in the postmodern era, science, and technology are the real language of power and illustrates the resulting culture through a post-alphabetical listing of “panics”—from Panic Art to Panic Zombies, and including Panic Elvis, Panic Psychoanalysis, and Panic Sex. Humorously embracing newspaper and media events and philosophers from Hegel to McLuhan, the text chronicles the implosion of the modem world into a final singularity.

ISBN: 0-920393-35-7. Copyright (c) 1993 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives, CultureTexts Series.

*********

The Postmodern Scene is a series of major theorizations about key artistic and intellectual tendencies in the postmodern condition. A variety of texts, ranging from Nietzsche’s The Will to Power, Serres’ Hermes, Baudrillard’s Precession of Simulacra, the visual art of Fischl, Hopper, Colville, and Magritte and recent performance art are used as probes of the human fate in the contemporary century. Here a theoretical reflection is viewed as a privileged artistic act: simultaneously a critical encounter with the “shock of the real” and a meditation in the form of a lament over the “intimations of deprival” which speak to us now of postmodern culture, art, and philosophy in ruins.

ISBN: 0-920393-44-6. Copyright (c) 1986, 1988 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

Life After Postmodernism: Essays on Value and Culture
Edited and introduced by John Fekete

Life After Postmodernism is a pioneering text on the question of value in the postmodern scene. After a long hiatus in which discussions of value have been eclipsed by the death of the subject in post-structuralist theory, this collection of essays suggests that we are on the threshold of a new value debate in contemporary politics, aesthetics, and society. Rejecting the denial of value by Derrida and other representative of New French thought, this collection takes Nietzsche as its point of departure for putting evaluation back on the intellectual agenda and for a new synthesis—hyper-pragmatism—of liberalism and Marxism.

ISBN: 0-920393-98-5. Copyright (c) 1988 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

Theories of the Body

The Last Sex: Feminism and outlaw Bodies
Edited and Introduced by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

The Last Sex looks at the future of gender in an age when the transgendered have emerged as a walking and breathing challenge to old sex definitions. Both the Krokers and the authors included (Kathy Acker, Shannon Bell, Stephen Pfohl) present rallying cries for what the Krokers call “transgenic gender,” a new gender that lies beyond our current ideas of sexuality, one that exists outside the dualistic man/woman model.” — Richard Kadrey, Future Sex

ISBN: 0-920393-37-3. Copyright (c) 1993 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

The Possessed Individual rubs North America against contemporary French thought. What results is a dramatic reinterpretation of French theory as a prophetic analysis of the speed-life of the twenty-first century, and a critical rethinking of the politics and culture of the technological dynamo. This book is a hinge between the mirror of seduction that is culture today and the philosophical ruptures of French thought, from Sartre and Camus to Baudrillard and Virilio. And why the fascination with French thought? Because this discourse is a theoretical foreground to the political background of America: fractal thinkers in whose central images one finds the key power configurations of the American hologram. Read the French, therefore, to learn a language for thinking anew the empire of technology.

ISBN: 0-92039-90-X. Copyright (c) 1992 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

The Hysterical Male: New Feminist Theory
Edited and Introduced by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

A thematically focused exploration of feminism under the sign of male hystericization, The Hysterical Male is a collection of writing by critical feminists from Canada, the USA, and Britain that tracks the next stage of gender politics. What results is an intense provocative and creative theorization of feminism under the failing sign of the unitary male subject.

ISBN: 0-920393-69-1. Copyright (c) 1991 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

Body Invaders: Panic Sex in America
Edited and Introduced by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Body Invaders explores the fate of the body in the postmodern condition. Introduced by theses on power and sexuality, it proceeds to analyze the key theoretical contributions of Bataille, Foucault, Baudrillard, and Kristeva, and ranges widely over the suppressions and obsessions which mark theoretical discourse and public policy in relation to sexual eroticism, fashion, reproduction and bodily decay.

ISBN: 0-920393-96-9. Copyright (c) 1987 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

Feminism Now: Theory and Practice
Edited by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Feminism Now is like Magritte’s brilliant depiction of blood from the head as rupture and transgression. Memory: that’s the radical promise of feminist critique which is, against the global, cultural amnesia of the modern century, the historical remembrance of temps perdu and of better possibilities not yet achieved. Memory, of both a past yet not written and of a future yet not dreamed, is the truly, and perhaps only, radical political terrain in postmodernism.

ISBN: 0-920393-01-2. Copyright (c) 1985 paper, 2011-2012 ebook, New World Perspectives/CTheory Books.

*********

The Canadian Series

Canada’s preeminent political theorist, C.B. Macpherson, won his international reputation for his controversial interpretations of liberalism. This book—the first to examine the entire range of his writings—seeks to place that interpretation of liberalism within the overall framework of his intellectual development. Focusing on two key themes—property and the state—C.B. Macpherson: Dilemmas of Liberalism and Socialism tracks Macpherson’s analysis of the contradictions of liberal-democracy through all of his writings. More than a text on Macpherson, this book contains an explosive historical thesis: the notion of the quasi-market society as the common fate of contemporary capitalist and communist societies.

ISBN: 0-920393-39-X. Copyright (c) 1985 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

Culture Critique features the work of Quebec’s key cultural theorist Fernand Dumont in a thorough exploration of the Québécois identity from the Quiet Revolution to the present.

ISBN: 0-920393-05-5. Copyright (c) 1985 paper, 2011 ebook, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********

The bulk of Northrup Frye’s writings deals with the tradition as it is given from the great writers of Europe; yet his response to these writers has in an important way been fashioned by his own experience in North America and, more particularly, in Canada. Thus the main theme of this study is Frye’s “America A Prophecy”; a vision of the New World.

ISBN: 0-920393-10-1. Copyright (c) 1985 paper, 2011 electronic, New World Perspectives/CultureTexts Series.

*********