Critical Issues in Electronic Media

Edited by Simon Penny

Subjects: Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series in Film History and Theory
Paperback : 9780791423189, 298 pages, May 1995
Hardcover : 9780791423172, 298 pages, May 1995

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. Suck on This, Planet of Noise!
McKenzie Wark

2. In/Quest of Presence: Virtuality, Aurality, and Television's Gulf War
Frances Dyson

3. Consumer Culture and the Technological Imperative: The Artist in Dataspace
Simon Penny

4. Technology is the People's Friend: Computers, Class, and the New Cultural Politics
Richard Wright

5. Utopian Plagiarism, Hypertextuality, and Electronic Cultural Production
Critical Art Ensemble

6. Virtual Worlds: Fascination and Reactions
Florian Rötzer

7. Transforming Mirrors: Subjectivity and Control in Interactive Media
David Rokeby

8. Encapsulated Bodies in Motion: Simulators and the Quest for Total Immersion
Erkki Huhtamo

9. Image, Language, and Belief in Synthesis
George Legrady

10. Track Organology
Douglas Kahn

11. On Monitors and Men and Other Unsolved Feminine Mysteries: Video Technology and the Feminine
Nell Tenhaaf

12. The Irresistible Interface: Video's Unknown Forces and Fire-Lit Waves
David Tafler

13. One Video Theory (some assembly required)
Gregory Ulmer




This book offers new critical perspectives on the practice of electronic media art, a field that has sparse critical and theoretical literature. It addresses the relationship between technological change and cultural change and between contemporary theory and contemporary technology.


Critical Issues in Electronic Media is an interdisciplinary sourcebook that offers new critical perspectives directly related to, or arising from, the practice of electronic media art. It sketches the changing topology of culture as it enters electronic space and specifically addresses questions of art practice in that space. Some of the contributions focus on the dynamics of specific emerging media such as interactive media, while others look at the cultural conditions formed by, and forming around, new technological complexes. Still others examine contemporary technocultural manifestations against a background of social and technological history.

The contributors are professionally and geographically diverse, representing professional fields such as computer graphics, video, sound, drama, and visual arts as well as media, cultural and literary theory, and the social sciences. Together, these essays provide a rich survey of contemporary technological critique and offer a perspective on creative practice in technological media.

Simon Penny is Associate Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked in electronic media arts as an artist, writer, and teacher for over ten years and has lectured, published, and exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, and Australia.


"At last a work that goes beyond Utopian speculations and industrial concerns about electronic media to offer carefully explained and often critical views informed by practical experience. This book opens the next stage in the assimilation of electronic culture. It is desperately needed in my view in a growing field of inquiry which has largely been sustained by hype and work that is very weak theoretically and practically. " — Margaret Morse, University of California, Santa Cruz

"The selections are focused, they are all of professional quality, and together they cover all the major issues currently debated in discussions of electronic media. The book combines the strengths of two types of writing, scholarly investigation, and artist's statement. " — Lev Manovich, University of Maryland, Baltimore County