December 16, 2003

You Down With OPC, Yeah You Know Me

The back cover of Steven Shaviro's Connected calls him a DJ theorist, and for once the cover blurb is spot on. Like a DJ in the mix, Shaviro never pauses the flow of information, there are no chapters. Instead he cuts back and forth between what we'll call, in homage to Naughty by Nature and D&G, "Other People's Concepts" or OPC for short. Of course like many a good DJ me makes sure to mix in a good amount of his own creations in the proceedings. But make no mistake about it this is a mix, and its pretty seamless.

So we have the DJ, but what about the party? Connected plays like the dark afterhours club we stumbled into after the bright eyed euphoria of the dot com party got harshly shutdown. The venture capitalists and marketing bunnies have all gone home to nurse their stock option hangovers, but many of the interesting people are still around. Or maybe finally gotten out of the house. The vibe is dark, hard sci fi cyberpunks, mixing it up with west coast, Whole Earth/Wired school thinkers and euro cultural theorists.

There are A list stars in the mix, Baudrillard is cut together with William Gibson for instance. But Shaviro brings in a lot of gems that well known only to the trainspotters, KW Jeter serves as something of villain/antihero, while Warren Ellis, Ken MacLeod and Georges Bataille's concepts are prominent in the mix. In fact the bibliography serves as a damn good guide to turn of the century cybertheory.

Like many a good afterhours Connected makes plenty of sense while your in the midst of it. Whether you will take anything away is another question, and one that might take time to answer. From Jazz through Electroclash, many a music form has been born in the dark spaces of illicit entertainment. Shaviro would have us believe that he dark spaces of hard science fiction and radical theory are equally as fertile, and he may well be right.

Posted by William Blaze at December 16, 2003 02:08 AM | TrackBack

This book is excellent. I've sent a few questions to Shaviro for my column in Capital mag. What I take away from it is a foreboding sense of doom. A kind of dark scenario. A pointing to where we're going. A preparation manual for what is to come--and it isn't pretty. It's distopian.

Posted by: tobias c. van Veen on December 17, 2003 12:46 AM


Posted by: call in on August 1, 2005 07:49 PM
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