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Bio/Techno/Logo : writing and the face in the human/machine relation

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Bio/Techno/Logo : writing and the face in the human/machine relation

Cooke, Grayson (2005) Bio/Techno/Logo : writing and the face in the human/machine relation. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis asks the question of the relation between humanity and technics, and the role of writing in mediating this relation. Since Plato, this relation has been a concern of philosophical thought. More recently, it has been brought to the fore by technoscientific and biotechnological practices, and contextualized in terms of the cyborg, the posthuman, the hybrid. Using a deconstructive methodology, and conducting analyses of filmic, literary, promotional, theatrical and critical texts, this thesis argues that humanity and technics are codetermined and codetermining. The thesis is divided into two parts, each of which follows this argument through different realms. Part One focuses on the concept of 'the writing machine'. Writing, as a tekhne, has often been derided for its supposed status as external to the present, human subject. Through analysis of key texts by Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler amongst others, this thesis demonstrates that writing and thus technics are not external to the human but are rather determinants of the human. In contemporary biotechnological discourse, technics has come to function as a primary metaphor in the understanding of biological and human 'life'. Again however, it is writing that conditions, powers and instantiates this technical rendering of life. Part Two focuses on the concept of 'the face'. The face is one of the most crucial scenes in which the relation between the human and the technical is played out. The face is the representative of the human being. The face implies and implicates the human, it is the seat of communication and language, and in contemporary cosmetic culture, it is the locus of striving for ideals of public appearance. But appearance is far from simple. The fact that faces 'have' an appearance suggests that appearance is a matter of seeming and resemblance, that is, of representation. The human face is always mediated by technical systems and medical cures, it is promised by technics and kept in abeyance by technics, in one and the same movement. Through the face, the human remains always a spectre, there by not being there, mediated by technological becomings and virtual projections.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Cooke, Grayson
Pagination:vi, 370 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2005
Thesis Supervisor(s):Russell, Katie
ID Code:8547
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:28
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:28
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