Extreme Mediation

July 27th, 2007 | Category: Marginalia

These are two images depicting extreme technological mediation that I’m hoping to include in the final book on this topic.

The first I found in a book called Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation (Aperture, 1996) edited by Timothy Druckery. It’s called “We’ll All Be Happy Then” by Harry Grant Dart, and it ran in Life magazine in 1911. It shows a man completely immersed in media:

Life, 1911

The next, a similar piece, is from Jeff Nicholson’s Through the Habitrails (Bad Habit, 1994). It depicts Jeff in an all-encompassing, technology-induced weekend binge:

Through the Habitrails

Just short of what has been called “The Moravec Process,” whereby one’s consciousness is uploaded into the machine (or the character in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash [Bantam Spectra, 1992] whose van and half-functional body have become one), these two pictures illustrate the extremes to which one could take technological mediation.

Cautionary tales abound when it comes to technology and control, and these two images certainly give caution.

Further Posting:


  • Roy Christopher (author) said:

    I’m currently reading Voyage to the End of the Room by Tibor Fischer (one of my favorite fiction authors — highly recommended), which explores many of the same themes of extreme mediation depicted above.

  • WALL-E: Here to Save You All | Roy Christopher said:

    […] off-world aboard its all-inclusive space community — the “Axiom” — where our every need is provided by machines (e.g., hoverchairs, ubiquitous screens, meals in cups eaten through straws, […]

  • Kaleigh said:

    You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incerbidle!