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In Necromedia, media activist Marcel O’Gorman takes aim at “the collusion of death and technology,” drawing on a broad arsenal that ranges from posthumanist philosophy and social psychology to digital art and handmade “objects-to-think-with.” Throughout, O’Gorman mixes philosophical speculation with artistic creation, personal memoir, and existential dread. He is not so much arguing against technoculture as documenting a struggle to embrace the technical essence of human being without permitting technology worshippers to have the last word on what it means to be human.
Inspired in part by the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, O’Gorman begins by suggesting that technology provides human beings with a cultural hero system built on the denial of death and a false promise of immortality. This theory adds an existential zest to the book, allowing the author not only to devise a creative diagnosis of what Bernard Stiegler has called the malaise of contemporary technoculture but also to contribute a potential therapy—one that requires embracing human finitude, infusing care into the process of technological production, and recognizing the vulnerability of all things, human and nonhuman. With this goal in mind, Necromedia prescribes new research practices in the humanities that involve both written work and the creation of objects-to-think-with that are designed to infiltrate and shape the technoculture that surrounds us.