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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathPostsexual Bodies
The Making of…Desire, Digital
Marie-Luise Angerer

Paul Virilio introduced the term «tele-action» to describe the digitalization of our lives, thus defining the substitution of direct action through «acting from a distance» as a new phenomenon. In his view, however, in the long term this acting, communicating and feeling from a distance will lead to the complete disorientation of humans: «To be used to mean to be somewhere, to be situated, in the here and now, but the situation of the essence of being is undermined by the instantaneity, the immediacy, and the ubiquity which are characteristic of our epoch. […] From now on, humankind will have to act in two worlds at once. This opens up extraordinary possibilities, but at the same time we face the test of a tearing-up of the being, with awkward consequences. We can rejoice in these new opportunities if and only if we also are conscious of their dangers.» [1]

In the meantime, however, without any great effort this model of two worlds, which can also be referred to as ‹tele-presence,› has gained acceptance in everyday life and culture and has not provoked general disorientation. Instead—at least in the first half of the nineties (of the twentieth century)—a prevailing moodof euphoria has set in. Artists and Net users have taken possession of cyberspace as a new space for action and experience. It is being celebrated as a free, unrestricted space onto which no limits have been set. The body and its gender modalities are being discovered as central parameters of identification. For the female gender, even a new epoch is being proclaimed: Sadie Plant, one of the representatives of English Cultural Studies, has declared the Net to be an omnipotent space specifically for women. «If the male human is the only human, the female cyborg is the only cyborg.» [2] Against the background of the cyborg concept as developed by Donna Haraway, the Australian culture theorist Zoë Sofoulis made the following remark: «The future is unmanned, that is, neither dead or collapsed, but animated by other dynamic agents, including women and machines. From the perspective of cyberfeminism […] the question is not one of dominance and control of or submission and surrender to machines, but of exploring alliances and affinities, co-evolutionary possibilities, especially between women and technology.» [3]

The taking possession of cyberspace by female

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Björk: All is full of love (Cunningham, Chris), 1999

cyborgs was inspired in particular by Donna Haraway's «Manifesto for Cyborgs», which was published in 1984. [4] In her manifesto, the American natural scientist, who teaches at the University of California at Santa Cruz, introduces a being that is neither female nor male, neither machine nor animal, but a cyborg. It is a girl who refuses to become a woman (in a classical, traditional sense), who rejects any specification whatsoever: Rather she produces her identity temporarily in permanently new alliances, in constantly varying interactions. With her cyborg figure, Haraway parts with models of society that are built on repression and discipline: Neither Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis nor Michel Foucault's «Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison» are suitable for comprehending post-modern realities (and virtual spaces). Rather, this postmodern state establishes itself according to the principle of control, a principle developed in particular by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. For Haraway, the fact that Deleuze and Guattari no longer define the subject as one of ‹truth› but as one that finds itself in a permanent state of ‹becoming› makes up the particular attraction of thisphilosophy.

Life on and off the screen

Numerous films have been produced which show how media—the old as well as the new digital media—change our lives [5] : «Strange Days» (1995) by Kathryn Bigelow portrays humans who are linked via their brains. I can retrieve the thoughts and feelings of someone else via a «squid» in my brain. Stored on a chip, the wishes and desires, fears and moments of happiness of others enable me to experience someone else's emotional images as my own. In his films «Scanner» (1984), «Videodrome» (1986) and «EXistenZ» (1999), David Cronenberg also thematicized something similar: Humans linked up via communication wires (telephone lines and natural telepathic abilities), their assimilation by the media, as well as their inability to distinguish realities. What is real, and what is virtual? Who is a machine, and who is human? It is not by chance that Chris Cunningham's videoclip for Björks song «All is full of love » (1999) focuses on a cyborg whose loneliness and need for love causes it to turn to its clone. Artificial beings apparently also love/live better as a

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CyberSM (Stenslie, Stahl), 1993Dandy Dust (Scheirl, Hans), 1998

couple. The media artists Stahl Stenslie and Kirk Woolford produced the variant «human hooked up to (love) machine»: In »CyberSM« (1993/94), two people—one in Paris and one in Cologne—have sex with each other. Squeezed into bodysuits and hooked up to computers, their movements, emotional stirrings, skin and heart frequencies are calculated and transmitted, resulting in a ‹real simulation› of arousal and orgasm. These different combinations of human and machine are referred to as «cyborgs.» In this connection, the male/female figure of the cyborg stands for omnipotent feasibility, both material and mental. Not only are parts of the body exchangeable and replaceable, the psychical dimension also undergoes a remodeling. The concept of the cyborg was originally developed within the context of space travel in order to denote a being in new environments—weightlessness in space—a being whose body no longer functions self-sufficiently, but rather in combination with technology: «The concept of the cyborg was to allow man to optimize his internal regulation to suit the environment he may seek.» [6]

Haraway's cyborg, however, now appears in a completely different intellectual environment. As ahybrid bring that is a match for the new postmodern standards for survival: as a superficial being, conceived without emotional depth, it denies itself the old psychoanalytical story of mama and papa. Its identity bears neither the nicks of family tragedies nor the scars of suppressed yearnings. Its essential posits of identity are neither traditions nor standards, neither gender identities nor class-specific boundaries, nor are they different skin colors. Rather these are markings on a path of open options. In this context, Haraway speaks of a «postgender world.» However, ‹postgender› does not mean that gender as a category has become superfluous, but that this can be charged with new meanings. This means that gender identities no longer constitute fundamental bases, but instead political, sexual markings that can be charged with meaning according to the prevailing context.

«Dandy Dust» (1998) by Hans Scheirl is an impressive cinematic example of this. This film is not concerned either with cyberspace or the male/female figure of the cyborg. Nevertheless, it deals exclusively with ‹other existences in other spaces,› monstrous cross-creations, mechanically extended bodies, with

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desire without gender orientation or perverse cravings. [7] As Rachel Armstrong writes in «Cyborg Film Making in Great Britain»: «[c]yborg identities have much to offer. They physically demonstrate that it is possible to defeat obliteration, annihilation, or replacement by the encroachment of the dominant patriarchal, social, technological or medical pressures on the body, and interpret them as survival technologies.» [8] If one allows one's eyes to wander over the identities of the nineties, there dominates a kind of ‹polyidentity,› a queer lifestyle, a «metrosexuality,» as Marjorie Garbner [9] described it. Ambiguities, changing sexual orientations are being played with; male and female combine, in fashion as well as in the music and pop industry. Judith Butler's «Gender Trouble» [10] and Haraway's «Manifesto for Cyborgs» have to be read together in order to make out the dimensions of the socio-political shifts.

The imperative of jouissance

The disciplinary society once analyzed by Foucault has developed into a society of control. Other laws, other performance parameters, other imperatives apply here.One of these new imperatives is that of enjoyment. Enjoy! You have to have fun and find pleasure in doing everything you do, and you only do what is fun and gives you pleasure. There are a whole variety of opportunities to fulfill this urge for enjoyment: from recreational and sports activities to the various media (television, cinema) with their erotic and pornographic programs and films, to submersion in cyberspace. Whereas in the case of the old media such as television and cinema «substitute enjoyment» has priority, in the case of cyberdiving something else is possibly at work, at least that is what the various cybertheory gurus suggest. Slavoj Zizek in particular made the term «substitute enjoyment» well-known. «Substitute enjoyment» is at work in the choruses of ancient Greek theater, in various burial ceremonies with wailers standing in for mourners at funerals, in situation comedies with their «canned laughter.» In all of these cases we let someone stand in for us, and we get our pleasure in this way. With reference to television, at the beginning of the nineties Zizek made the point that this consists in doing nothing, but still being involved. [11] A few years later, in «Lacan with

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quantum physics» [12] and in «The Plague of Fantasies» [13] he described the arrangement made available by the Internet and its link-up possibilities. According to Zizek, in the case of the Internet we have to reckon with more far-reaching changes. It could come to a fusion with the computer, and a state might again set in which prevailed before the sexualization of the subject, i.e. a state prior to sexual differentiation and thus a state characteristic of pure pleasure—pure autoeroticism. In «The Plague of Fantasies» Zizek describes counterforces that attempt to contain this boundless state of pleasure, above all the subject her/himself, who would react to the profusion of choices presented by the Internet with anorexia-like behavior: «Is not one of the possible reactions to the excessive filling-in of the voids in cyberspace therefore informational anorexia, the desperate refusal to accept information, in so far as it occludes the presence of the Real?» [14] This is a line of argumentation that comes very close to that of Paul Verhaege. In his book «Love in a time of loneliness» [15] he makes the point that there is a comparable paradox in our society. Because in a time which professes to allow everything,which almost forces the individual to be everything and to have everything and, as already mentioned, also to get pleasure from everything, instead of happiness, boredom and tiredness spread. Less and less people would be able to get involved with other people or other things. Instead, we would make out a hysterical quest for new proscriptions, new leaders, new rules and rituals. This means that immense liberty, unrestrained pleasure, communication and sexual contacts with everyone and at any time would lead to a draining. Boundaries, restraints, rules and laws are apparently necessary in order to keep that force alive which psychoanalysis termed libido at the beginning of the twentieth century, and which since Jacques Lacan has been known as the desire that drives the subject forward.

Being part of an image

How can one now understand all of the different television events in which people expose, degrade and make themselves appear ridiculous in public? What can the longing to come on to someone in the Internet or invent a false autobiography be traced back to? Is not

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every biography false? False because the narrator does not even know that she/he is ‹inventing,› that she/he ‹invents› her/himself, paints a picture of her/himself in which she/he has found/occupied a wonderful place?

In the case of television or the Internet, this ‹being part of the image› can be understood literally: In the studio, in front of the studio audience, in the spotlight and in the lens of the camera the feeling can actually arise of being involved, of being the center of everyone's attention, of being admired and desired by a symbolic community. A similar experience can be made in the Net in the different chatgroups: an experience of belonging. The daily ritual of logging in, parting with reality in front of the computer, and submersing oneself in an image that does not contain less degrees of reality than ‹real› worlds of metaphors. It is not by chance that the vastness of cyberspace is charged with all of those metaphors that are associated with roaming about, surfing, lightness and carefreeness.

Two interpretations can be offered here: Firstly, ‹being in the picture› as a psychical modality of ‹being in the world› as defined by Jacques Lacan. Andsecondly, several aspects of the Deleuzian philosophy that precede ‹the nomadic subject.›

Lacan defined ‹being part of the image› as a fundamental requisite for perceiving one's self. In doing so he fell back on the theory developed by Roger Callois after investigating the camouflage behavior of insects. These insects do not adapt their color to their surroundings in order to protect themselves from the enemy, but rather in order to be a patch in their surroundings. [16] Lacan transfers this to the child who mimics her/his surroundings, rehearses being in a picture in order to preserve ‹her/his› image. The boundaries of this (self-)image though are always fragile, emotionally vulnerable, because the subject loves, seeks and desires an other self in the picture—an image behind the image. Transferred to media images this means that the images provide the viewers with the framework for becoming part of an image and thus for vanishing into the image.

In contrast, Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy provides another perspective. Whereas with Lacan the possibility of ‹toppling out› of the picture is filled with fears, with Deleuze and Guattari the crossing over of

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La Réincarnation de Sainte Orlan (Orlan), 1990

marked out territories—moving along «lines of flight»—is something that is part of the subject. This is its most foreign part though, an uncanny and unresolved part. Besides the lines of flight, it is in particular the body without organs that illustrates this conflict of antagonistic forces, which define and at the same time overflow the subject. Brian Massumi makes the following suggestion in his «User's guide to capitalism and schizophrenia»: «Think of the body without organs as the body outside any determinate state, poised for any action in its repertory; this is the body from the point of view of its potential, or virtuality.» [17] If we now translate this ‹organless body› with ‹organization-less body,› we come closer to what Deleuze and Guattari understand by this. We are dealing you see with a body that simultaneously exists beside the organized (defined, divided up, sub-divided) body, that threatens to infiltrate or actually subverts—in the case of insanity, drugs and illness—the organization of the one body.

The French performance artist Orlan, who has become known for her spectacular operations, acts on a completely different level. In «La Réincarnation de Sainte Orlan»and in the seventh operation, «Ceci est mon corps…ceci est mon logiciel: Omniprésence,» she had her face remolded according to classical models in art history. Entire parts of her face were cut open and numerous implants inserted, allowing a new face to emerge. During this procedure she quoted passages from works by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in order to make her ‹senseless› conduct comprehensible in its existential dimension. The ego is nothing more than an image, and a deceiving one at that, which we always fail to recognize; we never perceive it as it really is, but rather as we would like to be seen. [18] Or formulated in another way: Skin is all that I have; there is nothing under it: no ego, no soul, no truth. However even this skin is not unique, but malleable and changeable. Orlan cites the French psychoanalyst Eugénie Lémoine-Luccioni: «Skin is deceiving—in life, one only has one skin—there is a bad exchange in human relations because one never is what one has. I have the skin of an angel but I am a jackal, the skin of a crocodile but I am a poodle, the skin of a black person, but I am white, the skin of a woman, but I am a man, I never have the skin of what I

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am. There is no exception to this rule because I am never what I have.» [19]

However, in his theory of the ‹ego as a sack of skin,› Sigmund Freud had already formulated this in a somewhat less spectacular way. Here he followed the development of the linguistic, symbolic ego out of the folds of skin of the body. [20] The English culture theorist Parveen Adams had the Freudian topology in mind when she called the ‹Operation Orlan› an «anamorphosis of space which bears upon sexual difference.» [21] Freud's attempt to explain the structural components of ‹ego, super-ego and id› in a dynamic as well as a topological way makes possible this connection between spatial arrangement and force relations. Because spatial arrangements are founded on basal assumptions. If one of them is not fulfilled, the subject can ‹topple out› of its perceptive framework. Thus interior and exterior must fit, i.e. they have to both exclude and complete each other. The second assumption refers to the ‹how› of this fit; it must you see be isomorphic, i.e. match in a simple way. However, this isomorphism does not make reference to the pair interior/exterior, but rather it also definesthe whole list of opposing arrangements which characterize occidental thought: body–mind, essence–appearance, subject–object, male–female, and finally phallic–castrated. If these pairs are subjected to an ‹anamorphotic› [22] procedure it becomes immediately clear that «each term of the pair is not in contradiction to the other term and the extent to which the relations between them, far from conforming a clean-cut isomorphism, are strewn with strange thresholds and hybrid forms.» [23] With Orlan's opening of the skin the ‹interior and exterior› boundary of the body/face is drastically violated, the pretence of depth—therefore a truth under the skin—is destroyed, and thus perceptive balance is disrupted.

This is different in the case of «Strange Days» by Kathryn Bigelow. When Lenny inserts his chip and immediately becomes a girl and the victim of a rape that ends fatally, the spasms and writhing of his body and his stammering are not an expression of his surprise to have landed in ‹another film,› but rather an indication of his being overpowered in the image. Or when one of Lenny's customers suddenly finds himself

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Erotogod (Stenslie, Stahl)

as an 18-year-old girl under the shower, his surprise can be attributed to the fact that boundaries—between one reality and another—are momentarily no longer recognizable or controllable: One's own body has become another one whose movements obey different laws, which feels foreign, whose desire is new and, in a Freudian sense, ‹uncanny.› [24] Here, shock and disgust, repulsion and horror take place in «another scene» [25] than is the case with Orlan. Visitors to «Erotogod» are also meant to experience this kind of sensual confusion. After «CyberSM» SStahl Stenslie developed further interfaces in order to extend the tactility of the visitor's body. In «Erotogod» the visitor sits on a kind of ‹saddle,› wrapped up in a suit that marks the respective places on the body where tactility is to dock. In a description of the project, Stahl Stenslie wrote: «Erotogod prints new words as sensations on the body.» All of the examples cited here deal with the inscription (of words, images, feelings) onto one's own body, onto its sensations, emotional images and emotional states. A kind of self-alienation occurs, a self-estrangement—in a literal sense (and thus strict sense-lessness). This iswhere the link to the ‹sexual reality› of humans and its structure of desire are located. Because who it is that acts and gets pleasure in offline life? In the end, the sexual dimension, which is regarded as the most intimate human dimension, only constitutes the boundary of rationality, consciousness and control. [26] It represents a reservoir of inconsistencies, foreignness and inexplicability. It comprises all of what Freud attributed to the effect of drive, Lacan to desire, and finally Slavoj Zizek to «the plague of fantasies.» [27] In addition, Zizek also made the point that computer users develop a relationship with their machines that is a «perverse» one. Because the world generated by the computer makes explicit a mechanism whose course would otherwise be implicit: «The virtualization, which was previously ‹in itself,› a mechanism which operated implicitly, as the hidden foundations of our lives, now becomes explicit, is posited as such, with crucial consequences for ‹reality› itself.» [28] This relation is in so far «perverse» as with it the fundamental difference «phallic–castrated» is denied. [29] The (at least for the layperson) incomprehensible movements and courses of

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the data flows; the ‹wonderful› emergence of the others, who however are completely distant in their concrete physicality; the child-like joy over the simultaneity of being at different geographic poles; a directly experienced intimacy; the feeling of an omnipotent and ubiquitous access and response: all of this makes experiences in the Net so seductive and provokes the fantasies mentioned here.

Desire, insatiable, potential

Besides the representatives of psychoanalysis, in particular Jacques Lacan and his situating desire in the symbolic order, it is above all Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari who have conferred great meaning to desire. In their case one can even speak of a kind of ‹ontological constant.› Because while psychoanalysis starts out from a ‹transgression of being,› through which desire is installed into human existence as a fundamental constant, in Deleuze and Guattari's ‹Philosophy of Becoming› it has its basis in the overabundance of being itself. Desire is one of the abundance (of being) and not of the deficiency (of the subject or language). But both theoretical versions ofthe subject omit its actual place: In Lacan's psychoanalytical theory the subject «shows» itself between the signifiers and is defined as an effect of the signification process. In the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari it is the preliminary result of different power relations, which permanently distort and deform it. They call these two different states «molar» and «molecular»: «molar» means rigid, fixed and sealed off sedimentations, whereas «molecular» refers to flexibility and being fluid, agile and open. The individual however is always somewhere in between: between being and becoming different or something else. «Molar» describes the state in which humans became simulacra, «derived from a social aggregate […] Since no particular body can entirely coincide with the code enveloped in its assigned category and in the various images recapitulating it, a molar person is always a bad copy of its model.» [30] Both states are produced by two different modalities of subjection: «subjectivation» and «subjectification.» While «subjectification» means that one is a subject only with respect to something, «either the State or Capitalism, and its aim is to produce more surplus value,» the other modality,

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Empyrean (Rackham, Melinda)

«subjectivation,» describes «lines of flight within the subject.» However, these have little to do with a subject—rather it is a question of an «individuation operating by intensities, within individual fields not within persons or identities.» [31]

The attempts to define the ‹agents› in the Net in theory and in practice as ‹a-persons› can also be read against this background. Cells, bacteria, viruses and other morphologically indefinite figurations therefore often share the digital planet. After Sadie Plant first defined women as the best inhabitants of the Net, in a second step she came to the conclusion that a digital culture cannot, however, presume a familiar form. Rather the active authorities must be thought of as something that causes «complex interactions of media, organisms, weather patterns, ecosystems, thought patterns, cities, discourses, fashions, populations, brains, markets, dance nights and bacterial exchanges [to] emerge. […] You live in cultures, and cultures live in you. […] Without the centrality of agency, culture is neither high, nor ordinary, but complex.» [32] The Australian media artist Melinda Rackham develops these kinds of living things, by means of which she attemptsto convert them into movements, migrations, transferences, affections, states of love, viral symbioses and transformations of all kinds: pulsating, glowing, starfish-like creations, a glittering and flickering as in a fluorescent aquarium. To cite only a couple of her works: The multi-user project «empyrean» depicts a parallel universe, an arena beyond space and time, the hungry emptiness following potentialities, a world of breaks and intervals in which we operate as avatars. In contrast, the work «carrier» visualizes a symbiotic ecology that is produced through the love affair between the user and the hepatitis C virus. [33]

This digital configuration does not, however, only receive support from the cyberfeminist side. Representatives of a ‹posthuman› direction of thought also favor the amorphic state as the expression of a posthuman stage of development. This differs in many respects from the modern version of humans, in particular with regard to language and sexual difference and its associated desire. While the psychoanalyst Jacque Lacan, a classic representative of modernity, speaks of «floating signifiers,» according to the American literary scholar N. Katherine Hayles

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the world has long since been conquered by «flickering signifiers.» The «floating signifiers» obtain their value and thus their semantic meaning from their different positions within the whole system of language (in the sense of the structural linguistics advanced by Ferdinand de Saussure, who wrote the first «Introduction to Structural Linguistics» in 1914). They function in much the same way as the now famous «peek-a-boo game» [34] that Sigmund Freud played with his grandson, using a set of signs to practice presence and absence (of the boy's mother). Hayle's «flickering signifiers,» in contrast, no longer play with presence and absence, rather they posit «pattern and randomness,» which are subject to permanent mutation. This mutation is for the posthuman age what castration was for modernity, for the era of possessive individualism. So in the posthuman age, in order to be able to recognize the radical difference between yesterday and today one must set Freud's «peek-a-boo game» beside David Cronenberg's film «The Fly» (1986): When during the process of his metamorphosis into a fly the protagonist's penis falls off, he no longer experiences this as castrated, but rather as«posthuman.» [35]

In their list of the possibilities of becoming someone/something else, Deleuze and Guattari conferred a prominent position to «becoming an animal.» However, this does not suggest the actual metamorphosis into an animal, but rather—in the sense of Franz Kafka's «The Metamorphosis»—understanding the traumatic shock one experiences when one realizes that one is no longer standing on two legs, but lying wriggling on one's armored back. It can presumably be attributed to a Freudian slip that Hayles reads the falling off of the penis as the first indication of a posthuman state, a state of ‹beyond human.› Because both psychoanalysis and the Deleuzian philosophy of immanence agree in one point: that being human and the sexualization of the body are deeply connected. In 1986 the French psychoanalyst J. Laplanche and the philosopher J.-B. Pontalis wrote the following about this:

«The whole point is to show that human beings have lost their instincts, especially their sexual instinct and, more specifically still, their instinct to reproduce. […] [D]rives and forms of behavior are plastic, mobile

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and interchangeable. Above all, it foregrounds their […] vicariousness, the ability of one drive to take place of another.» [36] This means that sexuality is never resolved in the satisfaction of needs, but rather that it always includes the dimensions of desire and demand at the same time. [37] Conversely, psychoanalysis and the Deleuzian approach agree that on the way to becoming human—on the way to becoming a woman or a man—something is lost, but that something is also gained. While the prelinguistic, presymbolic union (this hallucinated symbiosis with the mother's body) is lost, a force—desire—is gained. If sexual difference, which is not resolved in the differentiation of male and female but which primarily means that a body must be sexually marked in order to be read as a human body, is erased, this being loses its human status and is no longer distinguishable from an animal or a machine: Because sexual difference is «the enigmatic domain which lies in between, no longer biology and not yet the space of socio-symbolic construction. […] this in-between is the very ‹cut› which sustains the gap between the Real and the contingent multitude of the modes of its symbolization.»[38]

Deleuze and Guattari have also defined the relation between the female and male bodies on the one hand as loss, and on the other hand as implementation of power. Our bodies were taken away from us in order to use them to form units in which we get ourselves back again—now oppose each other as woman and man, as child and adult. Because it is not or not exclusively a question of the organism, history, or the subject of enunciationphrase, as they put it, «that oppose masculine to feminine in the great dualism machines. through which female and male are set against one another in great dual machines. It is first of all a The question is fundamentally that of the body—the body they steal from us in order to fabricate opposable organisms.» [39] Whether defined as a «distorted relation» (Zizek) or as an «opposing duality» (Deleuze), something always remains ‹outside.› This can be called the ‹gap between the Real and reality,› a trail that shall be erased from the posthuman discourse as well as from numerous Net utopias. Sherry Turkle's description of «Life on the Screen» provides us with an example for this: «Thus, more than twenty years after meeting the ideas of Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, and

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Guattari, I am meeting them again in my new life on the screen. But this time, the Gallic abstractions are more concrete. In my computer-mediated worlds, the self is multiple, fluid, and constituted in interaction with machine connections; it is made and transformed by language; sexual congress is an exchange of signifiers; and understanding follows from navigation and tinkering rather than analysis. And in the machine-generated world of MUDs, I meet characters who put me in a new relationship with my own identity.» [40]

It is precisely that ‹getting light› pointed out by Lacan with reference to speech that is invalidated by the dedifferentiation or conforming of signifier and signified, of sign and referent. Applied to Deleuze and Guitarri's definition of desire as an effect of overflowing being, [41] this means an existence under the control of the adding machine, which is forced to obey the law of algorithmic operations. Both of the positions cited here—Lacan's and Deleuze's—have followed the motions of desire, have described it with the aid of mathematic formulae (Lacan) and plastic metaphors (Deleuze), have tracked it down in various terrains and awarded the media machines differentpotentialities. But when today certain media theories describe the digital as «the Real» (Lacan), they are as wrong as those who celebrate computer users as «nomadic subjects» (in the sense of Deleuze and Guattari).

Translation by Rebecca van Dyck

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