André Nusselder – Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology

André Nusselder

The MIT Press, English, ISBN-13: 978-0262513005, U.S.A., 2009
Psychologists have been rarely very helpful in understanding the most deep and intimate relationships between men and machines. At the end of nineties one of the early scientific books investigating this field out: “The Psychology of the Internet” by Patricia Wallace. It tried to analyze emotional emergences rising on the net, which were mainly caused by the new mediated type of real-time relationships, basing everything on the theories of Freud, Jung and Addler. But at that time MUD and chat were probably the most extreme virtual territories. Ten years later there’s whole universe online, shaped in dynamic and changing forms, crowded with millions of users. Published in the “Short Circuit” series, edited by Slavoj Žižek, this book is a peculiar one, embodying a conceptual shift, adequate to the current times. The central thesis of the author is that “the computer screen functions in cyberspace as a psychological space – as the screen of fantasy.” Fantasy here is meant as in Lacanian theory: an interface between the inaccessible real and the imaginary world we mentally live in. So if cyberspace (a historic word to define the connected virtual space) is perceived as a “mental” space, fantasy becomes the universal mediation of every shared piece of information, as the symbolic case of “affective avatars.” It’s a complex book, as one would expect, but it flows smoothly, and it gives to people engaged by theory and philosophy new intellectual sparkles on which continue to dissect the ever-expanding virtual dimension.