Marcel O’Gorman – Necromedia


Univ Of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-0816695713, English, 256 pages, 2015, USA

Decades after McLuhan, we’re still naturally inclined to embrace technology as prosthetics, or something that expands our faculties in a wide range of practical and abstract abilities. But the finitude of technologies is perceived only slightly in their specific obsolescence, not in their nature. In fact, we often attribute a quality of “immortality” to technologies, which is especially perceivable in the online services we use so extensively, assuming their existence as forever certain (a classic example is the uneasy management of Facebook profiles after the death of the owner). O’Gorman here reflects on the relationship between technology and death from a personal, artistic and philosophical position. Using a specific strategy alternating chapters exploring theory with chapters describing his own artistic or activist gestures, he provides a credible account of the unavoidability of death presence even in an over-technological existence. Death is treated in the whole spectrum of its cultural manifestations, especially the way it is narrated in very different media. But the main focus of the investigation looks at the imminence of technology in our lives through a large number of social and cultural constructs (religion or terrorism, for example), and with a recognition of physicality beyond any technological mediation. The author also attempts to define “necromedia” as a category useful for labelling cultural objects, and the book with its combination of written forms and content emerges as a kind of “performative essay.”