Lifestream, Tweets

Jonathan Sterne argues that ‘we need to be more careful in our object construction’ (2006, p. 18), and not just assume that we know what cyberculture is. He suggests that the danger in doing so is that significant parts of cyberculture, such as sound/audio, are overlooked.

Sterne also highlights the role of periodization in deciding what is or is not included in our construction of (historical) concepts. In cyberculture studies the standards of periodization include (Sterne, 2006, p. 23):

  1. by technology: computers – personal computers – Internet
  2. by art: avant-garde art – cyberpunk – cyberculture
  3. by economics: fordism – postfordism

Sterne calls for less acceptance of historical periods as ‘self-evident categories in our data, and more like problems to be considered and debated’ (p. 24). This prompted me to interrogate my own ideas of when cyberculture ‘started’. Can we include arcade culture, or is the separation between human and machine and the limited connectedness* within it, too far conceptually from the connected worlds of the Internet, and the socially/bodily integrated nature of digital technologies assumed/witnessed in more ‘traditional’ notions of cyberculture?

*for me, arcade ‘culture’ provided the first opportunity to play against unknown others – but the experience was tied to the location of the game played on, and examination of ‘top scores’ on return to the arcade/pub housing the game. I still don’t know who BK_STONE was/is.. but they were very good at Pac Man..

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