What it feels like for a (networked) girl
a post-humanist approach to psychoanalysis
Keywords:machinic psyche, melancholia, posthuman, human-computer interaction, Teknolust
A speculative update to Sherry Turkle’s “Whither Psychoanalysis in Computer Culture,” this essay explores the potential for a posthuman theory of personality to serve the computational objects that in turn serve our human needs. Where Turkle’s interests in early cybernetic discourse lay in human nature and psychology, networked technology today presents a dispersal of cognition, spilling the notion of consciousness onto nonhuman objects and systems. Drawing from Freudian melancholia, this essay offers a developing framework for machinic psyche. To render a speculative analysis more concrete, I locate affective parallels between autonomous vehicles and the self-replicating automatons in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s film Teknolust. Suggesting a relational (and reversible) understanding of love and despair, my argument aligns with systems-based theories of affect and consciousness.
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