HELIXTROLYSIS / Cyberology & the Joycean “Tyrondynamon Machine”
by Louis Armand
ISBN 978-80-7308-539-1 (paperback) 256pp
Publication date: December 2014
Price: € 12.00 (not including postage)
The investigation of entropy, repetition and recursion has become a central feature of the study of language and technology over the last half-century and more. Linked to the advent of cybernetics and a new species of “semiotic machines,” these investigations have given rise to a broadly procedural poetics, according to which texts are viewed in something like a mechanical, autopoietic relation to themselves and to each other, and describing an evolutionary trajectory…
It is an intriguing feature of cybernetics, cognitive science, psychoanalysis, critical theory & particle physics that at key moments in their recent evolution their major practitioners have turned to the work of one particular “experimentalist” writer, James Joyce, in whose key works — Ulysses & Finnegans Wake — they have sought an articulation of the emergent virtuo-real universe which since the mid-20th century we have increasingly come to inhabit. From these two books have directly been drawn the name for the fundamental constituent of the nucleon (Murray Gell-Mann’s quark), a new model of cognition (Daniel Dennett’s Joycean machine), a radical cybernetic conception of language (Jacques Derrida’s Joyceware), a psycho-analytical paradigm (Jacques Lacan’s sinthome), & the foundations of post-War media theory (Marshall McLuhan’s Gutenberg Galaxy, originally called The Road to Finnegans Wake). This volume examines a series of counter arguments to the conventional account of literary cybernetics in light of developments which have accompanied the encounter between critical theory and cultural studies, namely ‘hypertextuality’ and ‘posthumanism.’
Louis Armand is director of the Centre for Critical & Cultural Theory in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University, Prague. His books include Solicitations: Essays on Criticism & Culture; Techne: James Joyce, Hypertext & Technology; and Incendiary Devices: Discourses of the Other.