…and there was light! Rhetorical Performances in the Digital Realm


Session Title:

  • Revolution of the Public Sphere

Presentation Title:

  • ...and there was light! Rhetorical Performances in the Digital Realm



  • According to ‘cyber-critic’ Sadie Plant, through the Internet future is already present, (-) ‘breaking through the endless deferral of human horizons short-circuiting history downloadinS its images into today. (…) Cyberrevolution is virtually real.’

    Embededness of Internet and the digital media in the discourses of revolution; creation of new terrain, new configurations of time, space, and identity, is well documented by this point. What is perhaps more rarely touched upon is the discursive nature of this revolution, which is articulated with concepts derived from cyberpunk fiction. To put it another way, revolution is to a large degree a question of rhetoric. This rhetoric is more than word games: phenomena such as ‘cyberspace’ are being produced through language, along with fantasies and political agendas. These conceptual formulations are performative in creating the phenomena they describe. This, again, raises important questions of asency and answerability, on which the paper will focus here. Paasonen discusses rhetoric and agency, especially in the context offeminist theory on the revolutionary aspects ofdigital arts. What kinds of agencies and agendas are they linked to? What kinds of new worlds are being created?