CTheory Multimedia: Wired Ruins/Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia


Session Title:

  • Ctheory Multimedia: Wired Ruins/Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia

Presentation Title:

  • CTheory Multimedia: Wired Ruins/Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia



  • In response to the global promise of and challenge to the expression of ethnic identity via digital means, the biannual electronic journal, CTheory Multimedia, is about to publish a special issue of internet art dedicated to the theme of “Wired Ruins: Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia”. “Wired Ruins” reflects on the digital and viral networks of ethnic identities that now so urgently emit faint signals for recognition among the overlapping diffusions of cultural angst and digital terror. A vibrantly pulsating network resisting the repression of the new age of censorship, “Wired Ruins” is a simulacrum of cross-cultural infection and cross-border fluidity. Reacting to the complex horrors of terrorism while resisting the surveillance regimes of the disciplinary state, its practitioners work passionately to reposition the code in counter-response to the aggressive parasites of religious fanaticism and ethnic paranoia. “Wired Ruins” will haunt the future as the skeletal archive of the many unrecorded artistic responses to digital terror and ethnic paranoia. The global media events of September 11, 2001, prompted the co-curators, Arthur & Marilouise Kroker and Timothy Murray, to invite contributions that would extend representation of ethnicity to its framing in the context of digital terror and paranoia. The panel will present the contents of the issue (roughly 15 works of art) while framing it theoretically and contextually. Our aim will be to introduce ISEA participants to artistic reflections not only on the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City but also on crosscultural terror and paranoia as it occurs across global points of artistic intersection: Israel and Palestine, Lebanon and Switzerland, Soweto and New York. In so doing, we will reflect on the contributions made by the artworks and their conceptual presentation in the journal to the understanding of terror in the digital age. Responding to more than the lingering residue of bent steel and disrupted economies, “Wired Ruins” invites its users to mix the psychic bytes and artistic interventions of its three interactive, databases for critical reordering and creative reconfiguration: “Digital Terror: Ghosting 9-11,” “Ethnic Paranoia, before and beyond,” and “Rewiring the Ruins”.