In his recent book Necromedia, Dr. O’Gorman argues that humans are technical animals, driven forward by a prosthetic way of being that causes us to deny our animality. Of course, part of that animality is our finitude, our inevitable deaths. As O’Gorman argues, death denial is an essential aspect of the human existential situation, and it helps explain why we are so easily seduced by technology’s promise of newness, fame, and immortality. In this talk, Dr. O’Gorman will elaborate on these arguments, present a posthumanist perspective on technoculture, and demonstrate how these ideas have inspired the design of digital objects-to-think-with created in the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo.
Dr. O’Gorman is Professor of English, University Research Chair, and Director of the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo. He has published widely on topics ranging from digital writing and maker culture to posthumanist philosophy and “digital dementia.” Dr. O’Gorman is also an active digital artist whose installations and performances involve video, sensor-based computing, interactive media, and sculptural objects such as a treadmill, a cedar and canvas canoe, a penny farthing bicycle, a Catholic tabernacle, and a handmade arcade cabinet.