Rear-View Mirrorshades: The Recursive Generation of the Cyberbody
Rear-view mirrorshades: The recursive generation of the cyberbody ‘Watch out for worlds behind you’. William Gibson once considered using this line from a Velvet Underground song as an epigraph for Neuromancer (1986), the novel which introduced the term ‘cyberspace’ into the vernacular (McCaffery, 1991: 265). In an earlier short story, ‘The Gernsback Continuum’, Gibson addressed the futuristic visions of the 1930s – one of those worlds behind us. These visions were never fully realized, and yet they left their mark on the objects of the everyday world: After the advent of the designers, some pencil sharpeners looked as though they'd been put together in wind tunnels. For the most part, the change was only skin-deep; under the streamlined chrome shell, you'd find the same Victorian mechanism. Which made a certain kind of sense, because the most successful American designers had been recruited from the ranks of Broadway theatre designers. (Gibson, ...