Critic, science fiction writer and noted Net theorist Bruce Sterling speaking on atemporality and the passage of time as reflected in images at the EGS in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in May 2009. Sterling spoke about computer security, post modernity, time, the digital frontier, the nature of the archive. Sterling attempts in his lecture to “get away from words” in order to focus on an atemporal sensibility in order to get the audience to see images in the way he sees them. Using a different approach to a human standpoint of time, Sterling attempts to examine futurity, history and the present from the standpoint of “contemporary temporalism.” Looking at the archive and our relationship to objects from Leonardo Da Vinci to contemporary fetishes, Sterling examines each subject from the standpoint of atemporality. Public open lecture for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School EGS Media and Communication Studies department program Saas-Fee Switzerland.
As well as being a leading science fiction writer, Bruce Sterling has been involved with numerous projects and written several books of futurist theory. He was the founder of the Dead Media Project, an on-line reliquary, or archive, to forgotten, or dead, media technologies. In this way, he looked to the past through the future, anticipating, almost, in the shininess of new media, its utter destruction. He also founded the Viridian Design Movement, an environmental aesthetic movement founded on the ideas of global citizenship, environmental design and techno-progressiveness. His numerous book length essays both question and promote how the future is shaping our concepts of self, time and space. In “Shaping Things” (2005) offer a history of shaped objects, moving from the most rudimentary hand-made artifacts through to the complex machinery which defines our current existence. In “Tomorrow Now; Envisioning the Next Fifty Years” (2002), Sterling examines how today’s technologies will affect our future lives. Written in a wry, intelligent style, Sterling’s book makes bold claims on the future, examining scientists use of medicine to extend our lives while examining at the same time our seemingless bottomless thirst for oil. Sterling’s most acclaimed book, “The Hacker Crackdown; Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier” (1993) is a deep history of the birth of cyberspace, following the periphery of the development of technology from the first telephone hackers to the government’s attack on several prominent hackers in 1990.
Bruce Sterling’s novels incluce Intuition Ocean (1977), The Artifical Kid (1980), Heavy Weather (1994), Zeitgiest (2000), and most recently The Caryatids (2009). His essay collection and non-fiction books include The Hacker Crackdown; Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier (1993), Tomorrow Now; Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002), and Shaping Things (2005). He currently blogs at Beyond the Beyond for Wired Magazine.