Reality Jamming: Beyond Complex Causality in Mediated System

Karen Cham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


It is clear through experience that there is some significant relationship between media representations and cultural effects. Yet as practice leads theory through the sheer velocity of technological change, experience outstrips theoretical understanding of the relationship between the sign and the signified, the simulation and the social, the model and the real. For example, the international crisis provoked by the publication of a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed as an unexpected result of networked global media; or the pre-mediated violence of the ‘trenchcoat mafia’, where signification was an intentional precursor to real effects; or the trajectory of ‘celebrity’, where the ‘virtually real’ is designed, acted out, consumed and fed back in a co-evolving eco-system of signification. The proliferation of digital media means it is increasingly important to understand interaction per se, especially the interaction between systems of signification and the real. This paper argues that all representational systems have a performative capacity for transformation of the real and that signification is a dynamic intermediate realm between the real and the conceptual which can be best understood as a realm of invocation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium of Electric Arts (ISEA)
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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