Within the expansive mediascape of the 1980s and 1990s, cyberpunk's aesthetics took firm root, relying heavily on visual motifs for its near-future splendor saturated in media technologies, both real and fictitious. As today's realities look increasingly like the futures forecast in science fiction, cyberpunk speaks to our contemporary moment and as a cultural formation dominates our 21st century techno-digital landscapes.
The 15 essays gathered in this volume engage the social and cultural changes that define and address the visual language and aesthetic repertoire of cyberpunk - from cybernetic organisms to light, energy, and data flows, from video screens to cityscapes, from the vibrant energy of today's video games to the visual hues of comic book panels, and more. Cyberpunk and Visual Culture provides critical analysis, close readings, and aesthetic interpretations of exactly those visual elements that define cyberpunk today, moving beyond the limitations of merely printed text to also focus on the meaningfulness of images, forms, and compositions that are the heart and lifeblood of cyberpunk graphic novels, films, television shows, and video games.
Graham J. Murphy is Professor with the School of English and Liberal Studies (Faculty of Business) at Seneca College (Toronto). He co-edited Beyond Cyberpunk: New Critical Perspectives with Sherryl Vint (2010), co-authored Ursula K. Le Guin: A Critical Companion with Susan M. Bernardo (2006), and authored several articles that have appeared in numerous anthologies and peer-review journals. He is an Associate Editor for Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts and sits on the editorial advisory boards of both Science Fiction Studies and Extrapolation. Lars Schmeink is Professor of Media Studies at the Institut fur Kultur- und Medienmanagement, Hochschule fur Musik und Theater (Hamburg) and is currently the president of the Gesellschaft fur Fantastikforschung (Association for Research in the Fantastic). He is the German section editor for media in the Open Library of the Humanities, the author of Biopunk Dystopias: Genetic Engineering, Society, and Science Fiction (2016), and has published in Science Fiction Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television and Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts.
Scott Bukatman Foreword: Cyberpunk and its Visual Vicissitudes Graham J. Murphy and Lars Schmeink Introduction: The Visuality and Virtuality of Cyberpunk I: "Image/Text Concatenations"; or, From Literary to Visual Cyberpunk (and back again) Christian Hviid Mortensen Beyond the Heroics of Gonzo-Journalism in Transmetropolitan Timothy Wilcox Embodying Failures of the Imagination: Defending the Posthuman in The Surrogates Graham J. Murphy Cyberpunk Urbanism and Subnatural Bugs in BOOM! Studios' Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Stina Attebery and Josh Pearson "Today's Cyborg is Stylish": The Humanity Cost of Posthuman Fashion in Cyberpunk 2020 Pawel Frelik "Silhouettes of Strange Illuminated Mannequins": Cyberpunk's Incarnations of Light II: "Tactics of Visualization"; or, From Visual to Virtual Cyberpunk (and back again) Christopher McGunnigle "My Targeting System is a Little Messed Up": The Cyborg Gaze in the RoboCop Media Franchise Ryan J. Cox Kusanagi's Body: Dualism and the Performance of Identity in Ghost in the Shell and Stand Alone Complex Mark R. Johnson The History of Cyberspace Aesthetics in Video Games Stephen Joyce Playing for Virtually Real: Cyberpunk Aesthetics and Ethics in Deus Ex: Human Revolution Jenna Ng and Jamie Macdonald "We Are Data": The Cyberpunk Imaginary of Data Worlds in Watch Dogs III: "Emerging World Orders"; or, Cyberpunk as Science Fiction Realism Evan Torner 1980s German Cyberpunk Cinema: Kamikaze 1989 and Nuclearvision Mark Bould Afrocyberpunk Cinema: The Postcolony Finds its own Use for Things Anna McFarlane Cyberpunk and "Science Fiction Realism" in Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days and Zero Dark Thirty Sherryl Vint Cyberwar: The Convergence of Virtual and Material Battlefields in Cyberpunk Cinema Lars Schmeink Afterthoughts: Cyberpunk Engagements with Countervisuality