continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 8.1-2 / 2019
Letter from the Editors
Jamie Allen, Anthony Enns
Words like "trust" and "true" are often used in reference to the systems, tools and techniques we call "technology". Yet we know all too well that this stuff is made, and made up, by people — we who are always flawed, often misguided, and as error prone as everything else. Technology, never something we were supposed to believe in, has advanced to the point that we let things lie. Reflecting our techno-orthodoxy, we trace in this special double issue, its apocrypha.
Apocryphal Media: An Archaeology of Mediated Paranormal Presence
Matt Bernico
Technologies are not just tools for humans to use, they are cultural objects that compose imaginations of what is possible, and impossible. Apocryphal media are for Matt Bernico a new taxonomic category of archaeologies of media, understanding of the impossible demands and expectations people make of things. What functions are expected of a device that peers into the paranormal?
Apocryphal Psychotechnologies
Anthony Enns
That electrical currents flow through the brain sets up a set of isometric possibilities that were irresistable to the burgeoning military, cybernetic and techno-industrial complexes of the twentieth century. Anthony Enns provides a psycho-medical chart for the improbable possibilities and diversionary developments of knowledge, power and psychology between brain and signal.
Du Maurier's Media: The Phonographic Unconscious on the Cusp of the Future
Jill Galvan

What is this, "automation"? While all things are subtended and supported, rooted in and routed through other things, we often imagine technologies as magically 'on their own'. It is the semblance of a machinic unconscious that Jill Galvan traces through its spectra in the fiction of writer George Du Maurier, who gave us the figure of the sinister mesmeric influencer, Svengali.

Three Receivers
Douglas Kahn
Douglas Kahn has written elsewhere, how "radio was heard before it was invented", situating the transmission and reception of EMF as a pre-human and preternatural support for our desire for meaning. In "Three Receivers", a 1990s piece here re-presented, Kahn picks up on the transcriptions William Burroughs made of white noise sources, what it did, to him, and others, as a communication and radiation of energies erotic and other-wise.
Bait and (S)witch
Meghan Trainor
There are a lot of things to know or to not know, or know are not true, about Meghan Elizabeth Trainor but within this spurious landscape of memes the real Trainor stands up and develops alternate indicators of a secret history of technology. Haven't science and witchcraft always been partners in historical moments of enlightenment?
The Myth of IVF
Heidi Barkun
There are domains of human life, including its initiation, that are charged with emotion in ways that make them ripe for manipulative biopowers, and the projection of technological promise. Heidi Barkun has been charting the drug- and sentimentality-fueled industries of in vitro fertilization, in order to delineate the misty borders where myth meets fact in the production of reproduction, as assisted conception.
Already Gone
John Modern
What is it that allows us to believe, to have faith, to project beyond that which seems to be before us? John Modern, who teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, presents us with a problematising sermon from the pulpit of neuroscience. Specifically, Modern offers a bent response to the calls to turn the study of religion toward physiological determinism.
Black Boxes
Steven Connor

The "black box" is a perpetual technological fantasy, a useful abstraction of invisibilizing function, and mode of obfuscation. Black-boxing is variously driven by pragmatic need, repetitive, historical redundency, or a malevolent or shame-driven hiding of 'kludgy' logics. Steven Connor asks after the way we make machines for, with and around the goal of visibility and invisibility, as things technical, tend to withdraw, even as concealment in plain sight.

Death, Disrupted
Tamara Kneese

The digital continues an archival extention into death that pushes our attentional legacies into realms hitherto unknown, precipitated first in the lives of the young, whose every online move marks almost like a bodily scar. Vilem Flusser wrote how we "survive in the memory of others", and Tamara Kneese tracks this tendency into the digital narcissism and self-sustaining immortality reveries of contemporary Silicon Valley. 

A “Total Play and Learning Experience”: The Magnavox Odyssey’s 1972 Dream of Media Convergence
Zachary Horton

How are technologies, and the engineers that construct them, to live up to the pledges made in language — interpretable, ambiguous, and conjunctive — made by marketing and thrusted into imaginary realms? Zachary Horton sees us through the real and promised odyssey of the first commercial home video game console.

Suzanne Treister

In realms of art addressing the technological, there are questions of what will be manifested 'as reality'. What things will we choose, from that longer list of things we can think of but cannot think of making or making work, to actually make real? Suzanne Treister’s (2016-ongoing) series SURVIVOR (F), at the intersection of cognitive science and mysticism is here sampled from and written up as a "radical questioning of how we imagine and manifest reality."

Trash Queen Pulverator
Laura Hyunjhee Kim

Introduced by writer on media poetics and archaeology Lori Emerson, "Trash Queen Pulverator" by Laura Hyunjhee Kim synthesizes and renders technological a theoretical reference schema that is just-this-side of fiction. Instrumental ideas, transmedia narratives, and prototyped technocultural possibilites emerge from the SEICA Human Condition Research Lab.

Three Fragments on the Interface
Siegfried Zielinski
In his essay, Siegfried Zielinski argues for an expanded notion of the interface that seeks to integrate manifold constellations of interface-realities. With the tattoo as one such multifaceted example, he shows the diverse capacities the interface is able to realise. In form of a diagrammatic model, he offers a scheme for thinking the plurality of interfaces between and within human and machine subjects.
Photography, Radiation and Robotics Beyond the Visible: Fukushima
Stephen Cornford
Looking across a set of dual invisibilities sugggested by Derrida, Stephen Cornford here deconstructs dissintegrating robotic images of nuclear fallout, that emerged from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Overcome by the energies of fission "plunged into a speckled noise field of such intensity that it blinds the camera to the visible light of its surroundings."
This is Not my Beautiful House: Examining the Desktop Metaphor, 1980-1995
Everest Pipkin
Designers and technologists employ metaphors, analogies and aliases in ways that constantly expand the scope and understanding of their creations. There are moments, of course, when these metaphors are carried too far, and we are unable to recognise the distance between the map and territory, the desktop and the desktop the house and the computer. 
The Road Belong Savvy
Laurence Rickels

Rickels follows out in the address switch of the afterlife from Europe to the U.S. the Cargo Cult's allegory of race as the hiding and seeking, losing and keeping of savvy. The import of wish fantasy in Rickels's allegory of reading across registers and disciplines gives a foretaste of his new trilogy: Critique of Fantasy (new from Punctum Books) with volume subtitles: Between a Crypt and a Datemark; The Contest Between B-Genres; The Block of Fame.

A Persistence of Magical Thinking?
Nicolas Nova
Priests who bless mobile devices, phone numbers that cause brain hemorrhage and death, user-experience as magico-religious action—here is a study of the “technologies of enchantment and the enchantment of technologies.” Studying users explanations of their behaviors, like raising a hand to improve cell signal, becomes increasingly important as technological objects become more ubiquitous, opaque and mysterious.
The Sacred and the Profane: Consumer Technology in Animist Practice
Peter Moosgaard
Based on diary entries accompanying his ongoing research on Melanesian Cargo Cults and expeditions to China, Thailand and the Philippines, artist Peter Moosgaard develops a fascinating reflection on what could be called a consumer culture of otherness. Real or fake? Performer or spectator? Original or copy? Familiar or foreign? An essay on the subversive potentials of mimicry strategies.
Sujetting Apocrypha from HOME
Graydon Wetzler

The promise of defense, and offices like the Defence Sciences Office (DSO) of the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has underwritten and underwrites many technological narratives, even the technology of narrative itself. Graydon Wetzler attends a series of DARPA meetings where neuroscientists, computer and social scientists develop a "science of story", as a tool in the defense of U.S. international security.

Dan Mellamphy
Here is a meditation on and mediation of the “tweetstorm” as a mode of scholarly activity and a technique for scholarly practice. With winds so great from this storm the Angel of History’s wings are caught alight and propelled ever onward. Is it also pushing the Kantian (or Derridean) go-cart of judgement? This “not quite an essay” performs what it describes: a robust and burly index of apocrypha and truths.
Remaking an IMSI catcher
Félicien Goguey

Myths of function comprise errors in which we think something is doing something it isn't, or something isn't doing what it should. Amongst the many techniques that attempt to interrupt interior lives, interpersonal interactions and even internal thoughts, are devices for "eavesdropping". The IMSI catcher, here investigated by Félicien Goguey, is one such technique, device and interrupter.

X-Ray Specs
Roger Luckhurst

Wrought through depictions and sales through pulp magazines, comic books, literature and film, and in the imaginations of teenagers in 'practical joke' shops the world over, X-Ray Specs are an apocryphal technology that seems consummately accepted as a product for sale — despite most of us never expecting them to actually work.

Decoding The iPhone Xs: A Techno-Magical Portal
Karin Ferrari, Bernhard Garnicnig
The artist Karin Ferrari is a medium of a persisting extra-modern curiosity: Do I believe that technology could be true, as products of the designers and engineers that produce and project them? And perhaps more importantly: does she believe them to be true? If so, do we wish to believe with her because we don't know any better, or because we all pretend to know better?