Our collaborative book with Joshua Neves, Aleena Chia and Ravi Sundaram for Meson & University of Minnesota Press’s In Search of Media Series has an approximate due-date for June 2022. TechnoPharmacology examines the close relations of media technologies to pharmaceuticals and pharmacology. It is a modest call to expand media theoretical inquiry by attending to the biological, neurological, and pharmacological dimensions of media and centers on emergent affinities between big data and big pharma. The project has been great fun: it’s an absolute joy to work with these smart people.
My section in the book, titled “Drugs, epidemics, and networked bodies of pleasure”, explores the conflation of online pornography with an addiction of epidemic proportions with the aim of centering pleasure as a matter of gravity in and for critical inquiry. Returning to Derrida’s conceptualization of the pharmakon as both a toxin and a remedy, the cause and the cure, the bad and the good—it considers the ambiguities of pleasure as they come about in encounters with networked media, sexually explicit content, and intoxicating substances.