Mark Dery

Essays by contributing writers will be posted in June 2017

Mark Dery is a cultural critic. He has been a professor of journalism at NYU (New York, USA), a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome. Dery’s books include The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink and Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. His latest book is the University of Minnesota essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams. He is associated with the concept of “culture jamming,” the guerrilla media criticism movement he popularized through his 1993 essay “Culture Jamming,” and “Afrofuturism,” a term he coined in his 1994 essay “Black to the Future” (in the Duke University anthology Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, which he edited).

Essays will take into consideration the changes brought about by digital technology, and the web as a source of information, a space for exchanges, and a site of power dynamics. They will explore commodity culture, provide analysis of how ordinary objects live out their lives through design, redesign, and critical design. They will reflect upon the challenges of intellectual property, public domain, culture sharing, and the electronic frontier. They will discuss #exstrange’s advocacy for borrowing platforms such as eBay (intended for the purpose of person-to-person trade and money exchange) and will consider the role of the stranger as a mobile figure, circulating goods and ideas, as well as the connection between this mobility, online commerce and social media.