Steven Shaviro

  • Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye and Ma mère

    TRANSGRESSION, no less than its sister, transcendence, was a great goal of twentieth-century art. “The human being arrives at the threshold,” Georges Bataille wrote in 1938. “There he must throw himself headlong into that which has no foundation and no head.” Bataille’s taste for the luridly pornographic made him notorious. But what Bataille sought in the flesh, other modernists sought in the imagination, or in spirituality, or in the process of the work of art itself. All of these lead beyond representation. Bataille’s furious drive to violate all taboos, to go beyond all limits, simply makes

  • bioaesthetics

    JEFFREY THOMAS’S SCIENCE-FICTION short story “The Reflections of Ghosts” (1995) tells of an artist named Drew, whose medium is cloning. Drew grows clones of himself in womblike vats, manipulates their development in gruesome ways—deforming their bodies and crippling their minds—and turns them into living works of art. He releases some to wander the city until they die and sells others to rich art patrons, who torture and kill the clones for the amusement of their dinner-party guests. Drew rationalizes this by telling himself that his clones have such feeble minds that they aren’t really human

  • Moblog photographs from,, and

    Steven Shaviro on moblogs

    WHEN MOBILE-PHONE MANUFACTURERS started adding built-in digital cameras to their phones a year or so ago, they had little idea what such hybrid units would be good for. There was the usual industry hype—about Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) replacing Short Messaging Service (SMS, or text messaging on mobile phones, enormously popular in Europe and Asia, though less so in the US)—but in fact, the first camera phones were just novelty items, developed simply to keep people buying in a saturated mobile-phone market.

    Inevitably, however, “the street finds its own uses for things,” to borrow a