TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT Summer 1989

DARK WONDER

There is nothing so mighty or so marvelous that the wonder it evokes does not tend to diminish in time.
—Lucretius

THE DESIGNATION OF WONDERS—like that of miracles—is a popularizing and promotional strategy raising its object to some rarefied acme of recognition. Sites of wonders, like those of miracles, attract: the seven wonders of the ancient world (a phrase familiar to all, although few can name them) were powerful creations that drew entrepreneurs, thieves, vandals, historians, and eventually archaeologists to their locations around the rim of the eastern Mediterranean. This tradition has also inspired modern writers to engage in what might be called “the seven wonders gambit”: a strategic opening to a text that appropriates old monuments in order to supplant them with new ones.

Joseph Gies begins his Wonders of the Modern World, 1966, By deferring to Antipater of Sidon, whom he acknowledges as the nominator of the original seven wonders, 2,200 years ago. Soon, however, Gies rushes on to extol as substitute wonders the grandest achievements of 20th-century manifest destiny: “As Antipater’s nominations reflect the values of his day, the wonders cited in this book reflect our own—our belief in man’s mission to conquer nature, to overcome the physical universe.1 No sense in being coy about our role in the big picture. The mightiest of men in Gies’ view is the engineer, and the author’s 13 selections range from the Empire State Building and the Aswan Dam, which “tamed” the Nile, to the Titan missile silos. Seven years earlier, Wonders of the World, by Leonard Cottrell, had also listed the ancient wonders (crediting their designation to Philon of Byzantium). Cottrell writes about them with respectful awe and a balanced historical perspective, but as with Gies, his concern is focused on the present. Only one of the original seven wonders remains standing, the Great Pyramid of Cheops; what modern achievements deserve the distinction of replacing the no-longer-extant six? Cottrell poses this interesting-enough question only later to abandon it, proposing instead an entirely new seven: the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Gridge, Calder Hall (Britain’s first atomic power station), the Grand Coulee Dam, the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Scheme (Australia), Jodrell Bank (the radio telescope at Manchester University, England), and Sputnik. It is technology, then, and the accomplishments of engineers, that determine and have determined the criteria for wonders since at least the time of the Crystal Palace and the Great International Exhibition of 1851.
 
In the passage from the 19th- to the 20th-century, especially before the 1850s, during the early rise of the middle class, Wonders and Curiosities in their myriad forms were the subjects of both popular and technical discussions of encyclopedic breadth. As general headings, the “wonders of nature,” “of art,” and “of mind” were able to accommodate the most diverse items and topics, because what was wonderful, in fact, was knowledge itself, that is, the totality of the known world.2 Think of Gustave Flaubert’s two wonder-filled bourgeoisie, Bouvard and Pécuchet—the supreme autodidacts, fools for love of knowledge, whose irrepressible, decades-long pursuit of doxic ‘truth” leads them into the most marvelous—or perversely wondrous—adventures. Yet by the time of the publication of Flaubert’s final novel (as Bouvard et Pécuchet, in 1881), the triumph of the middle class was virtually complete, and the category of wonders had begun to narrow, reflecting more and more consistently the spectacle, power, and promise of technological achievement in an increasingly industrialized, engineered environment. The close of the century saw this new ruling class establish a firm foundation of instrumental knowledge:
 
The year 1900 was a wonderful one, when men were proud to be middle-class, and to be Europeans. The fate of the whole world was decided around green baize-covered tables in London, Paris, or Berlin. . . . Mobilized by steam, the planet’s riches were being shifted “from one side of the world to the other,” to quote Le Bateau ivre, on orders flashed by telegraph in two or three minutes.3
 
These opening sentences from Charles Morazé’s foreword to his book The Triumph of the Middle Classes actually describe the historical end point of the phenomenon they address: the 19th-century European middle class and the idea of progress that grew out of its relation, via technology, to science—a relation symbiotic but separate, for science was thought to be a tool at humanity’s disposal. Morazé’s text concludes 556 pages later with the thought that today “science and humanity are one, and the future of knowledge will decide the future of the world.”4 At one time the word “science” was generally interchangeable with knowledge, having no more specialized reference; in the modern age, however, “science” is an expanding body of (theoretical) “knowledge” that then becomes ‘technology” when it is moved to action, i.e., put to work. To say that “science and humanity are one” is to say that Homo physicus, scientific man, has placed the fate of the earth in the wonder-producing hands of technology.

Architects, engineers, and laymen, in Europe and America as well, cock quizzical eyes in wonder and ask themselves—how tall can buildings be?
—Harvey Wiley Corbett
 
GIES, COTTRELL, AND THEIR PREDECESSORS apparently never questioned the habit of locating wonder in single, albeit monumental, artifacts or projects. But if technology—or the special knowledge of science-become-technology—is the dominant form of wonder in the modern age, and if popular interest in technology has resided largely in the ambiguously glowing future it forever promises, then might not technological wonder be better identified with a more dynamic and inclusive symbol? Both Gies and Cottrell carefully isolate the Empire State Building from the artificial landscape it rises above, and with this contextual excision they ignore an infinitely more powerful iconic sign of wonder, a sign precisely representing the period of history when that skyscraper rose higher than any man-made (sic) structure had reached before.
 
Skyscrapers were conceived largely as idealized, even utopian solutions to urban (logistical) problems—not as isolated constructions, but as parts in an ordered whole. “In the 1920s, Americans were more conscious than ever before that the city was the arena of their future. . . . One response to this new urban identity was a heightened interest in the city of the future, the skyscraper city,” writes Carol Willis, and she goes on to describe the general features of this wondrous vision: “The Titan City typified a new conception of the urban future that evolved in the 1920s—a modern metropolis of high density, advanced technology, and centralized planning.”5 (“Titan City” here refers to an exhibition held at John Wanamaker’s department store in 1925, subtitled “a pictorial pageant of New York, 1926–2026.”) The wonders of science, nature, and technology lie respectively in the power to explain, the power to elude total explanation, and the power to produce. The wonder of the city lies in its power to displace nature, but the wonder of the future city resides in its power to dazzle our hopes and imaginations:
 
[The icon of the an] stands in the midst of the unknown just as humanity exists in the wilderness of space and time, and its wonder comes not only from the implications of the waste beyond, but also from the awe at what might be accomplished with human knowledge. . . . Its power is located in familiarity and rationality rather than in “otherness.” At the same time, it draws power from subrational fears: the unknown is represented not only by the “world outside” but also by the labyrinth within. It may be a supremely rational image, but like the supremely rational structure of modern science itself, it threatens to overwhelm the individual; it cannot all be comprehended at once, and one never feels quite in control.6
 
Gary K. Wolfe’s description of the iconic city might well serve as a synoptic analysis of Fritz Lang’s cinematic version of the “Titan City,” Metropolis; in fact, Wolfe alludes to the 1927 film two sentences later, describing it—as has commonly been the case—as a social parable. Supposing we track this suggestive lead into the main themes of Lang’s graphically spectacular work of early cinema.7
 
“Metropolis” here represents both film title and subject, the locus of techno-wonders turning into power in the form of a techno-city or technocracy. Within the first two and a half minutes of the film a succession of transparently symbolic, dissolving scenes inform the audience that the city is vertical and dystopic. Verticality in Metropolis is as much about “down” as “up”; this is a hierarchical, labyrinthine structure consisting of a subterranean workers’ region, the steamy machine rooms (“far underground but high above the workers’ city”), the Masterman Stadium and Eternal Gardens in the Club of the Sons, and, above everything else, the “brain-pan” of the new Tower of Babel, where Joh Fredersen—technocratic CEO, engineer-king, master of metropolis—stands in absolute command, hands on hips, surveying through his great draped windows everything over which his mastery extends. The class stratification of the city is obvious, even if the actual plan seems somewhat murky. Beneath the entire vertical complex lie the catacombs, traces of the ancient city. Here history and subterfuge lurk in the form of a latent Christianized and feminized revolution awaiting its messiah.
 
That the city has a feminine identity is made plain by the very gender of the noun that spreads prismatically across the screen: “METROPOLIS,” derived from the Greek, equals “mother city.” (Thea van Harbou, the movie’s screenwriter, tells the readers of the novel that she wrote to accompany the film, “Metropolis raised her voice.”8) But if the city is a feminine topos, the place of the female in it—not surprisingly—remains problematic. And it is through the exorcism of this “female trouble” that Metropolis attempts to resolve its “problem.” The film’s dramatic crisis, however, does not disclose its feminine identity easily.

Metropolis has long been admired for its stunning visual effects and dismissed for its simplistic, quasi-ecumenical social moralism. We learn rather quickly that the wondrous machinery of Metropolis, future city (anno 2026), grinds fine the souls of the men who are the laboring “machine” behind the steam power that drives it. A site of technological utopianism, a technotopia, Metropolis yet has fallen into a state of dystopia because of the utter spiritual impoverishment and bondage of its work force. The problem the film poses figuratively is an alienation of the head (‘the mind”) of the civic body from its toiling hands (the workers), an alienation effected in the absence of a social heart. This appears a supremely naive account of labor-management conflicts under capitalism. Siegfried Kracauer, for example, questions whether the resolution of the drama in the final scene actually constitutes a reconciliation or reintegration of the civic body: rather it is an “appeasement that not only prevents the workers from winning their cause but enables [Joh Fredersen] to tighten his grip on them.”9 Indeed, it is not difficult to see that Metropolis serves the cause of industrial capitalism, deliberately choosing a sentimental quietism over revolutionary activism.
 
A dark wonder, a wonder coupled with dread (the one an affliction of the mind, the other of the viscera), inhabits Metropolis covertly and throughout. And it is precisely this that makes the modern or future-city, as the site of technology, the implicit protagonist of the film. As a model of miratio tenebricosa for the late 20th century, Metropolis may not be wholly adequate; yet within it is created one of the darkest and most mirific figures of cinematic imagination.

What is this?” asked Dorothy in wonder.
—L. Frank Baum
 
AN AUTOMATON, A MERCURIAL ROBOT, Dorothy, a mezmerizingly seductive, female android born out of male adversarial jealousy and alchemic rage: wonder woman with a mean streak. The dramatic staging of the robot’s unveiling Metropolis should leave no doubt about her centrality to the film’s meaning: Rotwang, creator of the machine-woman, makes considerable histrionic display in presenting his accomplishment to Fredersen. Rotwang is portrayed as a wizard/alchemist and mad genius robed in a heavy smock. His labratorium operates behind the talismanic protection of a red copper pentacle set into the black wood door. What is more, his ancient house sits in an obscure corner of Metropolis, and through its lower chambers is a circuitous link to the city’s secret catacombs, a link that may provide us passage to the deeper significance of the feminine element that troubles Metropolis.
 
Embedded in the film is a question that seems to have been long ignored: why female robot? Andreas Huyssen, in his excellent essay “The Vamp and the Machine,” is the first writer to take up this question (and the role of the female generally in Metropolis) with any thoroughness.10 Huyssen draws a close, convincing parallel between male ambivalence toward female sexuality and toward the mechanized forces of modern technology. The female robot thereby becomes a compound symbol for masculine anxiety about domination and castration in these twin areas. Is the machine a servant of man or the all-too-powerful master and potential destroyer of man’s world? Is woman the pure and passive receptacle of male “love” and generative power, or will her “wild” nature ultimately render man impotent? Both are dangerous forces that man must contain and control.
 
Traditionally in our masculinist culture, the female is “naturalized,” identified through metaphor and other figures with the world of nature. Her technological persona here, then, may appear contradictory, but Huyssen explains it rather simply. From the 17th-century on in Western culture, nature has come increasingly to be understood as an enormous machine whose workings can be deciphered and harnessed for the benefit of mankind. The woman robot of Metropolis is an uneasy melding of technoculture and this feminized nature, a literal fusion of the ideas of woman-as-nature and nature-as-machine. Yet if the world view embodied in Metropolis is, in this construction, quite clearly male, why then does the robot exceed the command and escape the control of her managers, Rotwang and Fredersen? And why does Fredersen direct Rotwang to impose the likeness of Maria, the angelic spokeswoman for faith in the heart, upon his splendid, metallic wonder? In Huyssen’s biopolitical reading of the film, the robot-run-amok is more than a metaphor for a destructive, autonomous technology, more than a vampish mechanical construct whose unfettered yet simulated sexuality leads men to their doom. She is, finally, the instrument and just cause for a reinforcement of repression in the guise of moral redemption and reconciliation. With her immolation (as witch), the psycho-social structure of control so essential to Metropolis is restored. Our own reading, which is more a shift of body weight than a change of position, will take us along a somewhat different interpretive path.
 
The explicit protagonist of the film is not, of course, the machine-woman. That role belongs to Freder, privileged son of Joh Fredersen: the film represents his journey of sexual awakening, his trial by fire and water, and his coming to terms (barely, since he seems resolutely naive to the last) with the social realities of the city—the implicit protagonist, whose control he will inherit. While Rotwang is presenting his robotic wonder to Fredersen, Freder, at a level of Metropolis far below them, discovers Maria, the woman whose spiritual countenance had instantly transfixed his heart and gaze when he first saw her, standing in the foyer to the Eternal Gardens, guiding a group of wide-eyed children. Now she is instructing the oppressed workers with an inspiring homily from the altar of her chapel cave in the catacombs. Surrounded as she is by crosses and candles, “Maria” should inevitably be understood in the radiant light of the Virgin Mary of the new testament. And the cave should equally easily be recognized as the repressed Church at the dawning of Christianity, as well as the womb out of which will be born a mediator Christ figure, the unlikely Freder.
 
There is, however, another “Mary” of significance to be derived from Metropolis, the Alexandrian Maria Prophetissa. This speculative interpretation provides an Ariadnean thread leading from the ancient catacombs to Rotwang’s workshop. Also known as Maria the Jewess, sister of Moses, Maria Prophetissa was “apparently the earliest alchemist of the West”; that is, in the first centuries of the Christian era.11 Part of her fame rests on her invention of laboratory apparatuses such as that small wonder familiar to both lab and kitchen, the double boiler (bain-marie); She is also believed to have devised an alembic, the tribikos, and a reflux device, the kerotakis, which yielded something called “Mary’s Black”—thought to represent the first stage of transmutation [of base metals].”12
 
Maria utters brief wonders because such are the things she thunders.
—Arnaldus de Billanova
 
AMONG THE MANY CRYPTIC APHORISMS attributed to Maria Prophetissa is the following, which was of particular fascination to Carl Jung: “One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth.”13 At the level of laboratory practice this may refer to the phase that the alchemists called “Nigredo” (or “Melanosis”), where “tin, lead, copper and iron were fused together into a black alloy in which each had lost its individuality and mingled in the ‘oneness’ of Plato’s first matter,” or prima materia.14 But beyond alchemy’s promise to convert such black dross into gold, the four-that-is-one, the prima materia or philosopher’s stone, is a metaphysical agent in its own right, composed of the four elements and in search of its own contradictory perfection. Of Maria Prophetissa’s central axiom, Jung says, “In this aphorism the even numbers which signify the feminine principle, earth, the regions under the earth, and evil itself are interpolated between the uneven numbers of the Christian dogma. They are personified by the serpens mercurii the dragon that creates and destroys itself and represents the prima materia.”15 Here in the calculated obscurities of alchemy Jung sees the archetypal conflict between the primordial mother-world and the masculine world of the father. Western consciousness historically shifted toward the latter, yet there remained a bridge between them to be found in the “chthonic femininity of the unconscious.” If the Maria of Metropolis is to be identified with Maria Prophetissa, then, it is appropriate to locate her underground, and to establish the film’s drama, its very landscape, in both male and female terms. If we accept this identification, furthermore, the robot’s appropriation of Maria’s face, and her creation among alchemic as well as technological signs, place her in a dimension of wonder outside the achievements of engineering. It becomes less surprising that she should turn against Rotwang and Fredersen, whose knowledge is constrained to the narrow goals of production.
 
A second thread connects Rotwang, Fredersen, and the seductive robot standing between them to the subterranean world of the catacombs: the mysterious, beautiful figure of Hel, deceased mother of Freder and formerly the object of the competing affections of Rotwang and Fredersen. The name “Hel” alludes to the chthonic Earth Mother, the underworld goddess of old Norse mythology whose name served to designate the pagan realm of the dead. Further, the pentacle is Hel’s sign, and we should also note that the hovering, ominous pentacle dominating the seated robot in Rotwang’s chamber is purposefully inverted, which may refer to the sacrificial aspect of the Horned God, consort of the Goddess. Thus this one emblem is played out as both a female and a male force. Fredersen may have married Hel and fathered her child, but Rotwang labors under her sign, the unconscious force-field of repressed origins.
 
Rotwang’s final and greatest triumph comes after he has driven Maria up from her gentle pulpit to his awaiting laboratory, making her the captive and unwitting soror mystica of a grim metamorphosis. He has shared his secret knowledge of the catacombs with Fredersen and now willingly complies with the latter’s wish that the soulless robot be given the “face” of the virgin healer. In the transfiguration that follows, out of an electrochemical epiphany and the hidden folds of the arcanum, Rotwang brings into existence an an anima mundi unlike any seen in the history of alchemy or science proper. But. . . .
 
Rotwang is an imperfect alchemist. His body is not organically whole, nor are his purposes pure. The physical and psychic unity of the artifex is dictated as the absolute condition for successful realization of the alchemic opus; “Hence the rule that the alchemist must not have any serious physical defects, mutilated limbs, etc.”16 It is significant, then, that Rotwang’s right hand is prosthetic—particularly when, as Fredersen’s accomplice, he is the magnate’s “right-hand man.” Furthermore, Rotwang belongs to the tradition of postmedieval epigones of the true alchemists, the tradition of those flawed shadows who forced a wedge between mystica and pysica. (Early alchemy was committed to the organic union of upper and lower, of nous and physis, intellect and body.) After their separation, the overt materialism of modern science and technology absorbed the traces of alchemy’s empirical practices and chemical discoveries, and at the same time cast out its introspective hermetic philosophy. The process is repeated in the power of Fredersen over Rotwang: the Faustian engineer functions like an electromagnet to draw the alchemic technician away from the arcane knowledge that was his inheritance toward the realm of positivist intelligence and pure production. The robot, in fact, is made “in the image of man” but “never tires or makes a mistake. Now we have no further use for living workers.” Rotwang speaks in answer to Fredersen’s dream of removing human content from the depths of his technological utopia.
 
“Advanced” technology, a major player in the theater of wonder since the time of Cheops, has come to dominate it unequivocally in our age. The wonders of alchemic knowledge, purged from science-cum-technology in the 17th-century, have subsisted in the dark silence of the latter’s underside since that time. As the muted and banished sister, she (the symbolic figure of Maria Prophetissa, or the feminine principle as it occurs in alchemy) appears in Metropolis in hybrid form: the creature that emerges from the fatal transformation of robot and woman represents a third category of being, a new order, and her name without doubt is “CYBORG.” However, in the technological utopia of Metropolis, there turns out to be no productive place for her; there is only manifest fear of the loss of (male) control she threatens. Thus the film portrays the cyborg as radical evil let loose upon the city. Once set in motion she quickly becomes a personification of technology run amok, inciting debauchery and riot. By these same means she provokes her own destruction at the hands of the workers she was created to displace. The burning of the cyborg/witch is doubly cathartic: it attempts to exorcise the city’s suppressed ancient origin, the mother-world from which Metropolis derives its name and its grounding; and, simultaneously, to forestall the dreaded future in which technology, like the robot, would begin to permeate human interior space.
 
If we make wise use of molecular technology, our descendants will wonder what kept us bottled up on Earth for so long, and in such poverty.
 —K. Eric Drexler
 
METROPOLIS HAS PROVEN a rewarding hermeneutical playground, but at bottom it remains essentially an artifact of cinematic curiosity and nostalgia. We all recognize that Lang’s year 2026 bears little resemblance to our probable future. And, true to Lucretius’ aphorism, the skyscraper city has lost its wonder, at least for the postmodern urbanite.

But the one vas mirabile (wonderful vessel) from Metropolis that surely has a sustainable future life is the (female) cyborg. At this point, however, she no longer represents a unique, transmundane phenomenon. We have been warned: the postbiological of cyberculture is upon us. The socialist-feminist critic Donna Haraway, for one, has embraced the cyborg as her conceptual weapon of choice: “By the late 20th-century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs. The cyborg is our ontology; it gives us our politics.”17 Ramifications of this statement extend in at least two directions. For one thing, it is foolish to continue hankering after lost origins, organic wholeness, “naturalized” identities, or any other form of redeemed essentialism. Second, what lies ahead is already being claimed, written, even managed in advance by those high-tech future-masters dedicated to the electronic drawing boards of our collective fate. The most “shocking” image to appear on these glowing crits is the radically redrawn, rewritten, and recoded human body—shocking, that is, for those of us with a sentimental attachment to flesh, bone, muscle, etc.
 
In taking up the cyborg metaphor, Haraway apparently hopes to subvert the cybernetic grid of rational control, and to countertheorize the future-manager’s tales of technological probability. Using this rhetorical strategy of “taboo fusion” and hybridization, she also guards against lingering, self-righteous claims for the authority of identity: “My position is that feminists (and others) need continuous cultural reinvention, post-modernist critique, and historical materialism; only a cyborg has a chance.”18 In other words, she accepts the image of the fabulous, mutant body since she prefers the “scary new networks”—which operate to break down categorical, historically constructed boundaries—to “the comfortable old hierarchical domination.” “We are living through a movement from an organic, industrial society to a polymorphous, information system—from all work to all play, a deadly game.”19 This “deadly game” is a wheel of fortune in which the highly coded phrases (“memes”) are known only to cyborgs. For Haraway it is a perverse game of systematic suspicion and blasphemous irony; for the managers of the future it is an ecstatic play of wonder, the wonder of power.
 
The power of modern wonder lies in its seduction, its seducing (in the Baudrillardian sense of “challenging”) the mind into wandering through the spiraling spaces of thought experiments and speculation unburdened by social or ecological stress. In a kind of sustained levitation, the mind of the future-master, freed from the actual weight of the body politic but armed with amazing theories and vast files of current data, is able to generate the most wondrous worlds of techno-promise. Consistent with this tradition (of science writing), a number of authors have mapped out what may await us. K. Eric Drexler, for example, in his Engines of Creation, describes the vertigo of “nanotechnology,” a visionary engineering that operates at the atomic and molecular scale and provides the means to control, build, and manipulate individual molecules atom by atom, to replicate or redesign these molecular structures, and to create from them more complex tools and “products.” Genetic engineering already does this, though in ways that are crude and restricted compared with Drexler’s vision. The blossoming of genetic technology into full-blown nanotechnology depends on the development of “assemblers” (nanomachines modeled on enzymes and ribosomes) and their convergence with advances in artificial-intelligence programs integrated into engineering design systems. Of artificial intelligence, Drexler writes, “The hand that rocks the al cradle may well rule the world.”20 His position on nanotechnology is essentially the same.
 
Drexler’s thought experiments are lucid dreams, protean fantasies of technopower beyond bounds and without tolerance for the doubts or fears of antitechnologists. Nanotechnology—as close to alchemy as we are likely to come—may develop into the radical, foundational technic of the next century precisely because of its ability to insinuate its codes and designs down to a submolecular level of control. Once programmed, nanomachines will go about their assigned tasks with something like a self-replicating life of their own; a concept that may not offer comfort to everyone: “Good morning, citizen. The world as you’ve known it has ceased to exist. Welcome to the brave new order.”
 
That “brave new order” is none other than the postbiological age as announced by Hans Moravec in the prologue to his Mind Children—a book not to be read by the queasy. He pictures “a world in which the human race has been swept away by the tide of cultural change, usurped by its own articial progeny.”21 (At this very moment the spectral image of Rotwang’s transfigured maiden raises her android head and smiles enigmatically at a stunned audience.) Moravec takes his readers step by step into the advanced cyberculture of virtual (programmed and programmable) reality. A world of fractal visions and simulated sensations unfolds from these “extended thought experiments” (his phrase) in such a way that the reader is unwittingly seduced and ensnared by the utopian wonder of a triumphant rationality.
  
Not until midway in the book does the radical Cartesianism behind Moravec’s ecstasy of communication finally penetrate. What is being described is the ultimate out-of-body experience: the transmigration of the mind and the abandonment of the corporeal organism. Presumably the mind migrates, or downloads, to some variety of autonomous, total prosthesis, some model of choice with universal access to spare parts. The earth, too, suffers this same migration and abandonment, a last exorcism of the chthonic goddess. What can be seen as the final mind/body split may also occur as a final culture/nature (earth) split. As future, postgender cyborgs, we will head out to the open frontiers of the solar system in search of more developmental elbow room for our cybercult colonies. Is this a properly sublime and wondrous image with which to close—a scene in which both human and earthen bodies vanish into the pure galactic ether of the encoded being of absolute knowledge (digital information)? Has the seduction of wonder brought us to this dark and uncertain moment?
 
Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill are artists living in Houston who work collaboratively under the name Manual. They are frequent contributors to Artforum.
 
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NOTES
 
1. Joseph Gies, Wonders of the Modern World, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, Co., 1966, p. IX. The Italics are ours.

2. Publications illustrative of what we are describing had charm as well as breadth. A typical example is Henry Ince, ed., The Wonders of the World in Nature and Art, London: Grattan & Gilbert, n.d. (CA. 1840). The book consists of what was initially a set of 75 one-penny pamphlets.

3. Charles Morazé, The Triumph of the Middle Classes, Garden City, N.J.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., Anchor Books, 1966, p. IX.

4. Ibid., p. 551.

5. Carol Willis, “Skyscraper Utopias: Visionary Urbanism in the 1920s,” in Joseph J. Corn, ed., Imagining Tomorrow, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986, p. 164.

6. Gary K. Wolfe, “The Known and the Unknown: Structure and Image in Science Fiction,” in Thomas D. Clareson, ed., Many Futures Many Worlds, Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1977, p. 113.

7. Metropolis exists in several differently edited versions; we have referred to Giorgio Moroder’s reconstruction, released in 1984.

8. Quoted in Andrew Sinclair, ed., Metropolis: Fritz Lang, Classic Film Scripts, Lorrimer Publishing, 1973, p. 19. The italics are ours.

9. Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film, Princeton: at the University Press, 1947, p. 163.

10. Andreas Huyssen, “The Vamp and the Machine,” in Teresa de Lauretis, ed., After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass-Culture, Postmodernism, Theories of Representation and Difference, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

11. Kurt Seligmann, Magic, Supernaturalism, and Religion, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1968, p. 23.

12. Margaret Alic, “Women and Technology in Ancient Alexandria: Maria and Hypatia,” in Joan Rothschild, ed., Women, Technology and Innovation, Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1982, p. 308.

13. Quoted in Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Princeton: at the University Press, 1968, p. 23.

14. W.C. Dampier, A History of Science, Cambridge: at the University Press, 1966, p. 51.

15. Jung, p. 23.

16. Ibid., p. 255N.

17. Donna Haraway, “Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s,” Socialist Review 80, 1985, p. 66.

18. Ibid., p. 69.

19. Ibid., p. 80.

20. K. Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1986, p. 76.

21. Hans Moravec, Mind Children Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988, p. 1.