TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHEN IN VIDEODROME: TRAVELS IN THE NEW FLESH

AS RONALD REAGAN’S PROJECT of managed alienation found its hidden voice and set about infiltrating every sphere of communication, a bizarre omen of the times to come appeared. In the guise of a horror film, Videodrome evoked a muffled terror that was simultaneously private and political—Sade at play in the field of capitalist spectacle. The director was David Cronenberg, a cult favorite specializing in psychosexual mutation: the human organism in revolt against itself. A related theme of his was the parasitic relation of malignant systems (viruses, institutions, government) to the body. But now Cronenberg went for a bigger parasite: television, conceived as a hallucinatory tumor feeding on the mind, replacing the lived experience of the real with stillborn images of its consumption.

The film opens with a TV image, the logo of Civic TV—an end-of-the-dial outfit that packages cheesy violence

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.