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The University of Southampton
Archaeologies of Media and Technology Research group

New book from AMT Co-Director Ryan Bishop

Published: 19 February 2020
Book cover

Ryan Bishop has a new book coming out, co-authored with John Beck and published by Duke University Press.

Technocrats of the Imagination: Art, Technology and the Military-Industrial Avant-garde by John Beck and Ryan Bishop (Duke University Press, March 2020)

In Technocrats of the Imagination John Beck and Ryan Bishop explore the collaborations between the American avant-garde art world and the military-industrial complex during the 1960s, in which artists worked with scientists and engineers in universities, private labs, and museums. For artists, designers, and educators working with the likes of Bell Labs, the RAND Corporation, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, experiments in art and technology presaged not only a new aesthetic but a new utopian social order based on collective experimentation. In examining these projects' promises and pitfalls and how they have inspired a new generation of collaborative labs populated by artists, engineers, and scientists, Beck and Bishop reveal the connections between the contemporary art world and the militarized lab model of research that has dominated the sciences since the 1950s. The Cold War projects have all been revisited and rebooted in the contemporary moment, and the book explores synchronic and diachronic explanations for why this might be the case.

The book’s introduction is made available for free online by Duke UP and can be accused here:

Ryan Bishop is Professor of Global Art and Politics at WSA, University of Southampton. John Beck is Professor of Modern Literature at University of Westminster.

Questions or queries can be directed to Ryan Bishop:

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