Are we made of junk? Thierry Bardini believes we are. Examining an array of cybernetic structures from genetic codes to communication networks, he explores the idea that most of culture and nature, including humans, is composed primarily of useless, but always potentially recyclable, material otherwise known as "junk."
Bardini unravels the presence of junk at the interface between science fictions and fictions of science, showing that molecular biology and popular culture since the early 1960s belong to the same culture-cyberculture-which is essentially a culture of junk. He draws on a wide variety of sources, including the writings of Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs, interviews with scientists as well as "crackpots," and work in genetics, cybernetics, and physics to support his contention that junk DNA represents a blind spot in our understanding of life.
At the same time, "Junkware" examines the cultural history that led to the encoding and decoding of life itself and the contemporary turning of these codes into a commodity. But he also contends that, beyond good and evil, the essential "junkiness" of this new subject is both the symptom and the potential cure.
"This book is thrilling. No other book takes the problem of junk (and especially junk DNA) so seriously; no other book takes the question of what molecular biology has done to us so thoroughly. Thierry Bardini's answer is that we have literally become junk--Homo Nexus. In the age of genetic capitalism, we've moved beyond Deleuze's societies of control and into an age of infinite repurposing. At the very moment that many are celebrating 'remix culture' Bardini's book provides a wild and weird wake-up call. We are junk, junk is us. Junkware will help us sort it out." --Christopher Kelty, author of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software