When I turn my personal computer (a desk-top IBM-compatible) on, it makes a little sound. This little sound I sometimes playfully interpret as a cheerful ‘Good morning’ greeting, for the action of bringing my computer to life usually happens first thing in the morning, when I sit down at my desk, a cup of tea at my side, to begin the day’s work. In conjunction with my cup of tea, the sound helps to prepare me emotionally and physically for the working day ahead, a day that will involve much tapping on the computer keyboard and staring into the pale blue face of the display monitor, when not reading or looking out the window in the search for inspiration. I am face-to-face with my computer for far longer than I look into any human face. I don’t have a name for my personal computer, nor do I ascribe it a gender (although I know some people do; see, for example, Stone, 1992:81). However, I do have an emotional relationship with the computer, which usually makes itself overtly known when something goes wrong. Like most other computer users, I have experienced impatience, anger, panic, anxiety and frustration when my computer does not do what I want it to, or breaks down. I have experienced files that have been lost, printers failing to work, the display monitor losing its colour, disks that can’t be read, a computer virus, a breakdown in the system that stopped me using the computer or email. I live in fear that a power surge will short-circuit my computer, wiping the hard disk, or that the computer will be stolen, and I assiduously make back-up copies of my files. For some years now (since I first learnt how to use word-processing package in 1986), I have relied on computers to write. I have written whole articles and books without printing out a hard copy until the penultimate draft. I cannot imagine how it must have been in the ‘dark ages’ when people had to write PhDs and books without using a computer. I can type much faster than I write with a pen. A pen now feels strange, awkward and slow in my hand, compared to using a keyboard. When I type, the words appear on the screen almost as fast as I formulate them in my head. There is for me, a seamless transition of thought to word on the screen.

from; Lupton, Deborah.  “The Embodied Computer/User.”  Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment.  Eds. Mike Featherstone and Roger Burrows.  London: Sage, 1995.  97-112.


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