Apocryphal Technologies (special issue)

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
continent: journal of media, art, and philosophy

The journal continent invites submissions for a special issue on the topic of “Apocryphal Technologies.” While the term “technological imaginary” is often used to describe how technologies are invested with utopian aspirations that prevent users from sensing legitimate disappointments, frustrations, or malfunctions, the term “apocryphal technology” refers to technological imaginaries that are more explicitly dubious, suspicious, or fraudulent. It also refers more specifically to technologies that are actually designed, built, and implemented (as opposed to the purely theoretical) and that are openly endorsed by their designers, promoters, and users (as opposed to the obviously impossible). The apocryphal nature of these technologies becomes particularly evident when they are used in the service of cryptic, murky offerings, such as truth verification, bodily enhancement, cognitive amplification, or religious rituals, yet in a sense all technologies contain at least some element of apocrypha, as they always comprise functions or benefits that exceed their limitations in the here and now. An awareness of these limitations raises fundamental questions about the reliability of technology (on which we increasingly depend for our survival) by exposing the (inadvertent or intentional) misrepresentations and the (naïve or willful) misinterpretations that surround technological developments. It also challenges teleological narratives of technological progress by exposing the social, political, and economic forces that determine whether a particular technology obtains and retains a sense of legitimacy and authenticity within a given context.


The special issue will examine these forces by gathering together contributions, constellations, and networks of media that describe, highlight, and challenge the beliefs inspired by technological innovations and failures. As an online platform open to a wide range of media formats, continent also accepts shorter or longer scholarly, media, and artistic contributions as well as excerpts from prior works and archival materials that resonate with or criticize some variation on the concept of “apocryphal technologies,” giving new views on this topic and extending prevailing discourses, practices, and histories of media, art, and technology to explore how media-technical fields intermingle with the realms of philosophy, psychology, religion, and myth. If you are interested, please submit a brief description of your intended contribution (such as a short paragraph or sketch) by 1 December 2018 to jamie@continentcontinent.cc and anthony@continentcontinent.cc. For more information on the journal, please visit our website at http://continentcontinent.cc.