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Digital Matters: The Theory and Culture of the Matrix

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Digital Matters analyzes the complex interaction between the material and immaterial aspects of new digital technologies. It draws upon a mix of theoretical approaches including sociology, media theory and history, cultural studies, and the philosophy of technology to suggest that the matrix of science fiction and Hollywood is but an extreme example of the way in which contemporary technological society enframes and conditions its citizens.

The term ‘matrix’ has, since the release of the first instalment of the Wachowksi brothers’ films, become inseparably associated with Keanu Reeves, black leather trench coats and bullet-stopping kung fu. In the following pages we will attempt to restore to this term some of its earlier associations; indeed, a quick review of the other uses to which this term has been put will serve to prefigure some of the conceptions and causes of what we shall here call the matrix (the use of the lower case serving to distinguish it from the cinematic and cyberpunk resonances of the Matrix).
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