Narcissus in Three Acts

Brad Evans, Chantal Meza

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This essay will address the narcissism of techno-nihilism into which life is being thrown. Written by a political theorist and artist, it looks specifically at the way technology is colonizing the political and artistic imagination. The essay is written over three acts, which traverse the logics of space and time. Act 1 is written by Brad Evans and situated in the year 2038. Based in Zacatecas, Mexico, he imagines a world where the university is now fully digitalized and governed by the world’s tech-giants, whose reach also includes control over all the leading cultural centers. It offers a futurist critique of the role technology is having on the life of an academic and how he imagines it impacted on the broader cultural and political terrains into which life has become fully immersed. Act 2, written by Chantal Meza from the present moment, deals with the impending catastrophe technology promises for art and creative styles for living. Central here is the colonization of art and the poetic sensibility by the desiring machine, notably the arrival of the smart gallery and the artificial intelligence artist who has become key in the battle in denying the exceptionalism of art, leading to the evisceration of what it means to be human. The final act appears in a non-located space and time, which drawing the above analysis together and through mediating on the prevailing myths of the so-called technological revolution—including their flawed literal and theoretical assumptions, asks whether we can even imagine breaking free from this dystopian novella?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-28
JournalReview of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:


  • Technology
  • abstraction
  • dystopia
  • narcissism
  • techno-nihilism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education


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