Think of Me as a Software Application!: Douglas Coupland and Obsolescence

Purcell, S. (2014) Think of Me as a Software Application!: Douglas Coupland and Obsolescence. Information Overload, Edinburgh, UK, 04-05 Sep 2014.

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Focusing primarily on the novels Microserfs [1995] and JPod [2006], this paper explores the manner in which obsolescence is a key thematic and functional concern in the work of Douglas Coupland. Both texts focus on a group of computer programmers and are fundamentally concerned with the effect of their intimate relationship with digital technologies, particularly the possibility that this creates a dynamic feedback loop that both anthropomorphises technology and materially affects its users. By first elucidating the ways in which obsolescence is raised thematically within Microserfs and JPod, this paper considers the relationship between the two novels and how, by positing JPod as an updated, re-contextualised version of Microserfs (or Microserfs 2.0), the notion of obsolescence is also functionally evident in Coupland’s literary thinking. This paper then demonstrates how Coupland’s thematic and functional interest in the concept of obsolescence, specifically in relation to digital technologies, can also be mapped more broadly on to other examples of his fictional writing and visual artwork.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Purcell, Mr Stuart
Authors: Purcell, S.
Subjects:N Fine Arts > NE Print media
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division

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