Zeros + Ones

Sadie Plant

A highly contentious, very readable and totally up-to-the-minute investigation of women’s natural relationship with modern technology, an association which, Plant argues, will trigger a new sexual revolution.

Zeros and Ones is an intelligent, provocative and accessible investigation of the intersection between women, feminism, machines and in particular, information technology. Arguing that the computer is rewriting the old conceptions of man and his world, it suggests that the telecoms revolution is also a sexual revolution which undermines the fundamental assumptions crucial to patriarchal culture. Historical, contemporary and future developments in telecommunications and in IT are interwoven with the past, present and future of feminism, women and sexual difference, and a wealth of connections, parallels and affinities between machines and women are uncovered as a result. Challenging the belief that man was ever in control of either his own agency, the planet, or his machines, this book argues it is seriously undermined by the new scientific paradigms emergent from theories of chaos, complexity and connectionism, all of which suggest that the old distinctions between man, woman, nature and technology need to be radically reassessed.

status Copy #1 (1400): in
genre Activism and Human Rights » Feminism
publisher Fourth Estate Limited
publish date 1997
popularity checked out 0 time(s)


  • By Riley Reasor -

    Lately I have been getting a lot out of reflecting on some of failed promises surrounding the technological innovations of the 90s. One of my first political memories is also the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Sadie Plant was part of a group of thinkers that coalesced under the moniker “Cultural Cybernetic Research Unit” at Warwick University in the late 90s and early 00s. Other thinkers that came out of this area of thought include Nick Land and Mark Fisher.
    Sadie connects cybernetics to questions of identity and gender, discusses Alan Turing, The Difference Engine and Ada Lovelace, the genetics of peacocks, evolution and xenoestrogens from plastic wreaking havoc on hormones and reproduction. While I’m not sure some of the optimism surrounding Deleuzian visions of rhizomatic organization, decentralized networks, and technological empowerment panned out quite the way Sadie envisioned it is refreshing to read a more optimistic vision for the potential of these things at a moment in time when we seem to be at somewhat of a cultural impasse and often forget how we got here.

    3.5 stars

    Pairs well with Humdog’s much more cynical essay on Community in Cyberspace.

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