3rd Scrambled Messages Workshop: The Body

The Body

Friday 5th December 2013, 2.15-5.30

The days discussion focused on the body in telecommunications. We explored electric eels and other electrical animal bodies. We discussed the prevalent 19th century imaginings of the telegraph network as a giant, living body and the violent racial dimensions that sometimes accompanied these. We looked at the 'invisible' workers behind all large scale technological systems, the rhythms of bodies and electrification as part of this.


Cook, J (1878). Boston Monday Lectures: Biology, with Preludes on Current Events, Glasgow, Brice. In The Microscope and Materialism, pp. 61-63 & 

Timms (1840). The Electric Eel at the Royal Gallery, Adelaide-Street, Strand in The Literary World, vol. III, no. 56, pp. 34–36. Available online here.

Gilmore, P (2002). The Telegraph in Black and White in EHL, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 805–833. Available online here.

Downey, G (2001). Virtual Webs, Physical Technologies, and Hidden Workers: The Spaces of Labor in Information Internetworks in Technology and Culture, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 209–235. Available online here.

Lefebvre, H (1992). Elements of Rhythmanalysis: An Introduction to the Understanding of Rhythms. Paris, Editions Syllepse, pp. 5–26. Available online here.


Many thanks to our participants:

Caroline Arscott (CIA)

Amelia Bonea (University of Oxford)

Anne Chapman (KCL)

Richard Hornsey (University of Nottingham)

Natalie Hume (CIA)

Cassie Newland (KCL)

Clare Pettitt (KCL)

John Winterburn (University of Bristol)

Event Details

Feb. 4, 2015