Long live the new flesh
More and more, paranormal tech horror centers around stories of possession: a self taken over by forces that are external to it and yet deeply familiar. These films speak to the sense that the 21st century body is inescapably hybrid, possessed not only by the ecological non-human, but also by the technological non-human.
The gaming chair has evolved into a series of elaborate and often bizarre contraptions that hold the body in place, suspending those parts unnecessary for gaming. While they advertise comfort and endurance, they often seem to tap into a desire for self-obliteration.
Challenge eating is at odds with the predominant understandings of eating: food as fuel, and as an experience meant to be savored. In troubling these definitions, it fascinates — much like unconventional pornography — even while it disgusts.
Body horror memes travel well on platforms like Twitter, because they express our sense that the platform itself is taking us over — rewiring our minds and bodies, and transforming us into the very thing we love to hate.
Beauty, fashion, and wellness brands have adopted the physical standards of tech giants, reframing the body as a vessel for optimization and utility rather than the historical feminine ideal. The desire is for a body better than human, indistinguishable from the tools it relies on.
In a wireless era, the old-fashioned plug conjures a tactile thrill, as well as a rich set of metaphors on the tethering of objects to each other and ourselves. It represents a mode of connection and engagement with the material world that seems to be slipping away.