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Caring about the Past, Present, and Future in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition and Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn

College of Letters and Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI 53190, USA
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Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyberpunk in a Transnational Context)
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Abstract

This essay argues that William Gibson’s 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition, rejects the stylistic and formal trappings of cyberpunk that he himself helped create in the 1980s in order to reformulate the movement’s aesthetics of participation for the 21st Century. This participatory aesthetic is structured by a set of temporal concerns: A past made ever more available through information technology and yet ever more materially irrecoverable, a present subject to increasingly rapid change and therefore briefer and more difficult to interpret, and a bleak future of inevitable capitalist commodification. Within this temporal vortex, Gibson’s protagonist finds compensatory solace in her ability to see patterns and thus develop strategies by which to value objects and people in new ways. She learns how to care, and what to care for. From this analysis of Pattern Recognition, the essay tracks this aesthetic into Guerrilla Games’ 2017 Horizon: Zero Dawn—a popular entry in a medium that promises participatory involvement on a new scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: William Gibson; Pattern Recognition; Guerrilla Games; Horizon: Zero Dawn; cyberpunk; care; participatory aesthetics; Walter Benjamin William Gibson; Pattern Recognition; Guerrilla Games; Horizon: Zero Dawn; cyberpunk; care; participatory aesthetics; Walter Benjamin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Tobeck, J.; Jellerson, D. Caring about the Past, Present, and Future in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition and Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn. Arts 2018, 7, 53.

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