Review in Bookforum
"The Robot in the Garden is a refreshing anomaly in the oversaturated,
redundant field [of cybercrit anthologies]....This collection focuses on
on Telepresence and Telerobotics, two related Net phenomena that
have been largely ignored by cyberpundits.
by Erik Davis
"How does the Internet mediate our knowledge of and control over the
real world?...Postmodernists are for the most part allergic to
discussions of the real, unless they're trumpeting its disappearance.
But telerobotics creates what Tom Campanella calls 'points of contact
between the virtual and the real, spatial anchors in a placeless sea.'
[Web cameras and Web robots] lie on the edge of Virtual Reality, like
windows peering out of the labyrinth of simulation.
"Wisely, The Robot in the Garden's top-notch contributors largely
sidestep `theory' -- including the now rather rote and rancorous
debates on social constructionism -- and get down to brass tacks. The
essays range from artist statements to engineering overviews to
histories of the camera obscura and the the dead light of stars....The
result is an anthology that demonstrates how even the brass tacks are
loosening as the technosphere swallows up the world. ...
[Erik Davis is author of TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in
the Age of Information (Harmony, 1998)]