The Mystery of Cockatoo's and Corks

Amity Kurt (Rhode Island School of Design '08), English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

The concepts of artwork have changed a lot over time. It is interesting that of all artists Gibson chooses Joseph Cornell the 1930-60's assemblage artist. What is Gibson trying to say by picking an artist who deals so much with the physical?

Marly stared. Box of plain wood, glass-fronted. Objects . . . "Cornell," she said, her tears forgotten. "Cornell?" she turned to Virek.

"Of course not. The object set into that length of bone is a Braun biomonitor. This is the work of a living artist. "

"There are more? More boxes?" [14]


1. It is interesting than in a world so focused on cyberspace that one of the most intriguing pieces of art is an assemblage piece, having mostly to do with the physical. Why would the physical object be emphasized like this?

2. Do the objects being placed behind glass in an untouchable way parallel what the physical world means to the characters of Count Zero? Does the real physical world seem more like the un-real untouchable world?

3. The box is described as only being made up of a few simple objects, but then Gibson refers to the piece as being "a universe, a poem, frozen on the boundaries of human experience" (15). How is the reader to imagine "a universe, a poem frozen on the boundaries of human experience?" How does this description change the image of the box for the reader?

4. Why is the authenticity of piece of artwork so important to a society that seems to barely deal with the real world, but instead more often escape to cyberspace?


Gibson, William Count Zero. New York: Ace Books, 1984.

Cyberspace OV Cyborg  Mona
Lisa Overdrive

Last modified 26 September 2006