Book Launch and Panel / “Look at the Bunny,” with Dominic Pettman, Hugh Raffles, and Merritt Symes

Date: Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Listen to an audio recording of this program, or download the file by right-clicking here and selecting "Save link as..."

Please join us to celebrate the launch of Dominic Pettman's new book Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology (Zero Books).

Are totems merely a thing of the distant past? Or might it be that our sleek new machines are producing totemic forces which we are only beginning to recognize? Pettman’s book asks to what degree today's media technologies are haunted by a Freudian ghost, functioning as totems or taboos (or both). By isolating five case-studies (rabbits in popular culture, animated creatures that go “off-program,” virtual lovers, jealous animal spirit guides, and electronic paradises), Look at the Bunny highlights and explores today's techno-totemic environment. In doing so, it explores how nonhuman avatars are increasingly expected to shepherd us beyond our land-locked identities, into a risky—sometimes ecstatic—relationship with the Other. Pettman and Hugh Raffles will discuss their own totems, cultural taboos, and the various new and old technologies which enable them. Three new short films by Merritt Symes will round off the evening.

Dominic Pettman is Professor of culture and media at Eugene Lang College and the New School for Social Research. His books include Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age (Fordham University Press, 2006).

Hugh Raffles teaches Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York. He is the multi-award-winning author of In Amazonia: A Natural History (Princeton University Press, 2002) and Insectopedia (Pantheon, 2010). More information available at

Merritt Symes is a semiotician, freelance researcher, and experimental filmmaker who lives in New York City.

Beer for this event has been lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery.
Cabinet is published by Immaterial Incorporated, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Cabinet receives generous support from the Lambent Foundation, the Orphiflamme Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Opaline Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Danielson Foundation, the Katchadourian Family Foundation, The Edward C. Wilson and Hesu Coue Wilson Family Fund, and many individuals. All our events are free, the entire content of our many sold-out issues are on our site for free, and we offer our magazine and books at prices that are considerably below cost. Please consider supporting our work by making a tax-deductible donation by visiting here. Thank you for your consideration.