iZombie Cyborg Dancers: Rechoreographing Smartphone Abusers

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 26 (1):105-126 (2020)
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Compulsive smartphone users’ psyches, today, are increasingly directed away from their bodies and onto their devices. This phenomenon has now entered our global vocabulary as “smartphone zombies,” or what I will call “iZombies.” Given the importance of mind to virtually all conceptions of human identity, these compulsive users could thus be productively understood as a kind of human-machine hybrid entity, the cyborg. Assuming for the sake of argument that this hybridization is at worst axiologically neutral, I will construct a kind of phenomenological psychological profile of the type of cyborg which engages in these patterns of behavior. I follow Judith Butler in seeing this identity as the result of performance practices, which as such can be modified or replaced using other performances. Pursing one such alternative, I compose a dancing critique that “reverse engineers” the choreographies implied by these cyborgs’ survival practices. The upshot of this critique is that their movement patterns do indeed align closely to those of horror cinema’s zombies. I therefore conclude by suggesting a few possible choreographic imperatives to facilitate more enabling ways of being for iZombie cyborgs today.



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Joshua M. Hall
University of Alabama, Birmingham

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