The Kubrickon maps an unholy merger of computer and behavioral sciences that has shaped not just politics but all of modern society over the past decade (e.g. Cambridge Analytica), and maps it directly back to the 1960s and 1970s. It explores Stanley Kubrick’s intensive, secret, insider involvement in the shaping of (what is now known as) the attention economy, via cybernetics, Simulmatics, DARPA (the proto-internet) and his film oeuvre, to harvest human awareness as a means to generate and apply Artificial Intelligence as a working tool for memetic social engineering.
An architecture of algorithm-directed technology has steadily encroached into our inner realms, cementing a symbiotic relationship between human consciousness and technology, with culture (etymologically at the root of worship) as the binding medium.
First confession — I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Kubrick fan. In fact, it is my non-receptivity (I would say immunity) to his movies, post-Dr. Strangelove (Shining-excepted) that drove me to this investigation. It began with a question: what is it about Kubrick movies that causes critics and some viewers (though usually not without drugs or repeated viewings) to become ecstatically enthralled to them, while I and many others I know are, like Jack Torrance, literally left out in the cold?
The answer I came up with was shocking, and (second confession) hard for even me to believe it. But, as Charles Fort wrote, the products of our minds should not be subject matter for belief. In a realm in which subjectivity has been hijacked and weaponized (the Kubrickon), the evidence must speak for itself.
The Kubrickon: The Cult of Kubrick, Attention Capture, and the Inception of AI is due out in March 2023 from Aeon Books. It’s described by the publishers as follows:
The first book written about Stanley Kubrick by someone who doesn’t like Stanley Kubrick. In this experimental analysis of the work of Stanley Kubrick, Jasun Horsley unpicks the cult of Kubrick, taking a unique approach as he delves into the deeper — and often darker — reasons as to why the director has achieved such admiration over the years. Throughout The Kubrickon Horsley uses Kubrick’s critically acclaimed films such as Eyes Wide Shut and 2001: Space Odyssey to provide a fascinating and revelatory overview of the cultural obsession with Stanley Kubrick, as well as on a wider scale providing illuminating criticisms of society’s consumption of culture and media.
I would put it this way:
Stanley Kubrick was up to something. But neither his fiercest admirers nor his harshest critics ever suspected what it was. His movies were the means, but what was the end?
For those who dislike Kubrick movies, The Kubrickon will finally absolve you of all uncertainty and guilt. For those who adore Kubrick movies, The Kubrickon will challenge you to the core, and may just set you free. For those who are indifferent to Kubrick movies, The Kubrickon will reward you by making you care about, and nurture, your indifference.
The Kubrickon: The Cult of Kubrick, Attention Capture, and the Inception of AI will be available for pre-order soon. If you would like to receive an advance PDF (or a hard copy if you are have a big enough audience) to review the book or interview its author, contact me at jasun [@] protonmail [dot] com.