‘I’m not in that thing you know ... I’m remote. I’m in the cloud’
Networked spectrality in Charlie Brooker’s 'Be Right Back’
in The Gothic and death
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‘Be Right Back’ (Black Mirror 2011 - ongoing) fictionalises the possibility of reconstructing a deceased loved one based on posts to online social media sites as a means of managing grief. This chapter reads the episode according to a new theoretical framework, ‘networked spectrality’, which considers the relevant historical, technical, social, and political dynamics of digital networks as they relate to the concept of haunting. By paying attention to the affordances of networked publics, including the problems of context collapse in mediated social interactions, networked spectrality helps explore the significance of Ash as an enduring multiplicity of haunting and the uncanny in the lives of Martha and their daughter. As an allegory of contemporary media use, networked spectrality offers an approach to consider the implications of mediated remains and technical persistence in a society that tends to identify and articulate such encounters as spectral.


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