Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John M. Ackerman

Second Advisor

Laurie E. Gries

Third Advisor

Peter D. Simonson

Abstract

This thesis proposes a rhetorical criticism of the curation process and material medium of the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph archive of sounds and images from Earth travelling through interstellar space. The study of this archive and its related texts explores the rhetorical, posthuman intersections between evolving notions of technology, cultural memory, and the “frontier of science” metaphor. The records do not simply indicate a complex archive, but rather a new practice of curation and commemoration that reveals it matters not only who remembers on behalf of all of us—but also what remembers, and why. By using posthuman theories to buttress concerns of emergent colonialism in space, this study examines the implications of how such an ambitious technological archive constructs, and participates in, an emerging commemorative practice in science that, I argue, enacts a prosthetic of the human—a technological memory prosthetic that has the posthuman capacity to remember and speak on behalf of all of us as it extends outward into space.

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