Spooker Trouper: ABBA Voyage, Virtual Humans and the Rise of the Digital Apparition

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This article analyses the ‘live’ virtual human in ABBA Voyage, the long-awaited concert reunion of the Swedish pop group ABBA, via Vilém Flusser’s concept of the digital apparition. It first argues for these virtual performers (dubbed ‘ABBA-tars’) to be understood as externalized computational codes which shift the grounds of ownership over and consent to the use of one’s likeness. They are also key to disproportionate and as yet unaccountable power held by technology companies. Secondly, ABBA Voyage’s presentation of ABBA as their past selves places time in a capitalism of immateriality profiting from the protean temporality of bodies. This temporal discombobulation thwarts finitude and confounds time in meanings of life, death and growth. The article thus addresses urgent confrontations between actual and virtual humans placed in the same physical environment, and paves the way for thinking about how we are going to deal and live with their virtuality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-175
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

© Edinburgh University Press 2023. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the University’s Research Publications and Open Access policy.


  • virtual humans
  • ABBA Voyage
  • virtual performance
  • mixed reality

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