'Do you love me?' Virtual sincerity and the cyberspaces of wonder in Nick Cave's The Red Hand Files

Carlton Brick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter suggests that the charismatic rock singer and author Nick Cave's recent public persona has been characterised by a ‘therapeutic turn’. The chapter will focus upon the launch of Cave's ‘The Red Hand Files’ (TRHF) project in 2018 – an online forum to facilitate an open unmoderated dialogue between the artist and the public – and argues that it is representative of a (re)positioning of Cave as digital-media guru. Moreover, the apparent compassionate nature of exchange between artist and fan signals a momentarily cultural counterpoint to the often ‘toxic’, and highly regulated interaction between artist and fan that normally characterises the social media relationship. Cave's adoption of a ‘therapeutic’ persona problematises orthodox readings of celebrity/artist as avatar thesis (Marshall et al., 2020) and in so doing points towards ways in which a virtual reimagining of the public realm might provide a secular theology of cyberspace (Zizek, 1998) as a realm of compassionate humanist discourse centred upon a late-modern ‘philosophy of wonder’ (Lasch, 1991b; Parsons, 1969).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Wellness, Health and Fitness Influencers
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives on Digital Guru Media
EditorsStefan Lawrence
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781003256021
ISBN (Print)9781032044422
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2022


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