Sociology of the Fading Signal--Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted by Sean Capone | Sat Nov 8th 2003 3:57 p.m.

Hi all. While chatting with a friend in SF from my location in Chicago, his signal suddenly died. While the implications of mobility and nomadic enabling telecommunications has been written about quite a bit, I am interested if anyone has conducted any artistic or anthropological research on the telecommunications reality of the Faded Signal. There seem to be some implications here on the way in which theses technologies have sculpted new social landscapes, but in which the glitches inherent in the technology are taken for granted by the users, whose navigational instincts then guide them through the anxieties of Sudden Potential or Actual Communication Loss. I mean it seems obvious, but I think that's only because we have so seamlessly adopted (adapted) our habits around the inevitability of the Glitch.

Some quick scattered thoughts:

1) Can Total Information Loss provide comfort in a paranoid age of Total Information Awareness?

2) Episode of Friends: Phoebe fakes her way out of a phone conversation by pretending that she was on a mobile and 'just about to go into a tunnel---(makes static noise with mouth)--OK bye now!'. A good comic bit, but also a riff on the social phenomena (batteries dying, signal cutout, needing two hands to do something) of deceit which is enabled by taking the Glitch for granted.

3) Is anyone else struck by the sadness of the "Can You Hear Me Now" guy--a rootless lonely cell-phone ronin endlessly repeating his mantra to the electronic void...

4) Business etiquette as practiced by international executives has the severity and rigidity of bushido. I wonder what mannerisms and professional attitudes of conducting business have emerged as a result of having a potential signal loss wiping out a delicate deal-in-progress. What ethnic and cultural biases come into play as different countries' incompatible cell networks and methods of social protocol compete?

5) STD-ISD: You will never get lost in India no matter what--it is THE most wired nation in the world. I was impressed that literally everywhere, on practically every street corner, were booths that allowed one to make cheap, clear, and fast phone calls to anywhere in the world. To say nothing of the frenzy of the (now increasingly regulated) cell industry out there. A sane response to an otherwise glitchy and congested society.

6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild relief at the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal conversation? What are the statistics on resuming conversations following a signal loss? What does this say about the flexibility of our habituations?

7) Everyone experiences 'dead zone' areas in cities--certain places that are clearly delineated-- where one's cell simply will not get a signal. These electromagnetic topographical black holes create anxieties once encountered and perhaps permanently alter one's desire to return to the area or skirt the virtual perimeter. But at the same time they offer zones of retreat and reflection, a telecommunication Zen garden deep within the city's canyons.

7a) In other words, these 'Dead zones' produce yet another psychogeography overlaid on the several we carry already navigating our urban habitations, but rather than a social or technological map, it is one of neuroses. The ability to be gotten ahold of at all times creates a neurotic condition about being out of touch, even if it's just for minutes at a time.

8) Why do we apologize when our signals fade or are crappy? I believe this is leftover cultural collateral anxiety along the lines of, say, choosing a crappy car or buying a cheap TV set. Picking an inferior wireless provider or a cheap phone is, by nature, indicative of a careless or insuficient identity/personality as manifested through its consumer choices.

9) The potential Loss of the Signal is the perimeter around any new works or social acts. The new activist phenomena of spontaneous, cell-phone motivated organizations and happenings is undermined should there be a sudden relay power loss, or should the targets of protest engage in the counter-practice of picking-or creating- 'dead zones' in which to house their activities. Or, in terms of art practice, Golan Levin conducted a cellphone symphony by casting his own frequencies at the audience (is this correct?), eliminating the need to stage the event in a universally receptible location..

10) The Matrix, among other things, creates a world where survival depends upon clear signals and defined 'exit points' via the Operators. These 'real people' diving into the Matrix are the metaphorical Initiates embodying present-day cool 'Wired' individuals-- Infonauts spelunking into consumer-zombie society along the lines of privileged demands for free and instantaneous access to technological communication. Is Neo the equivelant of the cell-phone yapping, SUV driving Silicon Valley millionaire, creating the need for science-fiction-like access to technology for a society he secretly holds in contempt?

Feel free to add to this list of observations. Again, while the implications of mobile empowerment is interesting, I'm even more compelled to explore what's happening on the ragged edges and empty spaces--

Look around and see how you and others around you seamlessly absorb signal loss into your daily existence.

:sean
  • Eryk Salvaggio | Sun Nov 9th 2003 2:11 a.m.
    These are some great points. I like that you look at signal abscence vs the
    signal overwhelmed by noise. Is there a "drop to signal" ratio rating on par
    with "signal to noise?" Dropped signal may have its broader meanings as
    well.

    There's a Rufus Wainwright song called "Vibrate" that has a line I think is
    pretty clever:

    My phone's on vibrate for you
    But still I never ever feel from you

    I personally feel like apologizing for the signal breakup actually stems
    from some embarrassment that comes from owning a cell phone in the first
    place. I am landline-locked, and that is how I always take my friends
    apologies- "Oh, look at you with your landline, and me, with my frilly
    convinience and its making us unable to communicate." In my circle of
    friends the cell phone was always a symbol of yuppie indulgence- and then
    overconsumption in general. And then, everyone bought one. When you talk to
    a landline on a crappy cell phone, there is responsibility for the breakup
    of the conversation.

    -e.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Sean Capone" <sean@mvmt.us>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2003 2:57 PM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Sociology of the Fading Signal--Can You Hear Me Now?

    > Hi all. While chatting with a friend in SF from my location in Chicago,
    his signal suddenly died. While the implications of mobility and nomadic
    enabling telecommunications has been written about quite a bit, I am
    interested if anyone has conducted any artistic or anthropological research
    on the telecommunications reality of the Faded Signal. There seem to be some
    implications here on the way in which theses technologies have sculpted new
    social landscapes, but in which the glitches inherent in the technology are
    taken for granted by the users, whose navigational instincts then guide them
    through the anxieties of Sudden Potential or Actual Communication Loss. I
    mean it seems obvious, but I think that's only because we have so seamlessly
    adopted (adapted) our habits around the inevitability of the Glitch.
    >
    > Some quick scattered thoughts:
    >
    > 1) Can Total Information Loss provide comfort in a paranoid age of Total
    Information Awareness?
    >
    > 2) Episode of Friends: Phoebe fakes her way out of a phone conversation by
    pretending that she was on a mobile and 'just about to go into a
    tunnel---(makes static noise with mouth)--OK bye now!'. A good comic bit,
    but also a riff on the social phenomena (batteries dying, signal cutout,
    needing two hands to do something) of deceit which is enabled by taking the
    Glitch for granted.
    >
    > 3) Is anyone else struck by the sadness of the "Can You Hear Me Now"
    guy--a rootless lonely cell-phone ronin endlessly repeating his mantra to
    the electronic void...
    >
    > 4) Business etiquette as practiced by international executives has the
    severity and rigidity of bushido. I wonder what mannerisms and professional
    attitudes of conducting business have emerged as a result of having a
    potential signal loss wiping out a delicate deal-in-progress. What ethnic
    and cultural biases come into play as different countries' incompatible cell
    networks and methods of social protocol compete?
    >
    > 5) STD-ISD: You will never get lost in India no matter what--it is THE
    most wired nation in the world. I was impressed that literally everywhere,
    on practically every street corner, were booths that allowed one to make
    cheap, clear, and fast phone calls to anywhere in the world. To say nothing
    of the frenzy of the (now increasingly regulated) cell industry out there. A
    sane response to an otherwise glitchy and congested society.
    >
    > 6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and
    near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild
    aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild relief at
    the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal conversation? What
    are the statistics on resuming conversations following a signal loss? What
    does this say about the flexibility of our habituations?
    >
    > 7) Everyone experiences 'dead zone' areas in cities--certain places that
    are clearly delineated-- where one's cell simply will not get a signal.
    These electromagnetic topographical black holes create anxieties once
    encountered and perhaps permanently alter one's desire to return to the area
    or skirt the virtual perimeter. But at the same time they offer zones of
    retreat and reflection, a telecommunication Zen garden deep within the
    city's canyons.
    >
    > 7a) In other words, these 'Dead zones' produce yet another psychogeography
    overlaid on the several we carry already navigating our urban habitations,
    but rather than a social or technological map, it is one of neuroses. The
    ability to be gotten ahold of at all times creates a neurotic condition
    about being out of touch, even if it's just for minutes at a time.
    >
    > 8) Why do we apologize when our signals fade or are crappy? I believe this
    is leftover cultural collateral anxiety along the lines of, say, choosing a
    crappy car or buying a cheap TV set. Picking an inferior wireless provider
    or a cheap phone is, by nature, indicative of a careless or insuficient
    identity/personality as manifested through its consumer choices.
    >
    > 9) The potential Loss of the Signal is the perimeter around any new works
    or social acts. The new activist phenomena of spontaneous, cell-phone
    motivated organizations and happenings is undermined should there be a
    sudden relay power loss, or should the targets of protest engage in the
    counter-practice of picking-or creating- 'dead zones' in which to house
    their activities. Or, in terms of art practice, Golan Levin conducted a
    cellphone symphony by casting his own frequencies at the audience (is this
    correct?), eliminating the need to stage the event in a universally
    receptible location..
    >
    >
    > 10) The Matrix, among other things, creates a world where survival depends
    upon clear signals and defined 'exit points' via the Operators. These 'real
    people' diving into the Matrix are the metaphorical Initiates embodying
    present-day cool 'Wired' individuals-- Infonauts spelunking into
    consumer-zombie society along the lines of privileged demands for free and
    instantaneous access to technological communication. Is Neo the equivelant
    of the cell-phone yapping, SUV driving Silicon Valley millionaire, creating
    the need for science-fiction-like access to technology for a society he
    secretly holds in contempt?
    >
    >
    > Feel free to add to this list of observations. Again, while the
    implications of mobile empowerment is interesting, I'm even more compelled
    to explore what's happening on the ragged edges and empty spaces--
    >
    > Look around and see how you and others around you seamlessly absorb signal
    loss into your daily existence.
    >
    > :sean
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • ryan griffis | Mon Nov 10th 2003 2:45 p.m.
    yeah - very interesting direction of thought...
    the loss of signal depends on having it in the first place, so access is definitely implicated in some interesting ways. i can't help thinking of Virilio's analyses of technologically created disasters and dependency.
    is there something being disrupted, or is the loss of signal a return to some prior inactivity/other activity?
    anyway, if anyone takes this further, i'd be interested to see what they come up with.
    best,
    ryan
  • mark cooley | Mon Nov 10th 2003 4:38 p.m.
    > 6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and near-hysteria

    recently, a trip to Best Buy showed me that television antennae are now marketed as back-up systems to cable and other forms of reception (i guess i've been in a tv time warp). i was buying the thing as my only form of tv reception. it is interesting and sort of sad to think that people would be so upset at the thought of their cable cutting out in the middle of a show that they would actually go out and buy a back-up system.

    this is an interesting research topic - sean's not mine.

    Eryk Salvaggio wrote:

    >
    >
    > These are some great points. I like that you look at signal abscence
    > vs the
    > signal overwhelmed by noise. Is there a "drop to signal" ratio rating
    > on par
    > with "signal to noise?" Dropped signal may have its broader meanings
    > as
    > well.
    >
    > There's a Rufus Wainwright song called "Vibrate" that has a line I
    > think is
    > pretty clever:
    >
    > My phone's on vibrate for you
    > But still I never ever feel from you
    >
    > I personally feel like apologizing for the signal breakup actually
    > stems
    > from some embarrassment that comes from owning a cell phone in the
    > first
    > place. I am landline-locked, and that is how I always take my friends
    > apologies- "Oh, look at you with your landline, and me, with my frilly
    > convinience and its making us unable to communicate." In my circle of
    > friends the cell phone was always a symbol of yuppie indulgence- and
    > then
    > overconsumption in general. And then, everyone bought one. When you
    > talk to
    > a landline on a crappy cell phone, there is responsibility for the
    > breakup
    > of the conversation.
    >
    > -e.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Sean Capone" <sean@mvmt.us>
    > To: <list@rhizome.org>
    > Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2003 2:57 PM
    > Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Sociology of the Fading Signal--Can You Hear Me
    > Now?
    >
    >
    > > Hi all. While chatting with a friend in SF from my location in
    > Chicago,
    > his signal suddenly died. While the implications of mobility and
    > nomadic
    > enabling telecommunications has been written about quite a bit, I am
    > interested if anyone has conducted any artistic or anthropological
    > research
    > on the telecommunications reality of the Faded Signal. There seem to
    > be some
    > implications here on the way in which theses technologies have
    > sculpted new
    > social landscapes, but in which the glitches inherent in the
    > technology are
    > taken for granted by the users, whose navigational instincts then
    > guide them
    > through the anxieties of Sudden Potential or Actual Communication
    > Loss. I
    > mean it seems obvious, but I think that's only because we have so
    > seamlessly
    > adopted (adapted) our habits around the inevitability of the Glitch.
    > >
    > > Some quick scattered thoughts:
    > >
    > > 1) Can Total Information Loss provide comfort in a paranoid age of
    > Total
    > Information Awareness?
    > >
    > > 2) Episode of Friends: Phoebe fakes her way out of a phone
    > conversation by
    > pretending that she was on a mobile and 'just about to go into a
    > tunnel---(makes static noise with mouth)--OK bye now!'. A good comic
    > bit,
    > but also a riff on the social phenomena (batteries dying, signal
    > cutout,
    > needing two hands to do something) of deceit which is enabled by
    > taking the
    > Glitch for granted.
    > >
    > > 3) Is anyone else struck by the sadness of the "Can You Hear Me Now"
    > guy--a rootless lonely cell-phone ronin endlessly repeating his mantra
    > to
    > the electronic void...
    > >
    > > 4) Business etiquette as practiced by international executives has
    > the
    > severity and rigidity of bushido. I wonder what mannerisms and
    > professional
    > attitudes of conducting business have emerged as a result of having a
    > potential signal loss wiping out a delicate deal-in-progress. What
    > ethnic
    > and cultural biases come into play as different countries'
    > incompatible cell
    > networks and methods of social protocol compete?
    > >
    > > 5) STD-ISD: You will never get lost in India no matter what--it is
    > THE
    > most wired nation in the world. I was impressed that literally
    > everywhere,
    > on practically every street corner, were booths that allowed one to
    > make
    > cheap, clear, and fast phone calls to anywhere in the world. To say
    > nothing
    > of the frenzy of the (now increasingly regulated) cell industry out
    > there. A
    > sane response to an otherwise glitchy and congested society.
    > >
    > > 6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration
    > and
    > near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild
    > aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild
    > relief at
    > the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal conversation?
    > What
    > are the statistics on resuming conversations following a signal loss?
    > What
    > does this say about the flexibility of our habituations?
    > >
    > > 7) Everyone experiences 'dead zone' areas in cities--certain places
    > that
    > are clearly delineated-- where one's cell simply will not get a
    > signal.
    > These electromagnetic topographical black holes create anxieties once
    > encountered and perhaps permanently alter one's desire to return to
    > the area
    > or skirt the virtual perimeter. But at the same time they offer zones
    > of
    > retreat and reflection, a telecommunication Zen garden deep within the
    > city's canyons.
    > >
    > > 7a) In other words, these 'Dead zones' produce yet another
    > psychogeography
    > overlaid on the several we carry already navigating our urban
    > habitations,
    > but rather than a social or technological map, it is one of neuroses.
    > The
    > ability to be gotten ahold of at all times creates a neurotic
    > condition
    > about being out of touch, even if it's just for minutes at a time.
    > >
    > > 8) Why do we apologize when our signals fade or are crappy? I
    > believe this
    > is leftover cultural collateral anxiety along the lines of, say,
    > choosing a
    > crappy car or buying a cheap TV set. Picking an inferior wireless
    > provider
    > or a cheap phone is, by nature, indicative of a careless or
    > insuficient
    > identity/personality as manifested through its consumer choices.
    > >
    > > 9) The potential Loss of the Signal is the perimeter around any new
    > works
    > or social acts. The new activist phenomena of spontaneous, cell-phone
    > motivated organizations and happenings is undermined should there be a
    > sudden relay power loss, or should the targets of protest engage in
    > the
    > counter-practice of picking-or creating- 'dead zones' in which to
    > house
    > their activities. Or, in terms of art practice, Golan Levin conducted
    > a
    > cellphone symphony by casting his own frequencies at the audience (is
    > this
    > correct?), eliminating the need to stage the event in a universally
    > receptible location..
    > >
    > >
    > > 10) The Matrix, among other things, creates a world where survival
    > depends
    > upon clear signals and defined 'exit points' via the Operators. These
    > 'real
    > people' diving into the Matrix are the metaphorical Initiates
    > embodying
    > present-day cool 'Wired' individuals-- Infonauts spelunking into
    > consumer-zombie society along the lines of privileged demands for free
    > and
    > instantaneous access to technological communication. Is Neo the
    > equivelant
    > of the cell-phone yapping, SUV driving Silicon Valley millionaire,
    > creating
    > the need for science-fiction-like access to technology for a society
    > he
    > secretly holds in contempt?
    > >
    > >
    > > Feel free to add to this list of observations. Again, while the
    > implications of mobile empowerment is interesting, I'm even more
    > compelled
    > to explore what's happening on the ragged edges and empty spaces--
    > >
    > > Look around and see how you and others around you seamlessly absorb
    > signal
    > loss into your daily existence.
    > >
    > > :sean
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
  • ryan griffis | Mon Nov 10th 2003 5:50 p.m.
    The FCC revamp of phone number regulations regarding wireless usage is interesting in light of these concerns...
    the loss of signal is being considered in terms of changing numbers - "sorry this number is no longer in service" becomes a 404 error...
    convenience is a harsh master.

    "There's both the economic cost of a new phone number
  • Sean Capone | Tue Nov 18th 2003 9:03 p.m.
    The point of all this is, I'm pretty sure there's a book or show in here somewhere.

    Researching portable cell-phone signal jammers for an installation or public tactical 'interventions' -- be fun to videotape the reactions of loud yappers on the train..despite FCC regs to the contrary..

    It would even be nice to approach the city to install my 'telecommunication zen gardens' in various public spaces downtown--so people can eat their lunch and chill out in peace..

    http://www.phonejammer.com/index.htm

    http://www.newhouse.com/archive/story1a092200.html
  • Jill Walker | Wed Nov 19th 2003 4:18 a.m.
    > 6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and
    > near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild
    > aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild
    > relief at the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal
    > conversation? What are the statistics on resuming conversations
    > following a signal loss? What does this say about the flexibility of
    > our habituations?

    That's easy: we control the time of TV and email but not of telephones. You're supposed to answer the phone when it rings. No one expects you to answer, or even read, an email (or an SMS) instantly.

    The first time I didn't answer my phone when it rang was when my daughter was a baby. No way was I going to interrupt breastfeeding or lullaby-singing or changing a nappy to answer a nagging phone! My sister-in-law was appalled. She truly felt that one has a moral obligation to pick up a ringing phone. No matter who was calling.

    I still ignore the phone if it interferes with reading a bedtime story to my daughter, or I'm doing something else important, and I turn it off sometimes - but though I feel little guilt at that, I feel absolutely <i>none</i> at doing the same with my mobile.

    And I love SMSes. They're polite. They wait for you to have time. You can send them and know that you're not interrupting. And you can answer them instantly if so inclined.

    So, yeah. I'm not sure I like the forced loss of signal, but I love the assumption that you won't always be able to answer instantly. I get frantic, though, if my network's down :)
  • Sean Capone | Thu Nov 20th 2003 5:40 a.m.
    more (this got accidentally posted under the heading The XTC of Communication) :

    1) Total Information Loss (TIL) part II: if a signal is basically information, then the types of data we store on our portable devices (phone books, day planners, alarms, location technologies, email etc) ensures the probability of their use. Remember when we used to carry around little phone books of our friends and relatives contact information? Can you even remember anyone's phone # these days besides your own?
    Bearers of information must have the security of potentiality. Back up your address books, kids.

    2) Inadvertant social experiment in action: today as I was playing phone-and-email monkey-in-the-middle while trying to meet a client's deadline, the project mgr's phone rudely switched off its voice capabilities while commuting; for the next hour I was subject to flurries of email & text messages being sent from his phone to the phone of an on-site colleague, who would vocally relay his managerial anxieties. His only role was to provide a front end filter to the client, the subterfuge of which became increasingly complex in an almost sitcom way as the emails, txt msgs, and phone calls exponentially crossed and misfired.

    3) Off topic for a minute, I can understand the design convergence of aerodynamically engineered cars and shoes, but why make cell phones look like that too? I suspect that they play off deeply coded cultural signifiers of speed & mobility.

    4) More references: "I'm Losing You" by Bruce Wagner (the title refers to the utterance said during imminent signal loss on cells, but of course has deeper symbolic meaning--read the book!); also, Ghost in the Shell graphic novels. Side by side, at their core, these are two very different and beautiful examinations of spirituality and human value as mediated by telecommunications & signal interference.

    5) Music: Scanner, Oval, PreFuse 73; we have to consider the aesthetic of hiphop, cliqhop, and IDM-- musical forms which are ecstatic over the corrupt or fragmented signal information in a transmission medium (scratches, pops, CD clicks, phonetic deconstruction). Evocation of nostalgia through the act of disappearing.

    6) I ran some of these ideas by the proprietor of a gallery space and plan on revising these ideas into a formal curatorial thesis. Please drop any suggestions my way about artists who are working in any medium that addresses the physical, visual, technological, or metaphorical social spaces engendered by the anxiety--or relief-- of signal disappearance.

    7) How could I forget-- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A most wonderful book which, aside from its many complex themes and morals, explores how the clarity of communication--the gradual learning of a language-- hinders the free association and imagination of more symbolic means of story-telling.
  • mark cooley | Thu Nov 20th 2003 12:35 p.m.
    perhaps implicit within this discussion, but i don't think touched upon directly yet, is the discussion of technology and alienation in a marxist sense. capitalist political economy (with which we participate) demands that we (the professional/political classes at least) be multipresent. because by nature the body cannot be located in several locations at once (without decapitation at least). we substitute our presence with technology (perhaps there could be a discussion here on technology as fetish). What happens with loss/disturbance of signal is a concrete reminder of our lack of presence. unfortunately, rather than questioning a political/economic system that puts our bodies into a position of inferiority to technology and subservant to a naturalized social order of increasing alienation, many instead blame it on the technology - we displace our anxiety about our alienation by buying the next big promise of "connection" which again reenforces our alienation. This discussion could involve a more direct reference to the rhetoric of the telecommunications industry. There are many television ads that come to mind which are meant to sooth consumers into choosing the latest telecommunication devices over choosing the presence of body - this becomes a moral choice. In the case of an ad depicting a parent at an airport (obviously traveling for business) calling in to her/his child's gradeschool play and listening over the cell, later declaring to the child that (s)he didn't in fact miss the performance - thanks to the trusty cell phone. Another, more recent ad, goes much further. there's a father, again at an airport on business, talking to his daughter who is sitting beside him. someone walks by obscuring our view of the father for an instant and when we can see him again it is revealed that he is actually speaking to his daughter on his cell. Obviously, underlying these ads, is the moral assumption that parental presence is necessary (which most would agree with), but the political/economic structures that alienate parent from child are completely naturalized. The realities of global capital cannot be questioned in such a way that is threatening to capital and so thanks to global capital (information networks) a parent's cellular presense is just as good as the real thing.

    i have to stop writing because i have to go to work... or maybe i'll just call in and tell the bosses and students that my telepresence is just as good as the real thing.

    Sean Capone wrote:

    > more (this got accidentally posted under the heading The XTC of
    > Communication) :
    >
    > 1) Total Information Loss (TIL) part II: if a signal is basically
    > information, then the types of data we store on our portable devices
    > (phone books, day planners, alarms, location technologies, email etc)
    > ensures the probability of their use. Remember when we used to carry
    > around little phone books of our friends and relatives contact
    > information? Can you even remember anyone's phone # these days besides
    > your own?
    > Bearers of information must have the security of potentiality. Back up
    > your address books, kids.
    >
    > 2) Inadvertant social experiment in action: today as I was playing
    > phone-and-email monkey-in-the-middle while trying to meet a client's
    > deadline, the project mgr's phone rudely switched off its voice
    > capabilities while commuting; for the next hour I was subject to
    > flurries of email & text messages being sent from his phone to the
    > phone of an on-site colleague, who would vocally relay his managerial
    > anxieties. His only role was to provide a front end filter to the
    > client, the subterfuge of which became increasingly complex in an
    > almost sitcom way as the emails, txt msgs, and phone calls
    > exponentially crossed and misfired.
    >
    > 3) Off topic for a minute, I can understand the design convergence of
    > aerodynamically engineered cars and shoes, but why make cell phones
    > look like that too? I suspect that they play off deeply coded cultural
    > signifiers of speed & mobility.
    >
    > 4) More references: "I'm Losing You" by Bruce Wagner (the title refers
    > to the utterance said during imminent signal loss on cells, but of
    > course has deeper symbolic meaning--read the book!); also, Ghost in
    > the Shell graphic novels. Side by side, at their core, these are two
    > very different and beautiful examinations of spirituality and human
    > value as mediated by telecommunications & signal interference.
    >
    > 5) Music: Scanner, Oval, PreFuse 73; we have to consider the aesthetic
    > of hiphop, cliqhop, and IDM-- musical forms which are ecstatic over
    > the corrupt or fragmented signal information in a transmission medium
    > (scratches, pops, CD clicks, phonetic deconstruction). Evocation of
    > nostalgia through the act of disappearing.
    >
    > 6) I ran some of these ideas by the proprietor of a gallery space and
    > plan on revising these ideas into a formal curatorial thesis. Please
    > drop any suggestions my way about artists who are working in any
    > medium that addresses the physical, visual, technological, or
    > metaphorical social spaces engendered by the anxiety--or relief-- of
    > signal disappearance.
    >
    > 7) How could I forget-- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A most
    > wonderful book which, aside from its many complex themes and morals,
    > explores how the clarity of communication--the gradual learning of a
    > language-- hinders the free association and imagination of more
    > symbolic means of story-telling.
    >
    >
    >
  • Sean Capone | Thu Nov 20th 2003 1:58 p.m.
    Hi mark. thanks for the insights. i lack the critical wit to approach the issue from a marxist standpoint. also at some point in the recent past i realized that i was, sad to say, somewhat of a technological determinist, not failing to see it (technology) as the result of specific political economies but viewing it as somewhat inevitable and ultimately beneficial--whether it passes or fails. so i err on the side of whimsy. to wit (mark's comments are in brackets):

    <<be multipresent. because by nature the body cannot be located in several locations at once (without decapitation at least). we substitute our presence with technology (perhaps there could be a discussion here on technology as fetish)>>

    or as schizophrenia, a natural condition of replication??

    <<What happens with loss/disturbance of signal is a concrete reminder of our lack of presence>>

    you know what, i would say that it rather reinforces a sense of singular presence in a real way. We are yanked out of the noosphere and back into our own cartesian sense of self.

    <<Obviously, underlying these ads, is the moral assumption that parental presence is necessary (which most would agree with), but the political/economic structures that alienate parent from child are completely naturalized.>>

    These ads are particularly loathsome. But tugging on the parental heartstrings is an advertisers easiest way out of being creative. An even funnier but more distressing one to me is the GenX targeted ad where two focus-marketed designer teens are at an outdoor concert, and the music is so loud, they are text messaging each other while standing facing each other. "where's joe?" "don't know." Alienation of the most basic human signals--gestures, mouth sounds-- nullified by cell phones even when in each others presence!!

    But what this says is that mobile technology is a possible response--perhaps not a sane one, but a functional one-- to the alienating factors of capitalism and contemporary culture in general. As a flipside to our examples, what's shown is that the sense-shattering loudness of a concert (they could have just shouted in each others ear like we all do--), or the alienation of parental absence, is ameliorated by telepresence. We have to be cautious not to replace critique with our own type of nostalgia... not to say that I think that alienation is some sort of historic inevitibility. Rather we are in some sort of... interstitial zone. We haven't quite caught up to the promises we're making ourselves yet.
  • JM Haefner | Thu Nov 20th 2003 4:19 p.m.
    and so too...technology is the new opiate of the masses...

    -=j

    On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 10:35 AM, mark cooley wrote:

    > perhaps implicit within this discussion, but i don't think touched
    > upon directly yet, is the discussion of technology and alienation in a
    > marxist sense. capitalist political economy (with which we
    > participate) demands that we (the professional/political classes at
    > least) be multipresent. because by nature the body cannot be located
    > in several locations at once (without decapitation at least). we
    > substitute our presence with technology (perhaps there could be a
    > discussion here on technology as fetish). What happens with
    > loss/disturbance of signal is a concrete reminder of our lack of
    > presence. unfortunately, rather than questioning a political/economic
    > system that puts our bodies into a position of inferiority to
    > technology and subservant to a naturalized social order of increasing
    > alienation, many instead blame it on the technology - we displace our
    > anxiety about our alienation by buying the next big promise of
    > "connection" which again reenforces our alienation. This di!
    > scussion could involve a more direct reference to the rhetoric of the
    > telecommunications industry. There are many television ads that come
    > to mind which are meant to sooth consumers into choosing the latest
    > telecommunication devices over choosing the presence of body - this
    > becomes a moral choice. In the case of an ad depicting a parent at an
    > airport (obviously traveling for business) calling in to her/his
    > child's gradeschool play and listening over the cell, later declaring
    > to the child that (s)he didn't in fact miss the performance - thanks
    > to the trusty cell phone. Another, more recent ad, goes much further.
    > there's a father, again at an airport on business, talking to his
    > daughter who is sitting beside him. someone walks by obscuring our
    > view of the father for an instant and when we can see him again it is
    > revealed that he is actually speaking to his daughter on his cell.
    > Obviously, underlying these ads, is the moral assumption that parental
    > presence is necessary (wh!
    > ich most would agree with), but the political/economic structures that
    > alienate parent from child are completely naturalized. The realities
    > of global capital cannot be questioned in such a way that is
    > threatening to capital and so thanks to global capital (information
    > networks) a parent's cellular presense is just as good as the real
    > thing.
    >
    > i have to stop writing because i have to go to work... or maybe i'll
    > just call in and tell the bosses and students that my telepresence is
    > just as good as the real thing.
    >
    > Sean Capone wrote:
    >
    >> more (this got accidentally posted under the heading The XTC of
    >> Communication) :
    >>
    >> 1) Total Information Loss (TIL) part II: if a signal is basically
    >> information, then the types of data we store on our portable devices
    >> (phone books, day planners, alarms, location technologies, email etc)
    >> ensures the probability of their use. Remember when we used to carry
    >> around little phone books of our friends and relatives contact
    >> information? Can you even remember anyone's phone # these days besides
    >> your own?
    >> Bearers of information must have the security of potentiality. Back up
    >> your address books, kids.
    >>
    >> 2) Inadvertant social experiment in action: today as I was playing
    >> phone-and-email monkey-in-the-middle while trying to meet a client's
    >> deadline, the project mgr's phone rudely switched off its voice
    >> capabilities while commuting; for the next hour I was subject to
    >> flurries of email & text messages being sent from his phone to the
    >> phone of an on-site colleague, who would vocally relay his managerial
    >> anxieties. His only role was to provide a front end filter to the
    >> client, the subterfuge of which became increasingly complex in an
    >> almost sitcom way as the emails, txt msgs, and phone calls
    >> exponentially crossed and misfired.
    >>
    >> 3) Off topic for a minute, I can understand the design convergence of
    >> aerodynamically engineered cars and shoes, but why make cell phones
    >> look like that too? I suspect that they play off deeply coded cultural
    >> signifiers of speed & mobility.
    >>
    >> 4) More references: "I'm Losing You" by Bruce Wagner (the title refers
    >> to the utterance said during imminent signal loss on cells, but of
    >> course has deeper symbolic meaning--read the book!); also, Ghost in
    >> the Shell graphic novels. Side by side, at their core, these are two
    >> very different and beautiful examinations of spirituality and human
    >> value as mediated by telecommunications & signal interference.
    >>
    >> 5) Music: Scanner, Oval, PreFuse 73; we have to consider the aesthetic
    >> of hiphop, cliqhop, and IDM-- musical forms which are ecstatic over
    >> the corrupt or fragmented signal information in a transmission medium
    >> (scratches, pops, CD clicks, phonetic deconstruction). Evocation of
    >> nostalgia through the act of disappearing.
    >>
    >> 6) I ran some of these ideas by the proprietor of a gallery space and
    >> plan on revising these ideas into a formal curatorial thesis. Please
    >> drop any suggestions my way about artists who are working in any
    >> medium that addresses the physical, visual, technological, or
    >> metaphorical social spaces engendered by the anxiety--or relief-- of
    >> signal disappearance.
    >>
    >> 7) How could I forget-- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A most
    >> wonderful book which, aside from its many complex themes and morals,
    >> explores how the clarity of communication--the gradual learning of a
    >> language-- hinders the free association and imagination of more
    >> symbolic means of story-telling.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • mark cooley | Thu Nov 20th 2003 6:17 p.m.
    you could say that insofar as we place almost total faith in something (technology) that we see as existing outside of ourselves but is actually our own invention. i see it as this, but differing from religion in that we see technology as always evolving (and taking us with it) toward some higher state of existence rather than as a static order of things (religion). in this way perhaps the rhetoric around technology is even more disturbing than religious rhetoric because it allows for the infinite expansion of capital. it is interesting to see the debates around biotechnology for instance - many oppositional arguments focus on biotech disturbing god's plan, whereas many scientific arguments for biotech center on a (supposed natural) progression of human's control (through technology of course) of nature. both are essentialist positions but i am wondering which is better or worse - in terms of reproducing the ideology of capitalism. hmmmmm?

    JM Haefner wrote:

    > and so too...technology is the new opiate of the masses...
    >
    > -=j
    >
    >
    > On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 10:35 AM, mark cooley wrote:
    >
    > > perhaps implicit within this discussion, but i don't think touched
    > > upon directly yet, is the discussion of technology and alienation in
    > a
    > > marxist sense. capitalist political economy (with which we
    > > participate) demands that we (the professional/political classes at
    > > least) be multipresent. because by nature the body cannot be
    > located
    > > in several locations at once (without decapitation at least). we
    > > substitute our presence with technology (perhaps there could be a
    > > discussion here on technology as fetish). What happens with
    > > loss/disturbance of signal is a concrete reminder of our lack of
    > > presence. unfortunately, rather than questioning a
    > political/economic
    > > system that puts our bodies into a position of inferiority to
    > > technology and subservant to a naturalized social order of
    > increasing
    > > alienation, many instead blame it on the technology - we displace
    > our
    > > anxiety about our alienation by buying the next big promise of
    > > "connection" which again reenforces our alienation. This di!
    > > scussion could involve a more direct reference to the rhetoric of
    > the
    > > telecommunications industry. There are many television ads that
    > come
    > > to mind which are meant to sooth consumers into choosing the latest
    > > telecommunication devices over choosing the presence of body - this
    > > becomes a moral choice. In the case of an ad depicting a parent at
    > an
    > > airport (obviously traveling for business) calling in to her/his
    > > child's gradeschool play and listening over the cell, later
    > declaring
    > > to the child that (s)he didn't in fact miss the performance -
    > thanks
    > > to the trusty cell phone. Another, more recent ad, goes much
    > further.
    > > there's a father, again at an airport on business, talking to his
    > > daughter who is sitting beside him. someone walks by obscuring our
    > > view of the father for an instant and when we can see him again it
    > is
    > > revealed that he is actually speaking to his daughter on his cell.
    > > Obviously, underlying these ads, is the moral assumption that
    > parental
    > > presence is necessary (wh!
    > > ich most would agree with), but the political/economic structures
    > that
    > > alienate parent from child are completely naturalized. The
    > realities
    > > of global capital cannot be questioned in such a way that is
    > > threatening to capital and so thanks to global capital (information
    > > networks) a parent's cellular presense is just as good as the real
    > > thing.
    > >
    > > i have to stop writing because i have to go to work... or maybe
    > i'll
    > > just call in and tell the bosses and students that my telepresence
    > is
    > > just as good as the real thing.
    > >
    > > Sean Capone wrote:
    > >
    > >> more (this got accidentally posted under the heading The XTC of
    > >> Communication) :
    > >>
    > >> 1) Total Information Loss (TIL) part II: if a signal is basically
    > >> information, then the types of data we store on our portable
    > devices
    > >> (phone books, day planners, alarms, location technologies, email
    > etc)
    > >> ensures the probability of their use. Remember when we used to
    > carry
    > >> around little phone books of our friends and relatives contact
    > >> information? Can you even remember anyone's phone # these days
    > besides
    > >> your own?
    > >> Bearers of information must have the security of potentiality. Back
    > up
    > >> your address books, kids.
    > >>
    > >> 2) Inadvertant social experiment in action: today as I was playing
    > >> phone-and-email monkey-in-the-middle while trying to meet a
    > client's
    > >> deadline, the project mgr's phone rudely switched off its voice
    > >> capabilities while commuting; for the next hour I was subject to
    > >> flurries of email & text messages being sent from his phone to the
    > >> phone of an on-site colleague, who would vocally relay his
    > managerial
    > >> anxieties. His only role was to provide a front end filter to the
    > >> client, the subterfuge of which became increasingly complex in an
    > >> almost sitcom way as the emails, txt msgs, and phone calls
    > >> exponentially crossed and misfired.
    > >>
    > >> 3) Off topic for a minute, I can understand the design convergence
    > of
    > >> aerodynamically engineered cars and shoes, but why make cell phones
    > >> look like that too? I suspect that they play off deeply coded
    > cultural
    > >> signifiers of speed & mobility.
    > >>
    > >> 4) More references: "I'm Losing You" by Bruce Wagner (the title
    > refers
    > >> to the utterance said during imminent signal loss on cells, but of
    > >> course has deeper symbolic meaning--read the book!); also, Ghost in
    > >> the Shell graphic novels. Side by side, at their core, these are
    > two
    > >> very different and beautiful examinations of spirituality and human
    > >> value as mediated by telecommunications & signal interference.
    > >>
    > >> 5) Music: Scanner, Oval, PreFuse 73; we have to consider the
    > aesthetic
    > >> of hiphop, cliqhop, and IDM-- musical forms which are ecstatic over
    > >> the corrupt or fragmented signal information in a transmission
    > medium
    > >> (scratches, pops, CD clicks, phonetic deconstruction). Evocation of
    > >> nostalgia through the act of disappearing.
    > >>
    > >> 6) I ran some of these ideas by the proprietor of a gallery space
    > and
    > >> plan on revising these ideas into a formal curatorial thesis.
    > Please
    > >> drop any suggestions my way about artists who are working in any
    > >> medium that addresses the physical, visual, technological, or
    > >> metaphorical social spaces engendered by the anxiety--or relief--
    > of
    > >> signal disappearance.
    > >>
    > >> 7) How could I forget-- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A most
    > >> wonderful book which, aside from its many complex themes and
    > morals,
    > >> explores how the clarity of communication--the gradual learning of
    > a
    > >> language-- hinders the free association and imagination of more
    > >> symbolic means of story-telling.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >>
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Minnifred Wilson | Thu Nov 20th 2003 6:46 p.m.
    How does one get off this list? I keep getting emails from you guys and I
    didnt sign up.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "mark cooley" <mgc868f@smsu.edu>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 2:17 PM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sociology of the Fading Signal--Can
    You Hear Me Now?

    > you could say that insofar as we place almost total faith in something
    (technology) that we see as existing outside of ourselves but is actually
    our own invention. i see it as this, but differing from religion in that we
    see technology as always evolving (and taking us with it) toward some higher
    state of existence rather than as a static order of things (religion). in
    this way perhaps the rhetoric around technology is even more disturbing than
    religious rhetoric because it allows for the infinite expansion of capital.
    it is interesting to see the debates around biotechnology for instance -
    many oppositional arguments focus on biotech disturbing god's plan, whereas
    many scientific arguments for biotech center on a (supposed natural)
    progression of human's control (through technology of course) of nature.
    both are essentialist positions but i am wondering which is better or
    worse - in terms of reproducing the ideology of capitalism. hmmmmm?
    >
    > JM Haefner wrote:
    >
    > > and so too...technology is the new opiate of the masses...
    > >
    > > -=j
    > >
    > >
    > > On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 10:35 AM, mark cooley wrote:
    > >
    > > > perhaps implicit within this discussion, but i don't think touched
    > > > upon directly yet, is the discussion of technology and alienation in
    > > a
    > > > marxist sense. capitalist political economy (with which we
    > > > participate) demands that we (the professional/political classes at
    > > > least) be multipresent. because by nature the body cannot be
    > > located
    > > > in several locations at once (without decapitation at least). we
    > > > substitute our presence with technology (perhaps there could be a
    > > > discussion here on technology as fetish). What happens with
    > > > loss/disturbance of signal is a concrete reminder of our lack of
    > > > presence. unfortunately, rather than questioning a
    > > political/economic
    > > > system that puts our bodies into a position of inferiority to
    > > > technology and subservant to a naturalized social order of
    > > increasing
    > > > alienation, many instead blame it on the technology - we displace
    > > our
    > > > anxiety about our alienation by buying the next big promise of
    > > > "connection" which again reenforces our alienation. This di!
    > > > scussion could involve a more direct reference to the rhetoric of
    > > the
    > > > telecommunications industry. There are many television ads that
    > > come
    > > > to mind which are meant to sooth consumers into choosing the latest
    > > > telecommunication devices over choosing the presence of body - this
    > > > becomes a moral choice. In the case of an ad depicting a parent at
    > > an
    > > > airport (obviously traveling for business) calling in to her/his
    > > > child's gradeschool play and listening over the cell, later
    > > declaring
    > > > to the child that (s)he didn't in fact miss the performance -
    > > thanks
    > > > to the trusty cell phone. Another, more recent ad, goes much
    > > further.
    > > > there's a father, again at an airport on business, talking to his
    > > > daughter who is sitting beside him. someone walks by obscuring our
    > > > view of the father for an instant and when we can see him again it
    > > is
    > > > revealed that he is actually speaking to his daughter on his cell.
    > > > Obviously, underlying these ads, is the moral assumption that
    > > parental
    > > > presence is necessary (wh!
    > > > ich most would agree with), but the political/economic structures
    > > that
    > > > alienate parent from child are completely naturalized. The
    > > realities
    > > > of global capital cannot be questioned in such a way that is
    > > > threatening to capital and so thanks to global capital (information
    > > > networks) a parent's cellular presense is just as good as the real
    > > > thing.
    > > >
    > > > i have to stop writing because i have to go to work... or maybe
    > > i'll
    > > > just call in and tell the bosses and students that my telepresence
    > > is
    > > > just as good as the real thing.
    > > >
    > > > Sean Capone wrote:
    > > >
    > > >> more (this got accidentally posted under the heading The XTC of
    > > >> Communication) :
    > > >>
    > > >> 1) Total Information Loss (TIL) part II: if a signal is basically
    > > >> information, then the types of data we store on our portable
    > > devices
    > > >> (phone books, day planners, alarms, location technologies, email
    > > etc)
    > > >> ensures the probability of their use. Remember when we used to
    > > carry
    > > >> around little phone books of our friends and relatives contact
    > > >> information? Can you even remember anyone's phone # these days
    > > besides
    > > >> your own?
    > > >> Bearers of information must have the security of potentiality. Back
    > > up
    > > >> your address books, kids.
    > > >>
    > > >> 2) Inadvertant social experiment in action: today as I was playing
    > > >> phone-and-email monkey-in-the-middle while trying to meet a
    > > client's
    > > >> deadline, the project mgr's phone rudely switched off its voice
    > > >> capabilities while commuting; for the next hour I was subject to
    > > >> flurries of email & text messages being sent from his phone to the
    > > >> phone of an on-site colleague, who would vocally relay his
    > > managerial
    > > >> anxieties. His only role was to provide a front end filter to the
    > > >> client, the subterfuge of which became increasingly complex in an
    > > >> almost sitcom way as the emails, txt msgs, and phone calls
    > > >> exponentially crossed and misfired.
    > > >>
    > > >> 3) Off topic for a minute, I can understand the design convergence
    > > of
    > > >> aerodynamically engineered cars and shoes, but why make cell phones
    > > >> look like that too? I suspect that they play off deeply coded
    > > cultural
    > > >> signifiers of speed & mobility.
    > > >>
    > > >> 4) More references: "I'm Losing You" by Bruce Wagner (the title
    > > refers
    > > >> to the utterance said during imminent signal loss on cells, but of
    > > >> course has deeper symbolic meaning--read the book!); also, Ghost in
    > > >> the Shell graphic novels. Side by side, at their core, these are
    > > two
    > > >> very different and beautiful examinations of spirituality and human
    > > >> value as mediated by telecommunications & signal interference.
    > > >>
    > > >> 5) Music: Scanner, Oval, PreFuse 73; we have to consider the
    > > aesthetic
    > > >> of hiphop, cliqhop, and IDM-- musical forms which are ecstatic over
    > > >> the corrupt or fragmented signal information in a transmission
    > > medium
    > > >> (scratches, pops, CD clicks, phonetic deconstruction). Evocation of
    > > >> nostalgia through the act of disappearing.
    > > >>
    > > >> 6) I ran some of these ideas by the proprietor of a gallery space
    > > and
    > > >> plan on revising these ideas into a formal curatorial thesis.
    > > Please
    > > >> drop any suggestions my way about artists who are working in any
    > > >> medium that addresses the physical, visual, technological, or
    > > >> metaphorical social spaces engendered by the anxiety--or relief--
    > > of
    > > >> signal disappearance.
    > > >>
    > > >> 7) How could I forget-- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A most
    > > >> wonderful book which, aside from its many complex themes and
    > > morals,
    > > >> explores how the clarity of communication--the gradual learning of
    > > a
    > > >> language-- hinders the free association and imagination of more
    > > >> symbolic means of story-telling.
    > > >>
    > > >>
    > > >>
    > > > +
    > > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > > > +
    > > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
  • JM Haefner | Thu Nov 20th 2003 10:04 p.m.
    On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 04:17 PM, mark cooley wrote:

    > you could say that insofar as we place almost total faith in something
    > (technology) that we see as existing outside of ourselves but is
    > actually our own invention.

    so is god

    > i see it as this, but differing from religion in that we see
    > technology as always evolving (and taking us with it) toward some
    > higher state of existence rather than as a static order of things
    > (religion).

    apparently people think god lives...therefore evolves

    > in this way perhaps the rhetoric around technology is even more
    > disturbing than religious rhetoric because it allows for the infinite
    > expansion of capital.

    you should live in the bible belt...they fight about whether THEY are
    the buckle of the belt

    > it is interesting to see the debates around biotechnology for instance
    > - many oppositional arguments focus on biotech disturbing god's plan,
    > whereas many scientific arguments for biotech center on a (supposed
    > natural) progression of human's control (through technology of course)
    > of nature.

    the Hubble telescope has or should have upset many ideas about where we
    stand in the universe

    > both are essentialist positions but i am wondering which is better or
    > worse - in terms of reproducing the ideology of capitalism. hmmmmm?

    money is god's reward

    Coming soon:
    Art about the above, or
    the KKK, or
    the government.

    -=j
  • Rob Myers | Fri Nov 21st 2003 11:35 a.m.
    On 21 Nov 2003, at 03:07, Jean Haefner wrote:
    > On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 04:17 PM, mark cooley wrote:
    >> in this way perhaps the rhetoric around technology is even more
    >> disturbing than religious rhetoric because it allows for the infinite
    >> expansion of capital.
    >
    > you should live in the bible belt...they fight about whether THEY are
    > the buckle of the belt

    Religion puts no limits on the expansion of capital. Indeed a deity
    could declare/make any given material or activity valuable, thus
    increasing capital at a rate unimaginable by technological means.
    Technology limits the expansion of capital by insisting that you expend
    some on material things.

    >> it is interesting to see the debates around biotechnology for
    >> instance - many oppositional arguments focus on biotech disturbing
    >> god's plan, whereas many scientific arguments for biotech center on
    >> a (supposed natural) progression of human's control (through
    >> technology of course) of nature.
    >
    > the Hubble telescope has or should have upset many ideas about where
    > we stand in the universe

    "Control of nature" was, roughly speaking, something given to humanity
    by God in the Old testament. I have never met anyone who believes
    biotech is natural, but I've met many who think that having unmodified
    crops pollinated by under-tested modified crops is a) Not good and b)
    Inevitable.

    >> both are essentialist positions but i am wondering which is better or
    >> worse - in terms of reproducing the ideology of capitalism. hmmmmm?
    >
    > money is god's reward

    Industrialised capitalism is a product of C19th Protestantism (work
    ethic). Technology is *not* essentialist because it recognises the
    artificiality of its artifacts, unlike religion which is generally
    underwritten by divine revelation. Individuals may romaticise or
    essentialise technology, but that can happen with anything. And
    capitalism is its own reward, however it chooses to hide its face. :-)

    - Rob.
  • mark cooley | Fri Nov 21st 2003 12:43 p.m.
    i didn't mean to indicate that totalitarian religious orders are not a problem - i too have lived in the bible belt - North Carolina and now Southern Missouri - so i see the effects of this, and i know that my relationship to an acedemic community (where there is a healthy dose scepticism about religious dogma) has refocused my views of these things. The thing that I find most interesting in terms of criticism in my professional/social group is the fact that many acedemics will talk endlessly about the "ideology" of christianity, and yet not even recognize the dogma of "Technological Progress". Perhaps, Technophilia should be a term used more often and added to the key words list on Rhizome for that matter - i think technophobia is already on there. hmmmm.

    JM Haefner wrote:

    > On Thursday, November 20, 2003, at 04:17 PM, mark cooley wrote:
    >
    > > you could say that insofar as we place almost total faith in
    > something
    > > (technology) that we see as existing outside of ourselves but is
    > > actually our own invention.
    >
    > so is god
    >
    > > i see it as this, but differing from religion in that we see
    > > technology as always evolving (and taking us with it) toward some
    > > higher state of existence rather than as a static order of things
    > > (religion).
    >
    > apparently people think god lives...therefore evolves
    >
    > > in this way perhaps the rhetoric around technology is even more
    > > disturbing than religious rhetoric because it allows for the
    > infinite
    > > expansion of capital.
    >
    > you should live in the bible belt...they fight about whether THEY are
    > the buckle of the belt
    >
    > > it is interesting to see the debates around biotechnology for
    > instance
    > > - many oppositional arguments focus on biotech disturbing god's
    > plan,
    > > whereas many scientific arguments for biotech center on a (supposed
    > > natural) progression of human's control (through technology of
    > course)
    > > of nature.
    >
    > the Hubble telescope has or should have upset many ideas about where
    > we
    > stand in the universe
    >
    > > both are essentialist positions but i am wondering which is better
    > or
    > > worse - in terms of reproducing the ideology of capitalism.
    > hmmmmm?
    >
    > money is god's reward
    >
    > Coming soon:
    > Art about the above, or
    > the KKK, or
    > the government.
    >
    > -=j
    >
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