and so too...technology is the new opiate of the masses...
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
> 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.
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