Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
Exactly two years ago today, I was messing about in Team Lab’s Future World Exhibition at the Art Science Museum in Singapore. We’d spent the morning eating our way around the Hawker Markets and I’d drank loads of weird Sodas. We met Honour for a coffee and caught up. It was lovely to chat, then we checked out the exhibition. Its amazing.
It seems way longer ago than 2019 – like another lifetime.
Back in October I wrote up a week of the US election news in the style of a TV entertainment section review. I thought about doing the same for this week. But in all honestly, I couldn’t be bothered. What played out on our screens this week was obvious as an ‘End Of America’ plot line back in October.
It’s so strange how it played out on our screens, in the media, via the internet.
9 years ago I tweeted this:
Back then, following a protest via shonky livestream from a citizen journalist felt wild and new. It was the disintermediation of media, direct broadcast to consumer we had all been told was what social media had to offer. The most pure kind of reality TV. But it was also – surreal.
A vicarious experience that bordered on macabre theatre. I’ve become more desensitised to livestream footage of protests, but the unreality has only grown.
There is a reason why so many people now pull out their phones and capture/experience/watch an ongoing event though a magic glowing window. Instead of just looking at what is happening in front of them with their eyes. As well as writing about an experience after the fact, using words on a page.
The experience is midmosted by technologies. This applies to concerts, riots, as well as sunsets.
I have been as guilty of this kind of behaviour as the next person at varying degrees of intensity throughout my life. Even before the smartphone was I was stealing souls and experiencing live shows via a camera lens, rather than watching and appreciating it in the moment.
A newsletter I read about the events of this week had a passage about what happens when you try to describe a/your ‘reality’ on the internet to someone IRL.
The reporter asks who he’s talking about. Who is the “they” he’s referring to.
“Who? I don’t — police? Congressmen and women? They don’t care. They think we’re a joke. $2000 checks were a joke to them. There’s people filming us, laughing at us as we march down the street,” he stammers.
It may sound strange, but it reminds me of conversations I had 10 years ago with people who would reference memes out loud in a conversation. They’d get halfway through describing a rage comic before realizing it wasn’t funny and sort of awkward. Things that make sense on the internet, when spoken out loud, slip away from you as if you were trying to recall a dream.
Speaking about the internet in the IRL is like a dream. That last line above is going in to a quote/slide deck. It’s hugely important.
The internet is full of phantasms, mirages and hallucinations. Which is exactly how Artaud described the Virtual Reality of the stage in 1938.
Throughout the 2010’s I never really disagreed with the cyborgology crew RE Digital dualism. But I’ve aways thought that online is like a dream-like-space which is why that quote has influenced me so much. Just as you are you but different in a dream, you are you but different on the internet.
Cade Diehm recently suggested that the Metaverse be called the ‘Para Real’.
Since hearing the term, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Perhaps if we all just acknowledge that everyone have always lived their lives across and inside multiple Para-Realities we’d all be in a better place. A theory of the internet as a first step, and then move on to the other ways of knowing and understanding. I think this is key to the the wider metaphysical project of in the 21C.
Gonna think about this some more.
BACK WITH SEAOSN 4
When people say: ‘When things get back to normal again’
What I hear is: ‘When the future feels further away’
The Ministry Of My Own Labour
I’ve been really busy this week, consolidating work from the end of last year, and turning my mind towards some concrete things I’d like to get done in 2021.
Up on deck next week:
- Reading 5 pre-print papers and writing a solarpunk-esq response to them for an academic publication.
- Reading plan for the huge book stack I have on virtual worlds for a new project to be announced soon.
- Lots of calls.
Dipping the Stacks
I’m reading Reimagining Our Tomorrows: Making Sure Your Future Doesn’t SUCK by Joe Tankersley finally after buying it on ebay after we shared a zoom room late last year. It’s really good so far.
yeule – My Name is Nat Ćmiel
This is the lead track from yeule’s new album Glitch Princess. Due out sometime this year.
Her 2019 offering Serotonin II came out in 2019 is a spacey album with much melodic.
This track is really intriguing, I’m looking forward to this release and hearing more from this artist in 2021.