WEEK ELEVEN

Hauntology Blog

The concepts of the course have asked us to engage with notions of transversality pervading every facet of our lives. With the use of newer technologies the lines between us, them, reality and the virtual are forever being redrawn; where once those lines were made of steel they are now fashioned from jelly, ever moveable, lightweight, compact and sometimes invisible. As if the barriers between media, culture and society were once a solid physical they are now dotted and virtual. Perhaps they don’t really exist.

When we’re looking at the course concepts it is evident that they paint a picture of what is a possible future for humans, society and technologies and how they intersect. On a whole range of subjects technology plays a part in developing ways we can remain the same as well as excel and multiply. I’ve often thought about how our future will look, how technology will supplement our existence in the advancing electronic age, “digital technologies often become an essential prosthetic for an idea about form-making.” (Easterling, 2011)

In my personal life i think about the future constantly, mostly about what I’m going to do with mine.  Which is the right path? There are a few possibilities. Career seems like such a secondary and wasteful option to devote myself to. For me, being a women, i have to think about family or kids rather. When is a good time to have them? How long can i really wait? Do i want kids? Yes, but a husband I’m not so keen on.

There’s my first problem right there. Virtual husband perhaps?… comes with an off switch and mute button? I think i’m onto something. “Ubiquitous computing is defined as “machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs.” (York, 2004)

“The logical progression from that paradigm is a system where that networking logic becomes applicable in every realm of daily activity, in every location and every context.” (Castell, 1996)

But determining any exact kind of technology based future is impossible. If you consider the movie classic, ‘Back to the Future,’ with Michael J Fox and the iconic ‘hover board,’ which should have be invented in 2 years and to that effect i should be flying my car to work then as well. My point is there is no way to tell where advances in technology will lead us, or how fast or in what direction. In 1985 flying cars may have seemed possible but i think you’ll agree that electronics and mechanics have moved along a very different route.

I had a very naive assumption when i began studying that i would learn something; historically and culturally significant things would occupy my brain and i would somehow acquire ‘intelligence.’ Yet i have discovered two major things during the course of my study. The first was that, Labels are so limiting and the second was that knowledge is not knowing.

Christopher Alexander talks about the tree layout of urban architecture, “Authority always generates a tree and therefore, in his terms, an “artificial” city.” What he means is a branching type structure where each arm and leaf are disconnected from each other and don’t contain overlapping sets. We have talked about networks extensively but i think what’s important here is the idea of overlapping technologies, the sphere type structure of reality, virtual, culture, media and technology. And how they work together to create workable environments to keep up with the pace of modern life.

Alexander explains it well, “For example, in Berkeley at the corner of Hearst and Euclid, there is a drugstore, and outside the drugstore a traffic light. In the entrance to the drugstore there is a newsrack where the day’s papers are displayed. When the light is red, people who are waiting to cross the street stand idly by the light; and since they have nothing to do, they look at the papers displayed on the newsrack which they can see from where they stand. Some of them just read the headlines, others actually buy a paper while they wait. This effect makes the newsrack and the traffic light interactive.”

I promised myself i’d keep up with the new medias because my mum annoyed me, I was not going to be one of those old people who cannot use the latest gadget. Who struggled to wrap my head around texting because i had underestimated its importance in our culture.

Refs:

Castells, M. (1996) ‘The Rise of the Network Society,’ The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Easterling, K. (2011) ‘An Internet of Things’, e-flux journal, Available: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/an-internet-of-things/

York, J, Pendharkar, P. (2004) “Human–computer interaction issues for mobile computing in a variable work context”, Int. J. Human-Computer Studies 60.

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