[-empyre-] July on empyre: Screens
kravetto at ed.ac.uk
Sat Jul 7 05:21:18 EST 2012
> The interesting thing, to respond to Kriss, is to take a cue from the old modernist reductivism, and use the perspectival focus on the screen to lend a certain order to the apprehension of social relations. How are we individualized and how are we socialized around this ubiquitous medium of contemporary visuality?
Thank you for the question. I am with Foucault that the individual and the social are modernist categories. I am over-simplifying, so as not to get into any modernist discourse about language, modes of identification or bad history (whether over generalized or genealogical). These modes of producing meaning have not yet disappeared, but they are metaphors for previous modes of human understanding, whereas networks of communication, statistics, demographics, or information about genetic makeup are "more" contemporary means of understanding information / data. But these modes of accounting or counting don't seem to produce us a individuals or social groups as institutions once did. Besides these concepts (the individual and the social) seem to be outside of your historical model ("the cinema screen, the cathode ray tube, the plasma screen"). If we are to be talking about the complexity of politics, technology, communications, then through what medium did we create the individual or the social? The factory? The school, the Church? And if we are talking about, screens, screening, and forms of mediation, what type of social does social media produce? I noticed your website had a lot of images of Occupy, so I am assuming you are interested in something other than gamer blogs, facebook friends, following celebrities on twitter, or the large scale spectacle of commercialism projected onto urban space. But these are part of the politics of social media, which might be more about sensorium. This also leads us back to Winter's distinction between the unreal truth (the figurative, self, or social that stands out from the background) as opposed to the falsity of inclusion (as you said, getting lost in the endless details). But we still have to recognize a figure (or political position, concept of a social, or a self), this seems more difficult, given the fact that we can get lost in the details — but how are we defining the individual as defined by a detail rather than a generalization or a statistic? Or do we agree with Marin that maybe this distinction is collapsing (I think I would agree with Martin here). For instance, I could be completely wrong about what you were getting at, just because some algorithm placed your (I am assuming you) EGS page first, then wordpress page second, and third your wiki, and not your books, etc. Sites like the wiki provide me with details, and generalized arguments, linked to other details of arguments (words, people, institutions). I read you not as an individual but as a readable collection data and links. Does this projection of self (opinions, links, likes, dislikes) function like the projections you describe below?
> In Shanghai and other large Chinese cities, entire buildings turn into screens at night. It's mainly advertising, sometimes state propaganda. Self-consciousness is dwarfed as the sensorium is overcome by the power to program the visual experience of the city. An impressive and sobering experience of the screen.
If you are interested in the question of power to program which you are extending to programming experience, then how can you assume that Is there some pure self-consciousness unaffected by power (the programming of sensorium)?
> best, Brian
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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