by Beauchamp Art
The threat of the overload takes us hostage, so we hand over our money, and with social media, draw our peers into the trap Slowly developing a Stockholm Syndrome sympathy for our captives. We Justify their actions and our acceptance to cope. We become dependant, addicts, as the fear of isolation and the speed of information; ‘the weapons of communication’, ‘manufactured consent’, and popular propaganda feed a paranoid self fulfilling prophecy.
Thus we internalise the Panopticon, becoming our own Big Brother, forming an international neighbourhood watch of twitch curtains in the ‘Global Village of Babylon.’ We post our routine photos, our banal updates, we adhere to the ‘spiral of silence’, speaking in frequent brief inconsequential hypertext statements.
Through our Facebook, Instagram and microblogs; 140 characters of twitter fame. This mode of communication is everyday. We feed the Feed. We are the overload, but we are not in control. Media tools make tools of us, turn our dehumanised meta-data into a third-party portrait that exists as a product to be sold to marketers an governments to track their citizens; and to the people to find more of the same, to keep them exclusively exposed to the familiar. ‘Tame the bewildered herd’, using socialised propaganda.
We make ourselves sluggish through our gluttonous data consumption, fattened by Mediators that filter overload to only benign content, nothing provocative. Spectacle can only be used to create apathy, frustration at the inability to actively engage, condemned to passive involvement and minor interaction. We give the responsibility to act to someone else, to private firms and government agencies. So long as we can keep up appearances, inanely babbling in merry innocence.
“Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.” [The Network, 1976]
Letting life pass by. Lobotomised and paraplegic, just mouths to consume and chatter, like William Burroughs’ talking asshole (constipated), or an infant; slowly drowning in its own waste, with mother Media their to keep us living, as a profitable ‘life as habit’, without benevolence. Hence it is crucial to criticise what we consume: why it is being fed to us, who it benefits, who is paying for it, and why such a glut. Or we may become sub-human machines to be exploited.
Developments in communication technologies has meant that we have more power to share our knowledge and make more faces familiar to expand our community, and create greater unity of understand amongst the peoples of the world. To cope with this extended reach, filters were developed with each new technology, (limitations; planned obsolescences) and so they became socially conditioned media, responding to the needs and desires of the people.
The internet is or latest great feat of communication, allowing anyone to speak seemingly face-to-face with any other person in the world instantly, resolving Plato’s dilemma of the written word being second to dialogue, allowing for the international exchange of knowledge, not just information. Even more so than the telephone (limited to the voice) or the television (only fit for one-to-many broadcast to audience, not discourse), the net enable live video streaming, communal discussion forums, unfixed by the limitations of linear time, letting users experience both past and present exchanges simultaneously, connected to a vast network of information, which is slowly being mapped and organised as it exponentially expands.
Google states is aim is to ‘organise the worlds’s information’, not limited to online content, with it only rule being to ‘do no evil’, a statement broad enough to be malleable, and linking to a binary moralistic system that lacks pragmatics.Using extreme simplification typical of the need to keep up with the modern hyper-speed.
What is good and evil when ‘God is dead’, profit, private power reign and Utilitarian ethics? The hierarch transforms from the broadcasting high priest to the re-writers of malleable bible, popularly distributed. From Constantine to Murdoch. The king is dead, long live the king. The power given to the great Mediators is potentially absolute. It seems fair to question the fowl of the information overload in the everyday interactions through social media, as cyberspace is not simply new territory, but an extension of existing communities. Digital environments do not parallel reality, they are interwoven. The virtual, optical landscapes of the screen are insuperable form the haptic interfaces through which they are engaged.
‘The virtual is always embodied in physical space’, in hardware and electronic devices, and in the social dynamic of the individual, and their interaction with the world around them, the figurative photograph is only familiar because it represents a person or form that can be related to in a physical, social and phenomenological (neuro-chemical) experience. The interaction is human.
Any damming of this process is tantamount to dehumanisation, so must be queried, and responded to through critical discourse, artistic response, and direct; politicised action.
A deconstruction of the process of mediation and manipulation must be undertaken to understand the motives and means of control, with the potential to instigate social change.
[Text to be incorporated into dissertation; written between 2-3 am on a mobile phone using a keypad with predictive text.]
The Network. (1976) [Film] Dir: Lumet, Sidney. Writ: Chayefsky, Paddy. Prod: Gottfried, Howard; Caruso, Fred C. Ontario, Canada / NY USA. Cited from IMDB [Online] <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu> Accessed 3.4.2015