Response #5 – Steven Lourenco

The Wipers – Is This Real?

Looking forward, away from Web 2.0, we must ask ourselves. Is this real? The Wipers were asking it. Is it all a dream? There seemed to be this legitimate escape from the formalities and pesky social/political/geographic divisions imprinted by the material world. Young dreamers in the West were exploring uncharted territory, outside of their bodies and in the third eye. All the while, the money movers were looking on from the physical world, waiting for the proper moment to pounce on the technologies that were being fortified by the real adventurers. Mergers were made, the young were chained to their laptops, and as the efficiency and ease of social mediums and online marketplaces strengthened, the openness of Web 2.0 seemed become confined.

I experience the internet now as this shiny, chrome horse, flying through our neighbourhoods and homes and heads with flaming nostrils and thunderous hooves. It seems too perfect to go anywhere else. I can ride it freely with a saddle that seems custom-made. It’s so strong, clean, and perfectly outfitted to accommodate my desires. I feel like every button is there and every border and padding and hover colour, and underscore and favicon and logo is in it’s most pristine condition. I can present myself with the most ease and receive my “Likes” in a straight-forward, expected way. How could I feel any more welcome? How could I feel any more empowered?

chrome_Horse

“LIFE IS A HIGGGGGHWAYUYYYYY, I WANNNNAA RIIIDE IT…”

I feel like in an ideal world, the current advantages of our open-style format of ease of browsing and sharing; downloading and uploading; would stick around. However, I imagine this would almost happen immediately, with multiple actions occurring simultaneously. These thing are already happening with introductions of computing applications such as “The Cloud” (or “Fog). But  we still seem to have a sort of ownership over our content, that we are contributing to something and that we’re doing something meaningful. There seem to be invisible walls but like my phone can tell the ALL SEEING EYES where I am, and the people providing my service can drink up all my info with the most ease. So do I really have control over our content and the ways in which it is viewed by friends, family, strangers? The mere fact that something basically doesn’t belong to us once we upload, that it ends up on some server somewhere in a massive underground warehouse, is that not freaky? With all of the legislation that’s being put into place to control the internet; or the endless debates in “serious” political forums about the state of how much internet we get or what we get to use/see; or Ted Stevens; the power is being recognized. The power of it all and the power struggles therein have been manifested in our daily lives. The regular characters we allow to sort out all of our other shit, have recognized its power and are saddling that horse. I’m sitting with my friend who says: “Shit, they’re probably gonna talk about us using Facebook and like @fuckjerry’s Instagram in university lectures in the future.” And it’s gonna be this like weird pedestal. I don’t know if its gonna be called the Golden Era or the Dark Net Years or something, but this transitionary period will be remembered. We’re trying to wrangle this whole experience because we’ve been given so much so fast and we’re like: “whoa slow down”. Everything will probably get shinier and prettier, but it’ll all be held in a tight grip. I guess I would liken it to the legalization of weed, in a way. Even though its great that people will have access to the medical and other benefits of weed, the sameness and not to mention expense of regulation will take away the nuance, intrigue, adventure, and mythos.

(My browser is doing this thing where it won’t let me “right-click” and save a picture of Ted Stevens from GOOGLE, so just imagine a picture of Ted Stevens with a furrowed brow and mouth half open with a tag-line reading: “The internet is a series of tubes…”…….GOOGLE appeasing the overlords!)

What Lovink really gets into with the study of social and cultural climates in regards to our actions online is how we are often acting in response, in conflict, in juxtaposition, or parallel to the medium. We inundate the forums and chats and statuses with our opinions and I don’t think this is a new thing. I think this free-speech attitude comes with a willingness to understand, and through this understanding, sustain ourselves and survive. But where to we designate who is the authority on these issues. With mainstream media, we often see ourselves as the other; us v. them. But we’re kind of all mixed up here in this limbo, dancing around. Do we identify ourselves in relation to the free-ness of this whole thing? Are we evolving along a new strain somehow? As a culture, do we strengthen and prepare ourselves for a confrontation? Who is the internet? It is us right? If the artificial brain is smarter than a brain, are we at its whim? I don’t know if cultures can operate and grow with that sort of pressure. That’s a huge hinderance on our progress. We kind of exist in this setting where the environment is growing all around us and we’re so pleased by its appearance that we don’t really grow personally, we just acquire all of this baggage, and frankly, I don’t know what to do with any of it.

 

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