[iDC] The Participatory Challenge
jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Thu Jul 6 17:52:57 EDT 2006
>I think that at this point we should not be naive how new and emerging
>technologies have a huge liberating potential. The neo-liberal capitalism is
>quite aware how an investment in technology is a tiny cost for all the
>information they can collect with the help of it. In a virtual community you
>can hide to other participants using another name or profile, but you cannot
>escape the big corporations who, based on your digital footprints you leave
>each time you use the www know you better than you know yourself.
I couldn't agree with you more Ksenija. And to add a couple
additional points about 'liberation' -- What about the complete and
utter linkage that operating a computer (wifi or hardwired makes no
difference) into national / hyper-national systems of consumption --
the primary being the generation and re-distribution of energy in the
form of electricity. While some hail battery / wireless-ness as an
awesome release, it does nothing to release us from anything -- it
simply creates an illusion of and perhaps absolute appearance of
distance from the social structure -- distance which is erroneously
translated into "avant" or "radical" praxis base.
Of course, one can say, oh, but I use a portable solar panel to
charge my wifi batteries -- but those devices, aside from being
extremely toxic to produce, are completely tied into that energy
system on the production side, at least.
All these things lock us into relationship with a huge social
infrastructure that is as centralized and dominant as any previous
form of governance, one which demands
I can give another personal story -- one year ago I had a very bad
accident while visiting my mother's house in Arizona. I had
shattered a vertebra in my back. Aside from the fact that
coincidentally the motherboard on my laptop had just the day before
crashed as well, the network was of basically no use. The many
friends, colleagues, collaborators which I have woven into my
personal network over the years across many countries and other
borders may well have been on the moon. I was fortunate that my
sister lived nearby and nursed me back to health for a couple months
after radical surgical intervention. A month later, when I could
even manage to look at my computer, it was nice to receive 'get well
cards' and other demonstrations of empathy, which gave me hope in the
many months of rehabilitation, but not more than that...
The Internet is great as a tool for increasing ones interdependence
on a greater socialized system that characterizes this period of
When the power fails, that interdependence is of little-to-no value.
Only full and continuous 'cooperation' with that greater system
insures the production of value within the network as well as one's
continued 'privilege' of participating...
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