[iDC] The Internet of hypocrisy (for Lucas)

Brian Holmes brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr
Wed Sep 20 15:58:42 EDT 2006

Isn't there a strong chance that the discussion of the 
Internet of Things is just an excuse not to talk about, 
think about, touch the things that aren't connected to any 
kind of profesional fetishization, any kind of academic 
bandwagon, any kind of corporate payoff for the shrinking of 
your self to a normalized and gadgetized ego-on-a-leash?

Ryan points to the discussion on the empyre list - there's a 
fascinating post there from Lucas Bambozzi, I copy it below.

Lucas agonizes at night after his telco-sponsored opening, 
wondering as to whether the mobile aesthetics to which he's 
devoting part of his time as an artist and a curator isn't 
just a cover for the mainstream offer of private-to-private 
communications sold as a lucrative commercial supplement, to 
be taken by the paying customer in small-screen doses in 
order to compensate for the public life and raw realities 
that you can't have in dangerous cities with wildly unequal 
class relations, like Sao Paulo, Lima or Johannesburg.

The question in itself seems to be its own answer. Which is 
also its integrity. But one can ask whether artists, 
intellectuals, and cultural operators in the more 
well-policed cities are not just using technological 
brain-candy to divert their attention from the absence of 
any perspective for a change in the things that matter?

Lucas, why bother? You're a brilliant guy. Why not go 
public? Why get hooked on these telcos? Careers become a 
habit. A habit becomes a habitus. It's something not just to 
think about. You've clearly thought it out.


 From Lucas:

Sent: September 16, 2006 9:01 AM
To: soft_skinned_space; soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] mobile media

one question about:

At 16:50 +0100 13/9/06, marc wrote:

Our mobile media may be a potential medium of 
re-distributing our selves as
monetary products, just by using it...

another question about:

At 10:04 +0100 12/9/06, Luis Silva wrote:
  are these two public spaces ontologically different, 
despite overlaping? Is this mobile media space truely a 
public space, or a new version of the concept of private 
sphere, but once again with no physical references?

Tonight was the opening of the third exhibition I curated 
[in three years], dealing with mobile media. Once again it 
was sponsored by a major mobile phone brand.

In my deepest honesty, sometimes I had the feeling that I 
was lying to myself when I was talking to the audience about 
the expressive qualities of this 'new medium'. In this and 
previous exhibitions, mobile technologies were used by 
artists in different ways: as a vehicle for short video 
pieces, as a dispositif for access to remote data (via 
Bluetooth), as a locative 'surveilled' device, as an 
interface bridging distant public and private spheres.

I usually talk about the need to face the small screens 
(they will be kept small for ages), about new possibilities 
of using micro media, about desirable networks to come, 
about a new concept of private sphere. I tend to say that 
going public might be good.

Such feeling leads me to think about how we get trapped by 
wireless utopias, as pointed by Armin Medosch in his 'Not 
Just Another Wireless Utopia - developing the social 
protocols of free networking'.
Mobile phones, wireless gadgets, online games, GPS, 
connected enabled PDA's and handhelds bring together the 
common aspiration to interface 'realities', not necessarily 
promoting any true participation or closer touch regarding 
the 'outside' space, in the sense pointed by Bauman in City 
of Fears, City of Hopes (2003). They attempt to introduce 
the notion that reaching distant and separated 'realities' - 
often in-between private spheres - is the same of sharing 
experiences in public domains.

In our current and euphemistically 'globalized' condition, 
no big city can escape from being immersed in the recent 
mediation tools provided by communication corporations. 
Slogans such as 'Live Without Borders' (Tim Brasil), 
'Connecting People' (Nokia), 'Solutions for a Small World' 
(IBM), bear promises of providing the feeling of 
participation in the 'outside' space. Far more than just 
selling communication tools, these slogans suggest
the access to new worlds, the immersion into new 
'realities', which inadvertently, come with representational 
artifices based on stereotypes and essentialisms that 
flattens and commodifies the actuality of whatever
'reality' it is being depicted.

In São Paulo, a significant number of its inhabitants live 
in sealed environments, protecting themselves from public 
spaces, street-level activities, or, a term commonly used in 
Portuguese, 'raw realities'. Networking activities are seen 
to be a solution for working and living in such a time 
consuming space as well as a model for sharing experiences 
in a supposedly protected public space - in comparison to 
the real city.

Mobile technology based environments, as well as our current 
representations of intimacy and privacy constitute today a 
sort of fabricated realities, which have been reshaped as 
mere discourses: they have been commodified by
the market as aesthetic values attached to technological 
products, and locked into a logic of technological interface 
as the only possible way for proximity and real time 

So the questions are: is it a typically cultural syndrome? - 
related to cities such as São Paulo, Lima, Johanesburg? how 
much is it a typically reactionary position to consider that 
  real life experiences must include 'physical references'?

Just wondering after a rushy and packed night opening.



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