In the media saturated landscape of the 21st century global information culture, it seems that we as humans are losing ground to the FORCE of the attraction of our data, our communications, our screens. The problem is simple: information is seductive, pervasive, and all consuming: and our inability to disconnect is perhaps the great CRISIS of our time. What is this compulsion? It is the need for more and more and more digital information to the extreme where it eclipses our interest in the events swirling around us in the cold reality of our everyday, physical lives.
In the above works by Nicolas Maigret and Michael Borras aka Systaime, who both presented yesterday for my panel The Sensoriality of the Third Space (along with Roger Mills), their work invokes this assault on our sensory mechanisms, with a rapid fire rhythmic intensity that emulates and amplifies the sensation of an all consuming media intake. It is as though the infusion of images cannot be received and digested fast enough. Our desire for more is an ever-expanding accelerando of information that has no limit, no threshold, no safety valve. Media inhalation has become like the air we breath, without it, we suffocate and gasp for more. We see this predicament in our increasing inability to detach ourselves from our screens, our mobile devices, our messaging, our daily information quota: all to the expense of engaging with the face-to-face moments taking place right in front of our eyes and ears. The sensoriality of the third space, in this sense, is the need – no let us say the addiction – for consuming abundant doses of words and images and sounds culled from the ever-present space of our screens: windows into the third space of always-on resources and connections available 24/7 via the Network.
So what is the antidote to this dire predicament you might be asking? Is it a retreat to the coastal wilds of Big Sur, California, far from an Internet connection let alone cellular reception? Probably not, unless you are ready to make that beatific escape a permanent reality. Inevitably, we return to the SOURCE of information and networked relations if we want to be a participant of the world. Which means, alas, there is no retreat from MEDIA CTL, no real cure for the seduction of the screen, no actual escape from the desire for more, except perhaps, to be cognizant, self-aware, reflective, and determined enough to look up from that screen, to set your gaze beyond it, to see what is right in front of you, to think for a brief moment without the stimulae of the network, no matter how hard that may be.
Because life itself is moving faster, and still faster, all while you are embedded in the frenzy of those dazzling pixels.