Reflections on Screen Culture with help from
Holly Herndon, Akihiko Taniguchi, and Whitehead
a follow-up to:
The idea that the environment consists of trees but not laptops, visually perceived rivers but not desktop images of rivers, is an illusion. For increasing numbers of people in the world the primary "environment" for much of the day is the screen. The screens are obviously physical. But it is interesting to ask about the ontological status of images on the screens. In Whitehead's philosophy they are propositions or lures for feeling. They are among the many that are becoming one in our physical experience: our experience in the mode of causal efficacy. These lures are part of the environment, too. They include the sounds that come from our screens as well as the pictures. All are propositions. They can be attractive or repulsive, instructive or deceptive. Our creativity lies in what we do with them, and their creativity lies in what they do with us. Some can function in quite healthy ways, indeed spiritual ways, opening us to experiences of awe, wonder, courage, playfulness, compassion, and creativity. When they function in this way they are virtual mentors. But the important point is that they are part of the environment and, for that matter, part of our personal workspace.
Director : Akihiko Taniguchi
Producer : Mat Dryhurst
Big Thanks To : Matt Werth, Bill Kouligas, and Ge Wang & CCRMA.
Desktop Photos Taken By : Akito Teraoka, Ayaka Sanuki, Carios, dxjonson.com, Felix Kiessling, Gabin Ito, Genki Ota, Hal Kawashima, Haruka Yamaguchi, Hirofumi Nakamoto, Hiroki Ito, Hirozumi Takeda, icol, iimio, Jaehun Kim, Katsuki Nogami, Kazuhiro Yamashita, Kazuma Harada, Kenichi Kuraoka, Koichiro Mori, Kosuke Nagata, Kota Ishii, Masanori Mizuno, Mitsuru Tokisato, Motono Mokuami, Naoki Mizobe, Nobuaki Doi, Noriaki Ikeda, Okazu, Renki Yamasaki, Ryoya Usuha, Shigaramint, Shikakun, Shion Yano, Shunsuke kamiya, So Yamada, swap tv, Syunya Hagiwara, Tadahi, Taichi Sunayama, Takanobu Inafuku, Tetsuya Tsukada, Tokyo 29-year-old man, yang02, Yoshiaki Fujimori, Yu Miyakoshi, Yuki Hata, and Yusuke Suga.
Process Philosophy and the Loss of Privacy
Those of us in the process philosophy community believe that at every moment of our lives the many of the universe (past actual world) are becoming one, consciously and unconsciously, in the immediacy of the moment. For us this belief is true and also interesting. It invites us to think of everything as connected and thus dispels the illusion of the Cartesian ego.
But this feeling of "interconnectedness" can be associated with an illusion, namely that our experience is truly private. The obverse side of the process of concrescence is what Whitehead calls the objective immortality of subjectivity in what succeeds it. The many become one and then the one becomes part of the many. Prior to the digital age, this could be fairly innocent. But now it means that everything "personal" is also public in a politically questionable way. Our most personal of experiences "become one" in others.
In our digital age, the many that become one in our allegedly private experience include screens and their contents, which replicate objects in the physical world and conversations in the mental world. We may think that, in their being gathered into the subjective unity of our experience, they are somehow private. But in truth they are part of the concrescences of many, many others who learn about us through them, sometimes by spying on us. Privacy is never pure or complete, except in silence, and even then, at some level, it is shared. Absence is a form of presence, too. Everything is noted.
In any case, this loss of privacy can be, in its own way, quite beautiful. Enjoy Holly Herndon's Chorus and let yourself be delightfully troubled.
Holly Herndon: "So much of Chorus was constructed by spying on my own online habits. It felt fitting to invite Akihiko, who I had been spying on online for a long time before my approach, to contribute the visual treatment of the piece."