What are we talking about? Who’s ‘we’ anyway?

New space

"What has happened with the Internet is that cultural dynamics that were at one time radical or subversive have been deracinated from their social and political contexts and most importantly, they have been removed from the public sphere where their social repercussions would be evident; instead, in the virtual domain they can be rehearsed ad infinitum with little effect"
Coco Fusco

Virtuality, fluidity, processability, networkability etc. etc. etc. There has been a lot of speculation about the potential of digital space to enable new forms of relating, and thus new forms of community, and thus new ways of being a person, and of choosing what one's personality will consist of.

For someone not of the West, it can appear that the more utopian of these speculations are entirely misguided, basing an uncritical ideal of omniscience and disembodiment on a set of physical circumstances that has everything to do with what kind of body the user possesses, and what specific cultural class they belong to. Futuristic fantasies of the machine age appear as an affront to present global realities of disenfranchisement, dispossession, hunger, war.

However, to be wary of the whole complex of ideas about the cyber-super-hyper-meta Brave New World does not necessarily lead to rejecting the promise of those ideas. Digital space, with it's hybrid opportunistic connectivity, remains an important site for real-world action, and for fantastic dreaming, and for the hope of different outcomes.

back next