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“All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.” I think it’s a general consensus that there’s a lot wrong with modern day living in the capitalist framework and that technology is a part of this narrative. Social media is seen to sever genuine connection between human beings, TV brainwashes us, we filter our entire lives through the internet and spend the majority of our time either on or thinking about our laptops. In fact, my laptop is probably the most important thing I own – it stores memories (e.g. photos, writing, creative projects), it connects me to other human beings via skype or Facebook, and it gives me every piece of information I need to survive in the urban jungle – directions, instructions, and just general entertainment. But if we construe it differently – dependency on a given object or person isn’t intrinsically bad. As conscious human beings we’re designed to rely on others and to use tools. Mediating oneself via Facebook may seem disingenuous, but ultimately a wholly TRUE representation of your life or who you are as a person doesn’t exist. Of course we develop distinctive character traits and patterns of behavior, but who you are is also constantly in flux dependent on where you are in your life, your mood and how other people interpret or pick up on that. Though Facebook undoubtedly amplifies it, ego is a part of human existence and our behavior is always destined to be performative to at least some extent – that is both the curse and the blessing of the being-for-itself. The same applies to memory – my laptop, Facebook, email, blog and Tumblr store a lot of things I want to remember. Whether it be a specific quote, photo or article, or just items of general interest that I might want to come back to. But human beings have always stored memories in one way or another – whether through photos, writing or totems.

It’s another impulse that is fundamental and technology aids us in this pursuit. On the other hand, it can be hard to maintain a balanced approach to these mediums e.g. checking Facebook more than ten times a day, thinking about getting back home to the security of your laptop instead of really being in and enjoying the moment. You have to watch yourself because it can easily start to become unhealthy. Checking my various internet channels – Facebook, blogs, Tumblr, email – it becomes a kind of frenzy. Trying to find security, connectivity and a sense of self in the momentary buzz that a new notification provides. The same applies to Tumblr – the site often contains beautiful images, but they are endless and disconnected, nothing like being in the moment of a thing and experiencing it viscerally and through all your senses. As Robert Frank states, “There are too many images, too many cameras now. We’re all being watched. It gets sillier and sillier. As if all action is meaningful. Nothing is really all that special. It’s just life. If all moments are recorded, then nothing is beautiful...” So too, their danger is in their pace. Communication today is so much faster than even a few years ago, given you can be connected to anyone, anywhere, any time. It’s harder to disconnect, as well as to remember the importance of personal interaction – actually talking to people on the phone, or seeing people face to face. Nothing can replace that. But still, it does facilitate connection – whether it be via events on Facebook or in establishing an international network of friends and professional contacts. In other words, recognize technology for what it is - a useful tool that can do harm as well as good, dependent on how you use it. Though it can lend itself to addiction and negative effects, your problems won’t be solved by abandoning it entirely. But neither will it give you all your answers

Kari Schmidt


Swimming through pools, we are swallowed by words of consummation and flashing colours. Locked the in the matrix, I am not real and neither are you. We exist only in pictures taken one second at a time. Our processors are dying from r s i. I am dying from r s i, like a dog, I’m lying with my head at his feet, asking to die and die and die again for the rest of forever. Let me rest. Let me rest inside the galaxy of freckles on his back, that spasms away from the coldest touch, and returns to me despite my coldness. I couldn’t breathe under the weight of all the information only one moment away until i learned i could breathe through the guilt. Just breathe through the guilt, everything lumped into the ‘too-hard-do it tomorrow’ basket, like global warming and wars and being privileged and not giving people things they need and fucking #Rwanda #Iran #Egypt #arctic #whatihadforlunchlol, starving children in Africa and companies ruining ecosystems and peoples lives and every other awful thing that ever existed and/or ever will. But i just can’t i just can’t i just can’t think about it right now i’m playing neopets.

Piupiu-Maya Turei

Holly Paynter

The greatest influence that the internet’s had on my life? I’ve realised I’m not special. Every time I tune myself into the internet, I find thousands upon thousands of creative practitioners, aspiring or otherwise, working away all over the planet, and the enormity of it, the vastness, really emphasises, once again – in case I had forgotten – the sheer impossibility of competing to be heard in a global attention economy. Everything has already been said. Having spent the majority of my formative years on the internet, one realises just how much has been written, how much has been made, how much has been recorded. Already on Youtube there is more video footage than can be watched in the lifespan of a sports team’s worth of humans. Therefore, in this relatively newfound abundance of information, of consumable data, it becomes apparent that the world is full of texts, more or less interesting. There is no need to add any more. Instead, with an unprecedented amount of avaliable text, our problem is not needing to write more; instead, we must learn to navigate the vast quantity that exists. How we make our way through this thicket of information – how we manage it, parse it, organise and distribute it – is what distinguishes one’s writing from that of any other human. I was writing this at the pub, actually. A slightly drunk man came along. He asked if he could sit at my table. I said yes of course, and he asked me what I was writing about. When I gave him a brief rundown, he said “Oh, you’re not going to write about how everyone else is writing about how there’s nothing to write about? Cause it’s been done.” I replied that I hadn’t given it much thought at this point. He pressed on and asked whether I knew that according to Judith Butler every utterance is a citation? I said yes I knew that already. He said, Language is only ever a rearrangement of forms, coalescing into transmissions of information, which are never noise-free. I said, yes I agree but don’t you know that Language itself is not owned. Though our rewrites and insights

sometimes have the imaginative penetration of lightning, and though we often call those works and ideas “original,” a possessiveness about our own words has at least three negative consequences: it obstructs unparanoid ideational intercourse, clogs our minds as we strive to delineate the static nature of a particular idea we call “ours,” and is false to the circumstances of knowing. He said, Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? “I love you” is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them. At this point I got up and departed, because neither of us had anything left to say.

(content generated from kenneth goldsmith, lisa samuels, jeanette winterson)

Matilda Fraser

Sam Allen

“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” What happens to ceremonies when, instead of being attended, they are delivered to us on a screen, in a flash of photographs and status updates? What is our relationship to ceremonies or life events when they are sprawled across Facebook? Are we virtual participants? Social media networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook are inherently designed to keep people ‘in touch’ and indeed the Internet allows us to view any number of life events in someone’s life, even in single phrases. For example, Joe Bloggs went from being ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’. It’s strange that receiving a like or a comment on Facebook can spread the message of a life event or a mere momentary thought to mutual friends’ friends. Yet it is simultaneously inviting interactivity, so that one almost feels like they are participants in a person’s current state of mind or significant moment within their life by engaging with them across cyberspace. But can one establish a communality of celebration or acknowledgement when we are physically separated from the event? In our time the Internet has become the dominant form of ‘publicness’. We are now witnessingthe replacement of the tradition or rather theatricality of ceremony and the meeting of ‘players’in a space (i.e. a church) in favour of a new mode of publicness based on the separation between performers and audience, or the rhetoric of narrative, rather than the virtue of contact. Recently two mutual friends of mine on Facebook got married overseas and created a live broadcast of the occasion in order to share this news with loved ones back in New Zealand. (Obviously these mutual friends intended only to share such news with family and friends, albeit through Facebook. I thought it was rather cute. ) Broadcasting a ceremony such as marriage merely represents the occasion, and therefore turns it into a spectacle. Any form of documentation from an event does not represent the actual event itself, but rather the spectacle of the event.

I noticed a number of other more ‘famous’ weddings such as the Royal wedding and Kim Kardashian’s ridiculous wedding to Kris Humphries both of which have occurred within the last two years and are all embedded with similar characteristics. To broadcast a ceremony is obviously designed to illicit interactivity. In the sense that those who are watching such an event feel that they are intrinsically part of the ceremony, despite being physically removed from the event. The royal wedding seemed designed to inspire loyalty to the monarchy, by boosting the British royal family’s popularity through the pageantry of marriage. Within days after the wedding, Kate Middleton’s dress was mass reproduced, as she represented the continuation of the tradition which requires a young bride to distribute to the brides-to-be and unmarried ‘maids’ fragments of what she wore, thereby distributing the ‘aura’ which inhabited her on her wedding day (2). Now any bride to be in Britain can buy a replica of the Kate Middleton’s dress and feel like a ‘princess’. The point of such a viral broadcast across both television and the Internet was an attempt to deny that there was any distinction between the celebration in London and the audiences receiving it. It was an attempt to ignore the transformation of this celebration into a spectacle. A spectacle of a ceremony is not a true ceremony. By the mere fact that a spectacle does not register the immediacy nor the aura or feeling associative to being physically present at the event. The spectacle is the representation of the event, which was then globally broadcast. I recently attempted to produce two performances in which I sought to question the validity of the Internet as a performance space. Performance is one of the only art mediums in which the documentation from an event does not register the actual ‘event’ or ceremony. I performed a series of actions based on both repetition and the mundane dreariness of domestic life, as a personal coping strategy. I then broadcast these on the Internet with mixed results. Both performances were seen by very few people, due to the streaming site being extremely difficult to use and incredibly glitchy. Upon learning the difficulty to view the work I quickly rendered it into a video and placed it on youtube. In doing so, I answered my question of whether the internet is a valid space for performance, it isn’t really

(in my experience), but it does probe the question as to whether having regular access to both television and the internet enables one to virtually participate in an event by merely watching. I performed these actions in front of only one other person. Does this mean that only that person truly participated in the event and that the video I placed on youtube is just a mere representation of that work, because the works ‘aura’ exists only in the physical presence of another person? This is the common thread connecting each of the weddings I discussed earlier. Is participation in such events possible?

1 Walter Benjamin, “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, in Mass Media and Society, ed. Gurevitch, Curran and Woolacott (Beverly Hills, calif.: Sage, 1978) 2 Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz, “Electronic ceremonies: television performs a royal wedding”, in Un signs: a semiotics reader, ed. Marshall Blonsky (Oxford, UL.: Oxford Publishing services, 1985), 30.

Hana Aoake

Editor: Hana Aoake Design: Alessandra Banal Subeditor: Amber Black Cover: Fraser Chatham Words: Kari Schmidt Piupiu Maya Turei Matilda Fraser Hana Aoake Work: Alessandra Banal Ducklington Monster Holly Paynter Sam Allen Thanks: Michael McClelland Oliver Johnston Miriama Aoake

Dreary Modern Life  

Dreary Modern life issue one

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