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Category Archives: Jane’a’s section

“Heterotopias are most often linked to slices in time-which is to say that they open onto what might be termed, for the sake of symmetry, heterochronies. (Foucault 26).”

I wonder at the change of time that certain modes of engaging online has produced, where the browsing of newsfeeds or the reading of an article has become that much faster. Are websites that are static much like the museums that accumulate in time? Much like the Space Jame website that has not changed much since its conception, to the Tumblr-like scrolling that constantly updates, where no moment is really the same (if you follow enough people, that is). How do these spaces function in the grand scheme of the internet as heterotopia? Are they heterotopic themselves? How far can the heterotopic idea subdivide?

“We are being buried in our  own product. Tons of printed material are dumped out every week. In this  are thoughts, certainly not often as great as Mendel’s, but important to our progress. Many of them become lost; many others are repeated over and over and over.” – Vannevar Bush

It’s interesting to note the correlation between cancellation/deletion and invisibility. In the reading by Cornelia Vissman, “Out of File, Out of Mind,” she goes into long lengths describing the efforts through history of erasure or editing. However, as noted by Vanneva Bush, sometimes the rate of production, especially the mass the encircles us today, prevents us from even knowing something exists. In addition, in terms of Facebook, the site uses invisibility as a form of cancellation or deletion. If one isn’t seen then no one will go in search of them.

“For example, in the crisis of the hospital as environment of enclosure, neighborhood clinics, hospices, and day care could at first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control that are equal to the harshest of confinements. There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” (Deleuze, 3)

I think this passage is really apt in not letting ourselves fall into the ideals of a constant or perfect society, where if we can only figure out the best combination to bring something into existence, all our problems would be solved. There is a very soft line separating the function of a hospital as one that provides care and sanctuary from its crisis state of quarantine measures or delivery of life or death. Through this, I realize that everything is in a constant state of flux and must be consistently questioned and pushed for our notions of equality or freedom to truly exist.

Going through these readings retrospectively, I can’t help but be reminded of what Wendy had left us at the last lecture, where she mentioned the desire we have to try and separate exposure and participation, and in her words, “as if that’s possible.” This is clearly seen in the way DREAMers have rallied against the treatment of undocumented immigrants and the unspoken pressure to stay invisible and faceless for their own “protection.” Looking at the way DREAMers have engaged on social media, from their Youtube series “Undocumented and Awkward” to the Facebook group UndocuQueers, their refusal to be silent push the limits of notions of citizenship and the change social media can engender. As noted by Beltrán, “Using social media to name themselves publicly as undocumented makes activists vulnerable to an increased risk of detention or even deportation for themselves and their families,” but “to be silent and faceless only enables conditions of exploitation and violence” (Beltrán 82-83).

On this week’s reading of Terranova’s “Free Labor,” I am caught on how the idea of free labor is free not because one is not paid, but because one loves it. Something that immediately came to mind is the work of scanlation teams, who scan, translate, and edit comics (majority Japanese) into another language. It is a time-consuming task, when one realizes how much energy is required to not only have fitting translations for the cultural shift from one language to the next, but also the maintenance of an enjoyable reading experience through photoshopping badly scanned pages or even going as far to replace sound effects. Originally, these works of love were spread through the individual channels of the groups, whether through online reading services specific to them or downloading of zip files. However, the surge of manga reading websites has changed the flow of traffic, where now the works of scanlators are funneled into these massive collections that have ads on every page. This really points to Terranova’s statement, where “late capitalism is the field that both sustains free labor and exhausts it.”

I loved our conversation on post digital yesterday during section. My mind immediately went to the concept of privilege and the manner in which it manifested within the project of the post digital. As we discussed this topic and everyone offered anecdotes of the post digital and explained how it functioned in their own mindset, I began to understand that the position of privilege is not inherent to an engagement in the post digital and rather the concept was a much broader one that pointed to the pervasive nature of technology in a general sense in society. It becomes a way in which to analyze this pervasiveness and assess the post digital as somewhat of an inevitable result given the thick nature of technology throughout one’s daily life. That being said I also questioned the role of autonomy in the designation of the post digital, essentially again to understand this concept as an active result or a passive one. Again, hearing feedback from the group I again came to the conclusion that this is more of a subjective circumstance that varies in its manifestations. Very interesting to think about certainly at the conclusion of the semester.

In Cramer’s “Post Digital”, I can’t help but be reminded of the line of 14-year-olds inside of Urban Outfitters that I often see as I walk out of the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island. They’ll be carrying tshirts, dresses, quirky gifts, and occasionally large cardboard slabs donning album artwork from their favorite bands. What ensues between me and my friends is the following conversation: Why the hell do people purchase Vinyl?

  1. “The Audio Quality is superior”.
    1. Maybe. In reality, an Audio Engineer will have to release a specific copy of the audio, ‘mastered for vinyl’, in order for this to really be true. Nowadays, Audio Engineers just don’t do this.
  2. “Analog is better than Digital”
    1. Analog refers to those signals which are not quantized. Digital signals can be represented as discrete streams of 0s and 1s, whereas analog values draw their significance from continuous measurements over a potentially unbounded domain (in practice, this is usually a voltage between +0V and +5v). Analog to Digital Conversion (ADC), the process that allows us to capture audio and process it within our computers, involves
      1. choosing a domain for your analog signal (in most cases, this is specified as a bit-resolution “64bit audio”). This is the set of values that your audio can take on.
      2. choosing a sampling rate for your analog signal (a method to convert the continuous analog signal into discrete chunks for our computers. A common sampling rate for CD quality audio is 44.1 Khz (44,100 samples / second).

An often used comparison between Analog and Digital sources is the case of the Integral vs. the Riemann Sum — the Integral is continuous and captures all corners of the curve, whereas the Riemann Sum approximates reality in an attempt to make a computation tractable.

By this specification, you might think that Analog formats are inherently better suited to representing sound. You’re probably right — Continuous unbounded values give a better approximation of the universe, in my opinion, than discretized digital markings.

In practice, Digital audio formats perform very well. And often, audio is recorded to a lossless digital format, and then written to vinyl and uploaded to itunes. This means that, before the Vinyl was even given a shot, the critical detail with which analog supporters claim superiority  is lost within the computer.

Consequently, the lossless audio formats available on the internet are more-or-less equivalent to their Vinyl counterparts, if the Vinyl was pressed from a digital copy. Unless you’re sure that your Vinyl was pressed directly from an Analog signal, you cannot be sure that you will receive any noticable difference in audio quality.


Perhaps this is just to stage my final assignment, but I came across something this week that feels pertinent to some of the conversations we’ve been having in section. Towards the middle of Parikka’s geology of media he mentions his belief that hardware and hard work are far better indexes of contemporary digital life than traditional notions of software creativity and immaterial labor. I think it’s a pretty packed idea and something worth exploring in greater detail. But yea, i think parikka’s focus on the minerals and labor that construct our current digital media is probably a useful framework to reconsider some of the things that we’ve discussed so far.



In Professor Chun’s concluding lecture, she stated conclusively that “we are now post-digital.” This follows the reason of Cramer’s point in “What is Post-Digital,” that the machine is so intertwined with our daily experience, it is fundamentally intertwined with the machine. Our preferences, even in the form of rejection (like an insistence on analog over digital options), exist in relationship to digital media.

I have been thinking a lot about standpoint theory recently, that the individual speaks from a perspective that is fully entrenched in discursive forces that shaped it, and how the individual perspective is shaped by digital media. The digital is now entirely fundamental to our interactions with, and construction of, the world. This is the not to stay that we’ve become overly dependent on the machine, but rather that is has become part of us, especially those of us who have no memory of a world before digital media, the internet, and the technology that has emerged to embrace is. That humans interact with each other and conceive of the space around them has always been heavily influenced the technology available to them, means of communication and transportation. The danger, it seems, lies in that which has become so familiar that it’s taken for granted (effectively rendered invisible, which one could argue has allowed capital to spread unfettered into all aspects of life). How much of an ability do we, as subjectivities formed by the digital, have to interrogate the media objects around us and the work they do in shaping us?

“Rather than capital “incorporating” from the outside the authentic fruits of the collective imagination, it seems more reasonable to think of cultural flows as originating within a field that is always and already capitalism. Incorporation is not about capital descending on authentic culture but a more immanent process of channeling collective labor (even as cultural labor) into monetary flows and its structuration within capitalist business practices.” (Terranova, 38-9)

Terranova’s piece on free labor had me thinking a lot about Instagram users such as FatJewish and FuckJerry, two of the most popular comedy-based Instagram users. Both, particularly FatJewish, have been accused of posting content that was created by other, perhaps lesser known, Instagram users, without attributing the content to their original producers. This appropriation of content mirrors the exploitation of other cultural practices found in RL, as with the history of popular music in the United States (Elvis, The Beatles, and The Animals all sung and made popular songs that were originally created by black, and often female, artists), the conversation of grafitti and streetart into popular skate and street brands by people such as Shepard Fairey (creator of OBEY, which popularized a lot of previously existing counter-culture symbols, though he also is credited with creating his own work). In this way, it would be interesting to observe how specific people are making money off of Instagram, and what the incentive is in appropriating content. I suspect that there are policies in Instagram similar to those used by YouTube that give profit to Instagram users who acquire a certain number of likes or followers. Why else do it? This may effectively create a brand, but it is not necessarily very different from one another (FatJewish and FuckJerry are pretty similar in the fact that they often tweet similar content). This supports the observation of Instagram content as hierarchical. There has also been an emergence of satirizing accounts, which I have mentioned in a previous blog post, like those of Amalia Ulman and Barbie Savior. How do these work in conjunction? I’m very interested in exploring this further.