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Ok, so I’m going to go off topic a little bit to talk about a dress (it will all relate back to the reading, I promise). So, since I procrastinated a little on this assignment, I’m writing this post midst this whole “What color is this dress?” controversy which in the span of a couple of hours, has taken over the internet and various media outlets. ¬†Even CNN is taking a break from covering more important worldwide issues to pitch in on this pressing matter. On a personal note, I saw the dress as blue and black, while my roommate was convinced I was color blind because, to her, the dress was white and gold. The dress’¬†significance goes beyond its color. Aside from the fact that this dress is a mind blowing revelation of how people perceive color (at least for non psychologists/neuroscientists), this incident highlights the collapsing of space and the emergence of the media landscape that this week’s reading focuses on.

To me, this week’s readings provided us with the language to describe our inexplicable dependence on technology and the internet. We don’t really question its place in our lives: “its there because it is there” (Thrift 584). We are living in a world parallel to the 19th century Parisian world McQuire describes, “living among strangers who remain strangers.” The introduction of various media platforms, screens, and devices has led to an individualization of what was once public space. We are increasingly more connected with the rest of the world, yet more and more isolated. Spacial lines are being blurred, especially now as we are seeing a reversal of the “media event” McQuire describes, as portable devices are allowing us to return to the public sphere while still keeping us isolated.

Here’s where the dress fits in. McQuire quotes Richard Sennett’s “rationale for modern urban life” which holds that, “[the collisions or jolts experience is subjected to] are necessary to a human being to give him that sense of tentativeness about his own beliefs which every civilized person must have.” The dress incident displays the “gathering of strangers” that Sennett defines as crucial to human experience. In a matter of hours, our views about how we perceived color were challenged by some random stranger’s photo of her dress. Theories surfaced trying to explain the discrepancies in what people were seeing. We all turned to the internet to find answers to the many questions we had. It’s the beauty of “the world of paratexts” that Thrift describes, the “mundanity of this second nature,” “exist[ing] outside the realm of meanings.” “Much of the background of life is ‘second nature,’ the artificial equivalent of breathing.” And everything else, the work that goes into the upkeep of this culture, the loss of community, fades into the background.