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This week brought up issues of surveillance, that which we aid in and that which we have no conscious understanding. I thought it was extremely interesting to introduce the fact that most internet technologies were created to further porn and sexual activities in the digital realm (for example, e-commerce was heavily furthered due to the porn industry), so on the foundation, the internet deals and struggles to find a line between exposure, consent, and privacy in such an intimate, personal space. Faith Holland, an artist who spoke in my “Art in Digital Culture” course, speaks about how the main foundation and expansion of the internet is due to “pussys,” both women in porn and cats.
But, beyond that note, I found that the readings and topics from this week focus on how to find a voice in the vast space of the internet and technology and how there’s such a strong pull to connect through these networks while always staying hidden and private. The internet is embedded with so many juxtaposing wants and issues regarding over- and under- exposure. We want to be visible to those we give permission to (like on Facebook), but find it problematic that the government watches over and collects our actions; we operate as masses, like Anonymous, or power and knowledge is concentrated into the hands of a few; we either find ourselves as Deleuze’s “dividuals,” just another set of metadata or as personal beings. But I find that the internet cannot truly connect these two. For the data that is collected via Google searches and taking the 6 subway to Astor Pl. do not equate to a the intricacies of a human beings; it equates to a potential, skeleton that is in the shape of a human with no flesh to give it personality or uniqueness. Our actions recorded via the digital do not, as was stated by Appelbaum in Citizenfour, mean that we committed the crime, but we were just in the same location. This highlights the most potent disconnect, for me, in the digital: the sense of the specific individual being created, through social platforms, messages, etc. and the metadata we create. It almost seems like there is no middle ground between these two, just signals and networks that link the two personalities we create. The internet offers the individual an intimate space, condensed into one screen for personal use, while at the same time almost dehumanizing us and making us one in a million, not in a unique, but in a qualitative understanding.