Digital Complaints

An article by Rebecca Solnit in the London Review of Books is one of the best critiques of the digital culture I’ve read. She says:

“The real point about the slow food movement was often missed. It wasn’t food. It was about doing something from scratch, with pleasure, all the way through, in the old methodical way we used to do things. That didn’t merely produce better food; it produced a better relationship to materials, processes and labour, notably your own, before the spoon reached your mouth. It produced pleasure in production as well as consumption.”

Of course she has something to say about distractedness and over-connectedness, but this passage gives a very tangible and realistic sense of what is lost by spending so much time in front of a screen—and in my view much more realistic than some of the theoretical diatribes one finds in the art world. And more hopeful because more concrete. She goes on to summon up a pre-digital past:

“That bygone time had rhythm, and it had room for you to do one thing at a time; it had different parts; mornings included this, and evenings that, and a great many of us had these schedules in common.”

But this is not just pre-digital, it’s an evocation of the world before everyone became self-employed. As I keep harping on—it’s the economy, not the technology.

chamberlin2

Dennis Chamberlin, Screen Culture

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