Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Friday 11AM section: Manovich, continued! (Sorry)

I hate to be a “follower,” but I will stay with the theme of these blog postings- I find it interesting to see everyone discussing and expanding upon the ideas of one another about screens and imprisonment. I want to start off my blog posting with a picture (I’m not sure I can embed this, but if not, you can click the link)--

Though it is simply a comic, it says a lot. This representation of the modern-day subject made me think about Professor Chun’s and Manovich’s statements on the imprisonment and immobility of the subject, and also about our recent discussions of control. When looking at the interface, Manovich argues, “the body must be fixed in space if the viewer is to see the image at all.” Professor Chun asserted that to watch a screen is to drive a car: to go anywhere, you must stay still. What, then, does the iPhone (or BlackBerry, etc.) entail? The character in this comic is very mobile, however he is still unprecedentedly imprisoned. What would Manovich say about our modern-day technology? Has the iPhone, basically a pocket computer, changed the way we theorized screen imprisonment? Are we freer now that we can mobilize while gazing upon a screen, or does that freedom just lead to more control?

Personally, I find the mobility of the screen to disprove Manovich’s point on the bodily imprisonment of the subject. It fully supports his concept of mental and emotional imprisonment, but breaks the physical imprisonment. However, looking back at the notion of control, this mobile freedom leads, counter intuitively, to a more intense version of control. We are entranced by the screen and feel almost forced to work for the web: we update our Facebooks, our Twitters, and God knows what else, thus making these websites work. They barely have to do anything; it is the subject that ends up producing web content. Why do we do this, though? Because we are imprisoned by our mobile screens. (I realize this may allude to Terranova a bit from MC10, but it was relevant).

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