Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I don't understand technology

What I noticed about the Kirschenbaum piece is that whenever the article attempts to explicate computer processes or mechanisms, I find the writing incomprehensible. Computers in many ways have made text inscrutable. I think the mechanisms that drive the computer somehow elude language. The proliferation of acronyms—such as RAM—is just one example of how technology renders text insufficient to explain its inner workings. Furthermore, how can there be a “medial ideology” without sufficient language? I know that I am a “lay user,” but doesn’t this bring up the importance of politics to technology? Before widespread literacy, churches and monarchs could abuse the privilege of literacy to keep the populace ignorant and vulnerable. Am I vulnerable because I do not know how to READ technology? I think that most people who use computers are blithely unaware of the way in which they work. Are we being taken advantage of ? Kept ignorant? Do I have to know how the computer works in order to read it?

Another issue I had was that Kirschenbaum assumes people believe that computer text is ephemeral and insubstantial. Yet, my experience in the cave transformed the way in which I perceived myself in relation to text. When I was in the cave, I was immersed in a world completely constructed by text. Text literally went through me, rendered ME ephemeral and insubstantial. At the risk of sounding overdramatic, I felt my own death. Isn’t text the only thing we leave behind? Forensics attempt to reconstruct text when in fact what it really does is perhaps reconstruct life?

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