Thursday, April 15, 2010

motion and stasis in new media

Throughout Appadurai's essay on disjuncture between landscapes of the current global cultural economy, emphasis is placed upon movement: greater and faster progression and motion of people, capital, technological advance, and images than ever before. He claims that it is because of this constant rapid flow that our global landscape is shaped by the overlaps, the fractures, the spaces between the five facets of our cultural economy. This emphasis on motion brings to my mind its opposite: Manovich's theories on the imprisonment of the viewer by the screen. In VR, in cinema, on personal computers, the viewer/user is held captive by the screen; one cannot physically move while using or watching the technology. Until the rise of smartphones (which don't physically immerse a user, though can mentally immerse a user), the use of a screen-based object required physical stasis or entrapment (entrapment especially in VR). This juxtaposition of human non-movement and technological (for humans, by humans) constant flow is fascinating to me.

One question I had was on Appadurai's definition of production fetishism - he totally lost me in his description.

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