Infinite Distraction by Dominic Pettman

By Dominic Pettman

It is frequently argued that modern media homogenize our concepts and activities, with no us being absolutely conscious of the constraints they impose. yet what if the matter isn't that we're all synchronized to a similar motions or moments, yet relatively dispersed into numerous diversified emotional micro-experiences? What if the impact of so-called social media is to calibrate the interactive spectacle in order that we by no means totally think an analogous manner as different power allies whilst? whereas one individual is fuming approximately financial injustice or weather swap denial, one other is laughing at a adorable cat video. And, hours overdue, vice versa. The nebulous indignation which constitutes the very gas of real social swap could be redirected properly round the community, warding off any risky surges of radical activity.

In this brief and provocative booklet, Dominic Pettman examines the planned deployment of what he calls �hypermodulation,� as a key approach encoded into the modern media surroundings. His account demanding situations a few of the narratives that painting social media as a sinister house of synchronized recognition, within which we're busily �clicking ourselves to death.� This severe mirrored image at the exceptional strength of the web calls for us to reconsider the possibility of countless distraction that our most recent applied sciences now allow.

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For the more cynical Frenchman, “We are no longer a part of the drama of alienation; we live in the ecstasy of communication. And this ecstasy is obscene” (130). Ecstasy comes from the Greek word ek-stasis—to be outside of oneself. Perhaps this externalizing aspect of communication explains the allure of social media, even for those who profess to despise it. ”) Ecstatic technologies suggest that Sartre had it the wrong way around, and hell is in fact ourselves. Or rather, he had it half-right.

On the other hand, this type of “simultaneous collective reception” is particularly vulnerable to being re-distracted away from the glimpsed reality; away from that-whichwe-all-have-in-common, beyond our individual pinhole perspectives on life, and back into the obfuscatory phantasmagoria of commodification. Today’s social media, like film in the 1920s and 1930s, promises to open windows onto a new reality, which itself could inspire a recalibration of the real conditions of social existence. But just as Kracauer saw the structure of the movie theater as containing and taming the power of the films it showed, the brands and corporations that provide us with the access to socially mediated technospaces today close such windows far faster than they can be opened.

But distraction from what? One of the assumptions of this book is that distraction itself has mutated, as a phenomenon, strategy, and geometric figure. Distraction is no longer a gesturing away from that which disturbs, or that which others do not want noticed. It is not to “create a distraction” so that something else may slip by or remain unconfronted. Rather, the decoy itself—the thing designed to distract—has merged with the distraction imperative, so that, for instance, news coverage of race riots now distracts from the potential reality and repercussions of race riots.

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