[NetBehaviour] *****SPAM***** Re: Agony and the Ecstasy: On Zoom Burnout. (pre-paper draft)

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Tue Jul 21 17:28:53 CEST 2020

Hi Patrick, a few things to an excellent article!

We all want to be truly hybrid here, that's a given, and it depends on
situations - incarceration for example doesn't lead to that. Hybridity
depends on one's neighborhood; I don't feel safe going out where we are,
almost all the time; it's a luxury to have a back yard, a lawn, a park
nearby, and so forth for many. Zoom fulfills with simplicity the old idea
from way back in the 50s of the videophone; for me it's also enabled me to
have discussions that never would have been possible any other way. With
Second Life, you emphasize the monetary / capitalist aspects of the place,
but for me and a great number of people I know, it's also a sandbox for
recording, experimentation, discussion, etc. I'm much more upset about the
way that the MacGrid cut out almost without notice after a conference etc.
announcing its opening - and that platform, which would have been and was
useful to many of us - just more or less suddenly disappeared. (I was able
to retrieve *.oar for the most part, but that's a different story. SL seems
to be more active again now.

As you know, the crest of the wave here is not passing, but is here with a
vengeance, and the situation has gotten violent just about everywhere. And
that makes SL, Zoom, Discord, all of this, much more vital than every; the
amazing success of the ELO conference, over a week, is proof that these
things can work - to the extent that I hope in the future ELO and other
organizations _always_ have Zoom or some such running and integral, to
precisely fight again the neoliberalism that underlies academic financing
and everything else - so that we might have more of a level playing field.

And god knows we're all asking for compassion, Facebook is good for that in
spite of the vicious scaffolding -

Best, Alan

On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 11:16 AM Patrick Lichty <lists at voyd.com> wrote:

>   Thanks, Annie - i think the text is rough, and you know how I love,
> actually, to be connected online. It's compassion and intentionality in
> ourselves and our culture that I'm asking for.
> On Tue, 21 Jul 2020 15:03:30 +0200, Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> thanks Patrick
> On Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 2:44 PM Patrick Lichty <lists at voyd.com> wrote:
>> Agony and the Ecstasy: Net-hanging in the age of Covid
>> The era of Covid lockdown is Zoom-time. Although at the time of this
>> writing, the crest of the wave is starting to pass, its impact is evident.
>> In over three months of lockdown, stay at home, 24/7 Zoom culture has come
>> to dominate global telepresent communications, standing in for ever-present
>> cyber vernissages, online conferences, talks and visits. The need to work,
>> communicate, and even socially function has necessitated the rise of
>> platforms like Zoom and Adobe Connect, and what I have come to understand
>> as platform politics and their neoliberal connotations.  Although places
>> like The Well and John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Cyberspace
>> Independence call and were founded under the notion of cyberfreedom and
>> fluid congregation outside of the agendas of capital, the Covid pandemic
>> has created a scenario where the private sector has found tenterhooks into
>> the foundations of institutional communications. This is not to say that
>> Social Media does not do this, but one of the differences I want to allude
>> to is the institution-in-itself (facebook) as opposed to platform as
>> channel of communication for institutions. Unlike a public utility, Zoom,
>> as well as others like Adobe Connect, and Facebook Rooms, and so on are
>> portals in which institutions found a necessity for network that was not
>> facilitated by a commons, but by corporations, and by agendas of maximizing
>> connections and communications. These two effects(institutional adoption of
>> private protocols [Galloway] and the necessity of a will-to-connect)  are
>> the poles in which capital has pushed further into the control regimes of
>> markets, networks, and political engineering as to where private interests
>> further govern sociocultural concerns. It even got the UAE to release its
>> national ban on VoIP communications. That isn;t so much about any
>> particular country, but the effect that Zoom has had on global
>> communication under the Covid crisis.
>> This isn’t the first time the idea of having online platforms be the lens
>> for focusing social interaction. Second Life, with its inherently
>> capitalist foundations, tried to tout itself as the 3D World Wide Web,
>> almost like an analogy to the 3D Internet analogue in the Robert Longo
>> movie, Johnny Mnemonic.  With the neoliberal dream of the Linden Dollar
>> superceding John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Cyberspace Independence,
>> FOMO-driven corporations from Domino’s Pizza to Playboy flooded into the
>> platform.  christian von borries, documentary, The Dubai in Me, imperfectly
>> compares financial speculative evangelicalism between Second Life and the
>> “Dubai Miracle”, much of which operated on the notion of rotating real
>> estate speculation. For some time, this was reflected in Second Life, when
>> the mythology of Chinese real estate trader Anshe Chung announced that she
>> had made her first million dollars on virtual real estates.  However the
>> differences between a foundation based on a technology (HTTP) and that
>> based on a single-provider platform (Second Life) in that a provider often
>> takes a majority of the profit, and that the upsurge of traffic caused
>> multiple technical issues, caused most of those glittering dreams to
>> collapse within 2-3 years. Another difference is that while the interaction
>> with the World Wide Web is relatively simple Second Life required a
>> relatively powerful machine and at least a couple days learning SL’s rather
>> cumbersome interface. In interaction and commerce design, the rule is that
>> the least friction yields the greatest returns.
>> But then, the socio(economic) frictionlessness is one of the biggest
>> problems with platforms like Zoom, or Adobe Connect, or whatever flavor you
>> mention.  In the artworld, I always saw the necessary friction that artists
>> thought had to happen was exclusivity or access, to an event or an object.
>> But then, I had not inhabited Istanbul or Dubai, which are big enough
>> cities with capital to support a contemporary cultural community, (and even
>> Chelsea is similar), but with accessibility comes the expectation to
>> access.  Once you are there and become part of the community, there are
>> expectations to be met, places to be seen. And this is a crucial point –
>> the demand to be seen. Further linkage to privilege in the case of Zoom is
>> multilayered, from communities that wish to engage, and from the company,
>> wishing to focus social capital through its portal.
>> What is important about this will-to-access is not that it is resultant
>> from the community, it is resultant from the platform. The first layer of a
>> demand-to-access is expectations to attend, but the other is that of the
>> platform, and in the end, the platform is a cybernetic system that os a
>> control apparatus.  Although Adobe Connect has also been adopted widely,
>> the frictionlessness of the Zoom platform has allowed it to be quickly
>> adopted by the institutional community, and without having a professional
>> account, interactions are limited to 40 minutes.  This has a number of
>> effects from further socioeconomic limits to access to further
>> neoliberalization of communications.  The emergence of a solution in a
>> panic event-space mitigates an acritical adoption in light of necessity.
>> This means that Zoom, although possessing the least friction, is corporate,
>> requires payment for the best experience, and still mitigates certain
>> resources for optimum connection. And the notion of panic adoption has
>> resulted in the institutionalization of Zoom as one de facto standard
>> without full security or best practices development.  There is a need,
>> there has to be a solution, and the market supplies one, and it has to be
>> adopted as soon as possible.
>> The other problem with post-COVID networked society is that the notion of
>> access falls under the optical control regime of neoliberal capitalism.
>> What this means is that, as Sara Cook noted in the discussions surrounding
>> the Sleep Mode exhibition at Somerset House, that internal documents by
>> companies like Facebook consider sleep a challenge to their business model
>> of attention optics. The show described sleep itself as a tactic against
>> neoliberal infocapitalism’s need to consume and convert every possible
>> resource into use-value. In another text, Event Horizons, I describe that
>> even if sleep were to be conquered, there would be the Malthusian limit of
>> the sidereal day itself. How do you multiply the cognitive load of the
>> attention span of one human being once the physical limits of the system
>> are met. Perhaps there are exotic solutions like parallel cognitive loading
>> across multiple machines, or even more abstract metaphors likening the
>> deterioration of attention to the evaporation of a black hole due to
>> Hawking Radiation, but the reality is far more simple. A human being is
>> simply not going to stay awake 24 hours a day to comment on your cat video,
>> and taken to extremes, we simply cannot fulfill zoom’s Second Life’s, or
>> whoever’s desire for us to be together constantly, forever public, forever
>> panoptic.  It is an ontological equivalent to the 2008 financial collapse –
>> expectations for access, like capital productivity, continue to balloon
>> until all methods to appease the machines collapse, mitigating solutionism.
>> It’s just not going to happen.
>> Things have changed.  With the Coronavirus not going anywhere soon, and
>> the automation of the labor-site, even if that labor is visibility,
>> collapses into the home, institutions see no need to be entirely physical
>> anymore, and like the “gig” economy, investiture in the physical space is
>> no longer entirely necessary.  Therefore look for a more “hybrid”
>> ontology.  Relating to New Media Art of the 1990’s, There are some
>> parallels, when the network was the necessary channel for connection, then
>> due to the small size of the community, now due to the necessity to
>> distance.  But the frictions of infrastructural support are less with the
>> privately funded model of Zoom.  In the neoliberal environment, when
>> governments pull away from funding of infrastructures, favoring market
>> politics, the ability to link capital to the network facilitates the
>> platform. Period. Even incrementally, with minimal cost, this is a wringing
>> out of the socioeconomic frame of need to solution, and Zoom life is the
>> solution.
>> It’s a cost-benefit solution. Online portals like Zoom create less
>> frictioned telepresence give access to more programmes, create more
>> opportunity to interact by the screen. But on the other hand, there is the
>> pressure to take ten classes a month, be at twenty vernissages, call ten
>> friends, up your productivity tenfold – from your home. It’s a win-win.
>> Actually, it’s more like The Matrix, where we are tied into our scopophilic
>> pods, viewing and being viewed. Zoom as new Panopticon, regulate by the
>> frictions of the platform, epidemiology, and socioeconomic politics. As I
>> see the age of 60 on the horizon, I realize that the cost-benefit of being
>> increasingly online has not always realized itself, and when I move back to
>> America in 2021, I want to be truly “hybrid”, that is, more engaged with
>> the real, like time with my family cooking, seeing nature, and being
>> physically present with friends.  This is also ironic in that VR artists
>> are becoming more obsessed with realism through programs like Substance and
>> ultra high rez scans.
>> But from this writer’s perspective, this is the frission that venturing
>> closer to the event horizon of total access leads; the lure of
>> connectedness while being paralyzed at the computer screen. This is the
>> paradox, and a site of resistance, as it is neoliberal forces that
>> encourage this effect, and as Sarah Cook suggested, perhaps sleep, managing
>> willful disconnection and social intentionality are the things that will
>> shape the post-Covid culture.
>> _______________________________________________
>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour


*directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
718-813-3285**email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim ut
gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.netbehaviour.org/pipermail/netbehaviour/attachments/20200721/2c609e65/attachment.htm>

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list