“The outside world, the non-digital world, is merely a theatrical space in which one stages and records content for the much more real, much more vital, digital space. One should only engage with the outside world as one engages with a coal mine. Suit up, gather what is needed, and return to the surface.” —Bo Burnham, Inside, 2021
Human beings have, of course, always lived in information rich environments. Step into the woods, and you’re surrounded by information and stimuli. But the nature of the information matters. Modern technological environments present us with an abundance of symbolically encoded information, which is often designed with a view to hijacking or soliciting our attention. Which is to say that our media environments aggressively beckon us in a way that an oak tree does not. The difference might be worth contemplating.
Once a cucumber turns into a pickle, you can't turn it back into a cucumber. And I've been pickled by the internet for a long time.
“One can’t go on anymore, she said, electronics seems so clean and yet it dirties, dirties tremendously, and it obliges you to leave traces of yourself everywhere as if you were shitting and peeing on yourself continuously: I want to leave nothing, my favorite key is the one that deletes.” —Elena Ferrante, THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, page 455
The internet de-emphasizes text and emphasizes image. This means that a lot of people who are able to locate visual trends and emulate them, don’t have a clue what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.
The intent is the first thing to go, but the image stays forever.