"~" A Mash-Up: A Poetics of Defiance in the Age of the Internet of Everything
Mathison, Tiare Louise
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A-Mashup. I borrow this word from the pop/rock music scene where the word `DJ' now refers to someone who has multiple turntables at her fingertips, along with her computer, so she can `mash' the music together. My fingers roam over particular work that lays down a riff of cultural critique on top of memoir mixed up with reflections on death. My thinking has been shaped by a feminist poetics, both formal and creative. My passion is driven by an abiding commitment to build relationships in communities, thus I am sounding an alarm for a poetics of defiance. It is the age of the Internet of Everything. Connectivity is a click away. You can find whatever you want, whenever you want it. It begs the question of why are we so lonely, in desperate need of touch. Anxiety is felt deep in the bones, but everyone is so busy there is no time to examine life, whereby we might find the correlation between high-speed internet, high-power pressure to buy those things that will complete our identity and high anxiety. The regime of the market and the regime of computation collude to keep us buying the next best iteration of our devices, feeding each regime's omnivore capacity for more and more, faster and faster. At the same time, the generation marked `Millennial', born between 1980-2000, is moving into adulthood with a deep quest for awe, wonder and mystery in their daily lives. Born with a screen near at hand at all times from babyhood onward, either their own or their parents, this generation pursues a complicated agenda of deep immersion in technologies and deep desire for myth, story, and artistic expression. New life forms are being developed under the rubric of Artificial Intelligence with operating systems encoded to recognize images, understand words and think with the global digital brain. You can Google it. Human/machine interface is already so close as to make it possible to speak of a person who experiences techno-healing or becomes an emotional cyborg. The digital divide is the next great social grand canyon, similar to the historical ones of race or class. There are haves and have nots based on the computations of 0`s and 1's. It is an issue of power, based on politics, education, the market, and where you are situated in the world. What does it mean to be human in this milieu? In the age of the internet of everything, efficiency is the highest value. But anyone who has ever had a deep relationship with another person knows that while that value may work very well for machines within the regimes, it torpedoes interpersonal relationships very quickly. To say nothing about a baby born with slow neural processors. In this new age of a shared global brain, there are critical questions to be raised: Who will decide what information is passed among humans, cyborgs, and human-cyborgs? For instance, will imaginations be restrained from creating artwork that challenges current practices by the regimes of computation or market or politics? Is it possible critical thinking skills will not be shared if questions are raised about the power and control of the regimes? Once they are all working together smoothly, the empire will have it all; we will be enslaved. This poetics of defiance is designed to challenge the artist, and the communities who are grounded in freedom and justice, to raise voices through a variety of mediums to protest this wholesale plunge into the regime of computation and the regime of the market along with all the other regimes we live with, albeit subconsciously. The barricades must be built again with poems, novels, music, paintings, digital masterpieces turned against the very devices that create them. Otherwise, we are at risk to become the servants of the global digital brain, participants in the digital cosmology as reluctant prosthetics.