Drunk on Technology, Waiting for the Hangover

Sunday, 30 July
1:45 - 3 pm
Rooom 207

With spam and porn as its most egregious growth industries, the utopian bloom has faded from the internet. Though it was long suspected that culturally determined signs of identity and their attendant privileges, ironies, and afflictions were bound to persist in the virtual world, for one giddy moment the vision of a world bound together by an emerging networked consciousness hovered over the future. Now that the party's over, we wonder how long our heads will ache. Can we think our way back or forward to a vision that can sustain, unite, or direct us, or are we left with passive consumption of a reality fabricated by forces beyond our control? Rather than answering the question (too big a project), this essay attempts to assemble a seedbed where ideas might grow and be tested. It uses a combinatorial structure to pair "plants" with "fertilizers" to produce the germs of critical ideas.

Paul Hertz
Northwestern University
Illinois, USA
paul-hertz (at) northwestern.edu