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DIGITAL DARK AGE

APRIL 22nd 2022

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Featuring the work of J.Bouey, Opris, & Alfonso Nicolai

Please come curious and intellectually hungry - for those physically hungry we will have light bites, and as always cheap wine will be served.

About the Event:

A dark age is understood as a culture’s dead end. A dark age starts with environmental ignorance, and is caused by a lack of interest in the outside world/worlds. Culture resides mainly at the service of the mind and examples humans set, and therefore is subject to natural mortality. With all the cloud backups, and obsession with archives, how could a culture be lost? Writing and posting in the internet age gives us a false sense of security about the permanence of (now primarily digital) culture. Our new methods and rhythms give way for much to be lost.  With each mini-subtraction we are racing against a previous way of life as we enter into a truly full digital age. We can look back at a richer past, which converts to a meager present in an alien future as pop culture shapes human desires.

 

How do we resist mass amnesia? How do we resist homogeneity? What advantages enable cultural conquerors?

 

Numbers are now our memories, and it is an inclusive space in data, how do we reflect that space? The architectural element of the portal underlies things that already exist as we are graciously invited in, but with a threshold. We still have the systemic horrors of the current world, yet with equal parts fear and wonder we can have technoptimism to help us correlate to physical reality. When we design it is never something new. This new digital world is steeped in ritual, which can embrace the referential to correlate to a physical reality.

 

To move forward with culture, could be to ground the digital within the physical reality by taking away the idea of physicality.  The French have a saying, “Il faut donner du temps au temps”, of which a literal translation would be “you must give time for time.” We have rushed into a digital age, and we cannot rush away from it. The resistance of a dark age requires immersion with the digital and physical tied together. We need equilibrium, harmony, and time for culture to survive.

 

What do we preserve our culture and how is it meaningfully archived? Does this have an inherent tie with value? We have a romantic notion of infinity with imperishable modification. How can intention last longer than legacy? Our future-present cannot be fully void of technooptimism - even as software is eating hardware at a rapid pace - we need to meet the present moment where it is and write a new canon for cultural legacy.  Let's discuss.

Q:

“The salient mystery of Dark Ages sets the stage for mass amnesia. People living in vigorous cultures typically treasure those cultures and resist any threat to them. How and why can a people so totally discard a formerly vital culture that it becomes vitally lost?“ —  Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead

 

“Writing, printing, and the Internet give a false sense of security about the permanence of culture.“ —  Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead

 

“But in North America we live in a graveyard of lost aboriginal cultures, many of which were decisively finished off by mass amnesia in which even the memory of what was lost was also lost.“ —  Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead

 

“Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.”  —  George Scialabba, How Bad Is It? from The New Inquiry

 

“The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be.” — Virginia Woolf’s diaries

 

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...”  —  William Gibson, Neuromancer


“Nonhuman beings” were “responsible for the next moment of human history and thinking.”   —  Timothy Morton’s idea of the ‘hyperobject’

Umberto Eco has called it an “epoch of forgetting.”

“Life is meant to be felt. Else why live? Valleys make the mountains.” ― Pierce Brown, Dark Age

 

“Everybody thinks that this civilization has lasted a very long time but it really does take very few grandfathers' granddaughters to take us back to the dark ages.” ― Gertrude Stein

 

“More information produces not more clarity, but more confusion.” 

― James Bridle, New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future

 

“The crisis of global warming is a crisis of the mind, a crisis of thought, a crisis in our ability to think another way to be. Soon, we shall not be able to think at all.” 

― James Bridle, New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future

 

“Reading a book, listening to music, researching and learning: these and many other activities are increasingly governed by algorithmic logics and policed by opaque and hidden computational processes.” 

― James Bridle, New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future

Some questions to consider:

Numbers are now our memories, and it is an inclusive space in data, how do we reflect that space?

How do we resist mass amnesia? 

How do we resist homogeneity? 

What advantages enable cultural conquerors? 

How do we integrate our rich cultural past with our increasingly immaterial cultural future? 

With all the cloud backups, and obsession with archives, how could a culture be lost? 

How do we meet the present moment where it is and write a new canon for cultural legacy? 

How do we preserve our culture and how is it meaningfully archived? 

Does this have an inherent tie with value? 

What do we need for culture to survive? 

What is to say of the value of material objects if most of our lives are online or in the digital realm? 

What value does beauty in material objects hold? Will we run out of material? 

If software is eating hardware, what is valuable?

Is the internet an immaterial space? 

How will future historians know anything about our society if we keep all of our information on media destined to become outdated and unusable?

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