Old notes from 26 March 2009. Reading this again, almost a year after making a strategic decision to work at a tech company, I am realizing how much I integrated that “logic of alienation” bit into my ways of relating to technologies.
DJ: Let’s talk more about technology. Isn’t technology just driven by curiosity?
JZ: You hear people say this all the time: “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle”; “You’re asking people to forget.” Stuff like that. But that’s just another attempt to naturalize the craziness. And it’s a variant of that same old racist intelligence argument. Because the Hopi didn’t invent backhoes, they must not be curious. Sure, people are naturally curious. But about what? Did you or I aspire to create the neutron bomb? Of course not. That’s crazy. Why would people want to do that in the first place? They don’t. But the fact that I don’t want to create a neutron bomb doesn’t mean I’m not curious. Curiosity is not value free. Certain types of curiosity arise from certain types of mindsets, and our own “curiosity” follows the logic of alienation, not simple wonder, not learning something to become a better person. Our “curiosity,” taken as a whole, leads us in the direction of further domination. How could it do any other?
Game Developers Conference seems to be on right now. A few years ago I would have been following posts about the presentations. I’m still interested in interactivity design and game design, but I am taking a break from the technorati’s vision of revolution and progress (short version: pretend everyone can have a cell phone without destroying the planet).
Seeing all the GDC headlines reminded me of watching Will Wright present the demo of his super-hyped Spore game at the elite/elitist TED conference in 2007.
That’s the first time I remember being horrified by game design. Will Wright, known for his non-competitive, open-creative-outlet games, Mr. SimCity, spent fifteen minutes talking about teaching kids to colonize territory. Ouch. It is easy to dismiss the racist, sexist, violent shooter games when there are supposed alternatives. Where do you go from the alternatives when they have all the same domination and hate in a more covert, abstract form?
Are there any video games out there about resisting colonization? I mean as a whole system, not just in terms of blowing up invaders from space using weapons you built by invading and occupying your own planet to get resources and labour. I never got around to writing Will Wright to ask him to read up on what colonization really means before developing his next game idea. Spore II: Indigenous Resistance. I’d play that.
So here I am wishing for better video games when I am intending to take a break from people who focus on saving the world by building video games and electronic gadgets. Moving on.
I still note pictures of masks in fashion and pop culture. I go on long quiet breaks every few years, but I also ponder some topics for years and years. I am trying to figure out what this persistence/absence is about. Hiding out whenever I am processing anything? Needing to be better at learning in public? Being a generalist and working on a thousand things at the same time, gradually, over a long period of time? Those are good starting ideas.
This mask, I think I like because it is both campy and inhuman. The pantyhose fabric is so gross that it’s funny, but then the full face coverage is too creepy to be fun. I am delighted.
I will leave the “gosh models are skinny, etc” disclaimer as an exercise for the reader.
This scarf reminds me of my current favourite menstrual gear, fleece-lined underwear (e.g., lunapanties). It’s the right-hand photo that does it. Hidden fluffy surfaces, built for sensation and not for show.
My instinct is to knit up a weird costume/uniform and wear it every day. When I don’t instantly know the name of an article of clothing, I seem to interpret it as having some qualities of a costume. This is a ruff, I suppose. I feel it is festive.