TotalRecall, text by Nicholas Smith, graphics by Anna Stina Erlandsson
“Insofar as we live in a culture whose technological advances abet the production and dissemination of such images at a hitherto unimagined level, it is necessary to focus on how they work and what they do, rather than move past them too quickly to the ideas they represent or the reality they purport to depict” (Martin Jay).
A part of our new predicament, or what may perhaps be called a condition, seems to find expression in a new alloy of emotions and technology. There is an increasing feeling of being constantly submerged in never ending receptions and relays of images and text messages. There is also and at the same time a feeling of extreme rapidity in these processes, which border on re-presentation being simultaneous with the event (digital transmission of live-broadcast). New technology, it seems, alters our traditional conceptions of two central notions, namely our conception of the event and its reproduction. This process is in part well documented in media- and technology studies, urban anthropology and sociology etc. But the philosophical consequences of this condition has proved difficult to fathom not only because of its happening here and now, or the rapidity whereby new technology is introduced.
There are aspects of this that need translation into other contexts (such as art, thinking and poetry) in order to be understood. Technology by itself, for instance, is clearly not the place from which to reflect on these processes. A hypothesis here is that this predicament or condition must correspond to a new ‘transcendental aesthetics’ since the processes alluded to effect our most fundamental categories of understanding, which since Kant have been determined as time and space, outlined in his Critique of Pure Reason. To put the question in as naïve a form as is possible, one can ask: What time is it on the internet? What is the internet and where is it? Even though there are perfectly good technical answers to these simple questions, there are central aspects that will elude them.