Waiting for the connection
On the train, suddenly there was no internet connection anymore. Now that printed newspapers and books are slowly disappearing - looking around, 3 out of 4 people are tapping and scrolling on their phones for hours - and maybe it's nostalgia but still there is a charm in writing on paper and also reading a real magazine or so: currently reading a collection of articles by a French philosopher about our ecological attitudes (Manieres d'etre vivant: Enquêtes sur la vie à travers nous), a weekend magazine from a Flemish newspaper dedicated to vegetarian festivity dishes but with a manual on how to make Polish pierogi. But soon the laptop takes over, without connection: the recent articles by my colleagues at University about musicology, movement and sound, and one which was only sent the day before: 'Exploring the Decision-Making Process behind illicit Drug Use at Music Festivals'. Then the net is accessible again and immediately one gets a load of messages, someone shared music, and of course some jokes and news links. Returning to the net is innocent: the immediacy of massive information, right or wrong, makes one forget that only 40 years ago, we had to go to libraries and bookshops to find answers to our questions. It took days and weeks, sometimes longer to find the real answer to simple questions. It took me a couple of months to find out how to calculate MIDI checksums for certain synth/sound modules. Now you can do it in a couple of minutes' time. Are we living with realtime pamphlets?
Just the other day in the news, drones are dropping flyers over war areas. Indoctrination, to create fear, to destabilize. They are only dropping prints where there is no news, no other media anymore. Because there is no electricity anymore. Same like it ever was.
Shared Flyers and Liars
As we lived the last 50 years through a gigantic proliferation of information, digital media with hypertext, multimedia of all sorts, algorithms and programming, self-organizing and intelligent networks, but also www and html, sms, social media, and so forth… The first time we heard about ubiquity was middle of the 1980s. Now our digital communication devices are shrinking by the year, we soon will lose them on our body. Some people have described media today as the end of websites as shared media. And the oneliners and pictures/movies have become the real tools for communication, because they are massively shared, not stored anymore. D sends a picture of the protests against Fico via Signal, then when you look it up in online news agencies, you find out that the W-EU media are all very silent about it. You start to wonder about it, and make conversation again with D and others, all through signal, whatsapp, telegram etc…
Are the social media then the feuilles volantes of today: democratized, shared, uncontrolled, repeatable and expandable, deletable, inflatable and fragmentable. Sung in silence, massively. And while we publicly so much care about the general truth and fake news, we are making that very news, through direct communication in all uncontrollable directions. What is left but short, dubious and unproven statements, illustrated with images and sound, so short-lived maybe on purpose and reformulated forever, massively.