Our Digital Reflection

Anything is possible. This statement has always been true, but more people believe it now because we can see it happening everywhere. Look at the astounding transformation happening all around us! Look at how the digital galaxy has exploded artistic expression. Look at how linear, single-solution thinking has been eclipsed by creative discovery.  We read and write with our minds and our fingers through technology. The world is wherever you are, whenever you are.

How do we adjust our lives to digital technology? How have our lives been changed by technology? Can we remember the times when we identified ourselves solely by staring at a slate of glass in our bathrooms? Today the mirrors we use most are our desktop and mobile screens. But now we do not only see ourselves in the looking glass – we are able to see anyone and anything we want.

Social networks help us to compare ourselves with others – we are in a subconscious cold war with our friend stream. This need not be the state of affairs. Technology has given us access to many beautiful shadows we call media, but these do not change who we are. We must not forget what we are. Technology doesn’t change the world. We do – all with a thought and the touch of a finger.

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2 thoughts on “Our Digital Reflection

  1. Michael, I would add that devices themselves figure significantly in “our digital reflection.” This became clear to me when I was reading a classic work of elit,Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce, on an iPad. (Check out 12 Blue here: http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/joyce__twelve_blue.html)

    The highly-reflective, mirror-like dark surface of the iPad registered my face as i read. For the first time in my life, I watched myself reacting to a text IRT. The iPhone’s screen is too small to accomplish this; my Macbook’s screen is not glossy or highly portable. Curled up in a chair outside, the sun reflecting on my face, I was able to move the iPad around easily because it is so light and its edged tapered. But my face was always there: in fragments or full on. Inescapable if I chose to sit outside. Which I almost always do.

    My face was blanker than I thought it would be, because Joyce’s themes are intense, elliptical lexia of sex, drowning, maternity, loss, love and murder. To see my face projected onto the screen–which is a rich blue, but very few images since the piece was written in 1996–was uncanny in the Freudian sense of unheimlich: home/not home (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny). Creepy but/and familiar.

    Our digital reflection is device-specific.

    • Kathi,
      Wonderful thoughts. It’s fascinating to think about how in control we are of our digital experiences – the first decision we make is what device we will experience our reflections in! In a way, it’s a bit like choosing a fun house mirror.

      But, I would also argue, that despite the different shapes of our mirrors, the true content of the mirror is the same – which we see as the internet.
      In reality, this space does not have constraints – its possibilities are infinite. But these devices WE choose – in fact – are our choices of limitation. iPads cannot DO certain things right now – especially when it comes to reading. newquill has agreed to the constraints, to the rules, in order to push them farther.

      As we’ve developed our app we’ve been very careful to adhere to everyone of Apple’s app requirements – which means we CAN’T do everything we WANT to do. But what we’re doing still has never been done – and we’re willing to be patient to help the rest of the world see that, over time, anything we currently do on our desktops will be possible on our mobile devices – and more.

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