We seem to live in a weird and surreal mix of an inclusive and participatory society underneath an ever more total(itarian) system, which both are instigated by the same ubiquitous technology.
We are knitting, 3D-printing, self-publishing and growing our own urban vegetables under the shaddows of drones, internet monopolies and bankrupt and corrupted economies.
Bismarck would have called this a ‘balance of powers’… Maybe
However, the ever increasing rate and pace of these evolutions — which are essentially technological (with a huge social, political, economic and cultural impact) — shows us this is only a moment of balance.
Some fields of study would call this the ‘technological momentum’.
When James talks about an ‘endless war’, I would like to add this seemingly continuous revolution to it.
The ‘technological momentum’ can be found in every process of technological development or innovation. It is that moment or short period of time when equally powerful (or interested) stakeholders struggle to steer a technological innovation in a certain direction.
Ideally this is a cultural fight or debate. And given the circumstances we can fairly say it is revolutional (as opposed to evolutional).
Let’s call this continuous revolution something like ‘slow-revolution’, as in slow-food, slow-science. (which is a bit more profound, if you like)
In order to be a true powerfull player in this fight or debate of this timely ‘technological momentum’, we ‘the users‘ — who are interested in and benefitting from this inclusive technology — we need a collective imagination.
A mobilizing, inspiring, collective, technological imagination.
And history proved metaphors to be crucial elements for this kind of mobilizations.
The exhibition (Drones / Birds) tries to trigger it’s visitors imagination in this way; by trying to re-vitalize a contemporary image of birds.
The bird was a symbol and metaphor in every culture and history we know.
Today, the bird seems quite a relevant embodiment for rather conceptual notions related to digital technology: such as ubiquity, the immersive, wirelessness, remoteness, locality, distributed networks etc.
And we, ‘the users’, should claim these notions and deal with them… which otherwise are far to easy being claimed by a total system in an endless war.
To finnish I have to more qoutes:
First of all:
Hans Ulrich Obrist once stated:
“Birds are elements of ubiquity in the middle of things, but in the centre of nothing, oscillating between the actual and the virtual.”
And when James states:
“Those who cannot perceive the network cannot act effectively within it, and are powerless. The job then is to make such thing visible”.
Next to and after making visible, we need means which grant access to often complex conceptual notions. Revitalising effective metaphors seems essential.