The central theme of EDC Week One for me was the ‘blurring of boundaries.’ I think we witnessed together in our Togethertube Film Festival a collective sort of stimulating cognitive dissonance with each of the short films that we viewed, glimpses into the possibilities but also the risks of crossing the boundaries between human and technology. Simultaneously, we engaged each other across the world, blurring time and space, by interfacing with our digital technologies. Miller notes that “boundary blurring” between machines and humans is particularly fundamental to the Science Fiction genre known as “cyberpunk.” (p. 207)
While ‘homo faber’ may have always had an intimate relationship with technology, stemming from a “wish or need to extend the boundaries of the body and to overcome its limitations in response to the surrounding environment” (Miller, p. 223), the technician character “Steve” in Memory 2.0 forewarned of dangers of “over-exposure.” Many of us now seem transfixed to our portable devices. Miller (p. 221) notes the “somatic involvement” that mobile phones in particular “alter our sense of being in the world” and provide a sense of ‘connected presence’ (p. 221), or what Amber Case refers to as ‘ambient intimacy’ (e.g. always connected anywhere, anytime).
In sum, this strange new world portends to alter our ways of perceiving ourselves and our socio-material reality. We all need a healthy dose of ‘digital education’ to know how to navigate across and between the boundaries of human and technology wisely.
Case, Amber. (Jan 2011) “We are all cyborgs now.” www.TedTalks.com.
Miller, V. (2011) Chapter 9. “The Body and Information Technology,” in Understanding Digital Culture. pp. 207-223, London: Sage.