A door reads newspapers. Depending on the state of the world, she becomes more or less anxious, deciding to lock or unlock.
Our media saturated lives are awash in a sea ”free-floating communicated fear”1. Successively larger waves of ever worsening news sweep one another aside in the news industry’s struggle for our undivided attention.
In a teleconnected world everybody is your neighbour every pain is felt. In the world of the blog, the tweet and the feed, all information is at the ends of your finger tips. Through our eyes, fingers and thumbs we seem to comprehend the entirity of human suffering.
The Internet of Things
Informed by the spime2 and the blogject3, the anxious door is a prototype pseudo self-aware object, a `first-class network citizen`. It’s nervous state is evidenced by the actuation of its deadbolt. The physical form of `door’ comes from a brainstorming session at the end of a Banff NMI symposium held in the days following September 11, 2001.
This is the paradox of the media vector. The technical properties are hard and fast and fixed, but it can connect enormously vast and vaguely defined spaces together and move images, and sounds, words and furies between them. The vector is an oxymoronic relay system: a rigorous indeterminacy; a determinate imprecision; a precise ambiguity; an ambiguous determinism. The technical feat of the vector, [is] so celebrated in cases like CNN’s Gulf war coverage…4
The door maintains an internal anxious state that fluctuates with the 24 hour news cycle. More recent news affects her dramatically whilst news a month old has little impact. Her apparent nervous state is levelled against the background `objective violence’.5 Crossing the halfway threshold of fear triggers the internal reaction—locking and unlocking.
- `False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear’, Marc Siegel, 2005 from ‘Manufacturing High Anxiety’, Greg Guma, 2005. [↩]
- `Viridian Note 00422: The Spime’, Bruce Sterling [↩]
- `Why Things Matter: A Manifesto for Networked Objects’, Julian Bleecker [↩]
- Mackenzie Wark, Virtual Geography 1.1 [↩]
- ‘Violence (2008)’, Slavoj Žižek [↩]