January 9, 2020

Screens

Traces of frost in the moss. Ice on the rocks. Will it finally snow? There has been no snow yet in the Finnish archipelago, which is unusual even though it’s likely the new normal. Walking through the forest, I try to forget my dumb tics and habits. I want to commune with nature but I do not know how. Some lizard-brained part of me wants to pull out my telephone and look for new headlines, new information.

Strange being someplace so remote while the familiar static of American dysfunction continues to wallpaper my day, thanks to my compulsion to check the news, refresh my feeds, and tune in to today’s two-minute hate. I’ve spent the best years of my life in thrall to the idiot logic of the internet. A sobering thought. At some point while I wasn’t paying attention, my screen became the real world. Online eclipsed offline. The internet’s noise and exhaust tints every thought like a window left open in the back of the mind. Perhaps the physical world exists solely to support our digital habits now that most of us move through space either staring into screens or thinking about our virtual personas and obligations. Maybe deep down we just want to be alone with our phones.

Social media has pushed everything to extremes, a binary choice of like or don’t like, follow or unfollow, send or delete. The way we speak about technology itself mirrors the raw logic of the addict: use or don’t use. Nobody says, “I’ll only look at Twitter on weekends.” Sometimes it feels like an ultimatum: Embrace the pixellated noise of the future without complaint or grieve for the textures of the past. And I’m stuck in the familiar stage of addiction where I know it’s not good for me yet I do it anyway. I do my best to stare at a tree for a few minutes before returning to the ferry house to check my email.


Various Artists – Erosion 2

Decay Product | Chain Reaction, 1997 | Hardwax

Elegant reverberations from the days when techno was served in metal cases by anonymous producers with intentionally obtuse monikers such as Various Artists.

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