". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sense8, Ex Machina and Prophet Gibson

Watching Sense8 has been such a slog that days, weeks, and now, over a month has gone by since watching an episode.  I don't recall which episode I viewed last but then netflix does that for me. :)

Part of the problem for this viewer is it looks like the sort of video loops that play at a rave, or a Burning Man event. The series is not located in the kind of world most people inhabit, but a pick-and-choose-your-own-adventure global picture post card world, with neither cause nor effect as to what shows up, other than it looks pretty and / or exotic.

It broadcasts the world-view of those for whom it seems climate change, loss of human work, etc. are never considered because they exist at the levels where they aren't affected by it. That little is left of the natural world doesn't much matter for these are the sorts that are most comfortable existing in an entirely constructed artificial space where the sensory comes through jacks and shunts of one sort or another directly to the brain, not through the senses of hands, eyes and ears, but highly elegant or gory simulacrum of experience:  games, television, graphic novels, fashion and so on. These are the sorts that populate William Gibson's novels, who are thoroughly at home in this post-natural world of pixels and constant, complete connection.  So are Sense8's creators and writers, the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski.

Lately I've been thinking of Sense8 in this aspect of sensory and other experience, along with Ex Machina. The the local shops' windows are already becoming inhabited with a fantasy of autumn fashion (despite we have cooling shelters and so on practicing right now due to the heat, pollution and humidity).

More than  few of these windows are centering the new mannequins, fashioned after the unclothed, unfleshed AI constructs of Ex Machina.  Some of the windows have even left out the clothes the stores supposed are selling, leaving the space empty other than an artistically arranged collection of cyber limbs and a naked torso that reveals the inner working of the technology.

Fashion, like this almost present world of AIs, the internet of things and Sense8, is a world of infinite possibilities, a series of masques on the walls of an infinite series of halls.  Or, as the NY Times reported this weekend "Fashion Finds a More Perfect Model: The Robot." The title of the slide show is, "So Much Like Humans, Only Better."

However, cranky moi has never found a single the DJ music experience even remotely the splendid, transcendent, transformational experiences she's had from living, human musicians playing together. One uses what others make, and the musicians make it. With human musicians even the gods come down to dance with us.

This is essential to humans, but not to AI's or robots or androids.

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