The networked self, etc

A film recommendation from Terry, followed by some thoughts from Erin B.

From Terry: Since we will be watching Her in class next Friday, I’d like to recommend another science fiction film with Scarlett Johansson, called Under the Skin. It’s also very interesting (after watching the movie) to read up on how it was covertly filmed.
Following our lecture on Mary Robinette Kowal, Mary Shelley, and especially David Eagleman’s story “Death Switch,” Erin suggests this article. In Erin’s words (for the remainder of this post),
the article deals with death, memorialisation on the internet, identity, and the dark web. Which all happen to be my key interests in personal research, especially that of online memorialisation.
I find this article to be fundamental in its ability to tie together the aspect of police officers using dead children’s identities, online identities and the formation of false selves, online memorialisation, and the hidden realms of the dark web, alongside more. This can easily be associated with the material covered in class dealing with post-humanism and the internet as an extension of self. Which leads me to my next points of interest/ key patterns; the internet as a place of mourning. Since humans are interconnected with the internet in ways which transcend and morph it only makes sense that we start to see death, since death is intertwined with all of life. The internet is ultimately a preservation ground, holding past moments in time, hidden in its abysses of coding. When you delete something it is never really gone, just like a person passing on the internet. Facebook alone holds millions of dead profiles which have been memorialised and preserved. There are even online corporations willing to plan out your online ‘burial’ for you and aide you in your cybernetic passing.
My first encounter with online death was the use of personal websites (mostly geocities hosted – R.I.P.) which were, for the most part, online tributes to a family member or loved one. These are not only fascinating specimens, but especially touching. Here are a few of my favourite, unearthed:
These all serve as basic examples, often there will also be memorials for shootings or plane crashes as well. A primary example being that of the Columbine high school shootings which occurred roughly 10-15 years ago, their second lives expiring. As well, there are memorials held within the realms of video games. Commonly, Second Life offers funerary wreaths or public memorials. Often the people will hold ceremonies as their avatars mourning alongside others.
Here is a fantastic video of a World Of Warcraft funeral (you’ll want the sound turned on as you can hear them crying through their headsets). What we are seeing here is the common human practice of mourning intertwined with cyberspace. This was inevitably bound to happen and I am so excited to be alive to watch it unfold!
I also think that it is important to underline the aspect of feminism in Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, since it is essentially a feminist piece of writing as women were gaining empowerment through technology during the late century. The entire piece underlines the melding of females with technology in order to create powerful eternal creatures. We can see today that there is a strong uprising of young feminists utilizing social media and Tumblr as a means of distribution and awareness.
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One Response to The networked self, etc

  1. Claudio says:

    Here is my own response to this topic. If I go off topic, I am putting in my own two cents from what I have read and understood.

    I also have another recommendation for a sic-fi film, which does revolve within the Her universe, and the Under The Skin. It is Called Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis. Basically, it takes about how Surrogates are used in the daily world and humans are at home controlling these robots. Whole film is great.

    Going with Erin’s article. It is interesting and odd at the same time. I do not know what exactly to think of it. Deceased children’s names are used by the police? Well, in a way I find a name is just a name and at the same time, when the officers are catching the “bad guys” who have done something wrong, and the bad guy is wondering who that name may be. (They may also believe a spirit is going within the computer to haunt them). A person’s body can be gone. But, their name, their identity will always remain.

    Post humanism maybe the topics we have covered in class. And, the films we have been mentioning. Gives us a clear understanding, that a human’s voice, finger print(s), imagination and name will never go away. Plus, it is the internet. Everything is on here. From job searches, to online discussions, to social media. A machine with memories from our past and a new memory we will have for the future. That is why, Her is an interesting film. Because, it is an emotional computer (female google) talking to us, having a mind of it’s own.

    Everything is happening here on the internet. Identity and memory will never fade away.


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