How to Wake Up the Bit-Shoveller: towards a cyber-artist[arsonist]’s handbook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The intellectual labourer of the late twentieth century service and culture based industries can be said to have spent their productive life in the ‘simulation’ process of “shovelling snow…cultural snow” (Murakami, Dance Dance Dance). The past twenty years have seen the rapid digitisation of all aspects of production, to the point where we are all now no more than ‘Bit-Shovellers’. This may appear as another layer in our detachment from the products of our labour, yet it is in fact merely a ‘simulation-of-simulation’, the appearance of empty appearance that disguises our more intrinsic link to our work. We deal, directly or indirectly, with code itself; that is, what we produce is nothing more than Bits. This double simulation suppresses both the individual and communication through ‘interpassivity’, with no clear solution other than the mass deletion of the digital realm. Yet how can we move past such an outright nihilistic act towards a more affirmative digital anarchism?

To understand and overcome this, we must ask three key questions: Who is the contemporary ‘Bit-Shoveller’? What causes their enforced quiescence? How can digital art provoke their consciousness as engaged subjects? Drawing on Žižek and Jameson, in concert with notions from quantum physics, this paper will posit the need for digital art to disrupt the everyday functioning of our conditioned perceptions and reveal the ‘simulation-of-simulation’ for what it is; the double mask of our own internal void as empty subjects, and thus create the opportunity for critical creativity in the digital realm to open a space for Void-Self-Consciousness and genuinely free intersubjectivity.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)84-93
JournalSanat Dünyamiz
Volume131
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this

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title = "How to Wake Up the Bit-Shoveller: towards a cyber-artist[arsonist]’s handbook",
abstract = "The intellectual labourer of the late twentieth century service and culture based industries can be said to have spent their productive life in the ‘simulation’ process of “shovelling snow…cultural snow” (Murakami, Dance Dance Dance). The past twenty years have seen the rapid digitisation of all aspects of production, to the point where we are all now no more than ‘Bit-Shovellers’. This may appear as another layer in our detachment from the products of our labour, yet it is in fact merely a ‘simulation-of-simulation’, the appearance of empty appearance that disguises our more intrinsic link to our work. We deal, directly or indirectly, with code itself; that is, what we produce is nothing more than Bits. This double simulation suppresses both the individual and communication through ‘interpassivity’, with no clear solution other than the mass deletion of the digital realm. Yet how can we move past such an outright nihilistic act towards a more affirmative digital anarchism? To understand and overcome this, we must ask three key questions: Who is the contemporary ‘Bit-Shoveller’? What causes their enforced quiescence? How can digital art provoke their consciousness as engaged subjects? Drawing on Žižek and Jameson, in concert with notions from quantum physics, this paper will posit the need for digital art to disrupt the everyday functioning of our conditioned perceptions and reveal the ‘simulation-of-simulation’ for what it is; the double mask of our own internal void as empty subjects, and thus create the opportunity for critical creativity in the digital realm to open a space for Void-Self-Consciousness and genuinely free intersubjectivity.",
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How to Wake Up the Bit-Shoveller: towards a cyber-artist[arsonist]’s handbook. / Benjamin, Garfield.

In: Sanat Dünyamiz, Vol. 131, 2012, p. 84-93.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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