Thursday, July 21, 2011

The playwright Richard Foreman used the image of 'pancake people' to describe what it feels like to be 'spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button'. He contrasts this with the rich interior depths of the educated self shaped by a predominantly literary culture, where identity is complex and 'cathedral-like'. Certainly as I sit in front of this computer I feel stretched and stressed by the options available. My self and the screen are one; the various pages and windows simultaneously open add up to the picture of 'contineous partial attention' (the term coined by Microsoft executive Linda Stone to describe the fragmented consciousness caused by multitasking). It's the 'present' I inhabit that really feels stretched thin, a here-and-now pierced by portals to innumerable potential elsewheres and elsewhens.

Simon Reynolds: Retromania. Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past

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