World Porn: global intimacy and mass self-communication
Silicon Valley is responsible for many of the prevailing cultural narratives of this young century. The explosive and unwavering evolution of Moore’s Law and its many side-effects has emboldened digital media corporations and their leaders to become outspoken advocates of specific political ideas, enacting specific policy agendas with the might, self-righteousness and impunity of yesterday’s industrial Barons.
This peculiar mix of warm fuzzy hippie morals and better-protect-yo-neck ultracapitalism - what Barbrook and Cameron correctly identified as The Californian Ideology - has of late been focusing its efforts on the hot topic of global internet access. The narrative is always the same, whether in the extravagant form of Google’s Project Loon or in the slightly scarier Facebook idea of long-flight solar-powered drones: internet access is going to “connect the world” and improve the lives of millions of people in rural and remote areas, finally including them in the “global community” that is The Network.
The vision is usually depicted like this: some Black African individual or community is faced with an apparently insurmountable problem, often related to labor or disease, often to the sound of a moving New Age ukulele tune. The situation is dire. Then, with the flick of a screen, The Internet comes along and a whole new world of information is revealed. Local wisdom is then joyfully updated and this new-found knowledge becomes the stepping stone for a new era of self-reliance.
Never mind the swiss-cheese holes in that vision, related to techno-determinism, digital exploitation, or the White West Coast borderline-racist fixation with "Africa". There is another gaping void in this utilitarian, functionalist project and depiction of unconnected poor people: it totally disregards the basic human need, will, and tendency to have fun with technology. Case in point: the global explosion of digital self-produced sexual media content, otherwise known as amateur porn.
Abundance never travels alone. When we speak about digital divides and the need to connect the world, we often forget to consider what that particular victory condition looks like. How it will generate a whole new breed of interrogations and paradoxes. The rise of informationalism, despite all the noble imagery coming out of Mountain View, is not confined to the domains of labor and disease eradication. Software takes command of every aspect of human lives and it starts precisely by messing up the old-school Maslow hierarchy of needs and desires. You get mobile connected cameras in the hands and bedrooms of millions of people, don’t expect things to remain quiet.
Pornhub has stats. 1.68 million visits every hour. 63.2 billion videos watched in 2013. That’s YouTube serious. Pornhub is a vast network of channels that serve every kind of porn genre known to mankind. The fact that they have their own yearly statistics report speaks plenty about how important sexuality is, in this global internetworked community of ours. For people who have been online for a decade or so, knowing that the United States, Europe and Japan are big pornography consumers shouldn’t really come as a surprise. The real news is all the newcomers, all the colored, the poor people, the emergent markets and their enthusiastic smartphone-enabled digital intimacy sharing.
For all its traffic analysis and goofy horny variables, Pornhub is mostly useful to this conversation if you’re looking at consumer trends, but that’s not where the real frisky electronic action is. Innovation happens in dark corners, in the shadow of big business and in the most unpredictable gatherings. If you really want to know about World Porn, you need to look at XVIDEOS.
XVIDEOS doesn’t have a glossy yearly report or an efficient team of statisticians, but it’s not a mom-and-pop store operation, either. Extremely aware of what time it is, they make their entire database available in machine-readable format, as well as a real-time feed of published videos. For some unfathomable reason that future historians will have to confront, the site has become a major access point of emergent porn, global south raunchiness, pixelized and grainy mobile uploads shot from Lima to Lagos, from Rio to Baghdad, Kigali to Mumbai. Behold the connectedness.
What is it about the digital that provokes this degree of openness and sharing? What are all these faces and sounds saying about the network, about themselves, to themselves and all those able to see? What does the software do with all this heat, where does it take these whispers, these orgasms, these unknowing, unwilling or proud confessions of our human presence on the grid?
People who mourn the Great Loss of Privacy have either never been down one of the many labyrinths of World Porn or they’re lying shamelessly to their peers. It only takes a few minutes on one of these channels to realize that the powerful ability to produce and communicate our own networked images, our own interconnected versions of reality, has little or no regard for whatever categories existed in the now forever-lost analog cultural distinction between the public and the private.
This is not to say that the Facebook version of the “privacy is dead” argument is somehow devoid of malice and commercial intent, but it does mean that if one billion people share their personal lives in one way, you can bet that a billion more will continue to do so in a variety of fashions. Ubiquitous access to media software and devices is only the first step.
When we talk now, we are aware of each other. We know that the network is watching and listening, that it can host both our work and our play, our secrets and our struggles. To connect is to accept the unpredictable, the mundane, the revealing of the invisible, and it always works both ways. The abyss gazes back.
Connecting requires us to let go.
Noise Problems is a music label based in Amsterdam. It is dedicated to electric and amplified music of all kinds, recorded live or in the studio. From experimental post-rock to some solid electronic beats, the label has a vast catalog of over 100 recordings of bands from all over the world. Noise Problems prides itself on delivering only high-quality releases, mixed and mastered according to the old codes, the ancient crafts of analog tapes and the new vortex of digital processing.
Since 2007, Noise Problems has been documenting much of the independent and alternative European live music scene. Despite the current economic and political regime, cultural events keep flourishing all across Europe, often the result of the effort of non-profit organizations, institutional patronage and grant programs, and the massive creative will of hundreds of passionate artists. That networked movement has been defined by some as the Epic Underground.
This recorded body of work has been collected in the mythic six-volume collection Noise Problems Selections, a wide-ranging compilation that celebrates the label’s 50th release. There you can find bands like The Ray Pacino Ensemble, Vortex Rex, and The New Age Peasants.
Noise Problems has also been a long-time curator of the Free Music Archive, an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads. The Free Music Archive is a platform for collaboration between WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America, and a group of fellow curators.
Check out Noise Problems:
Sábado, dia 29 de Março 2014:
A seguir à Oficina de Escrita Criativa guiada por Rafael Dionísio (informação AQUI), a stress.fm vai oferecer mais um serão musical, desta vez com a presença de Dimos Vryzas, que nos trás de Tessalónica o seu projecto a solo UNSHAPED_AHEAD.
Com UNSHAPED_AHEAD, Dimos apresenta-nos algumas vozes com que se foi cruzando nas suas viagens. Por cima da base sonora criada com o violino, pedais de efeitos e computador, surgem múltiplos contos e histórias, todos eles gravado por ele e transportados em formato digital.
O concerto começa às 20h e vai ser emitido em directo no stream da stress.fm.
A acompanhar, vamos ter comes & bebes.
Vídeo resumo da FACA - Festival de Antropologia Cinema e Arte.
A stress.fm apresenta:
Oficina de Escrita Criativa - Libertar as Palavras, por Rafael Dionísio
Sobre a oficina:
Esta é uma oficina dedicada a uma introdução razoavelmente aprofundada ao mundo da palavra e da liberdade de a criar. Trata-se de motivar e sensibilizar os participantes para o universo infinito de criatividade que está à distância de um gesto no papel com uma caneta (ou qualquer outro meio de registo de escrita).
Por meio de exercícios genéricos procura-se desbloquear o papel em branco e começar a experimentar fazer textos. Numa perspectiva essencialmente prática, do lado do FAZER e não do lado do APRENDER, convoca-se os participantes a libertarem as palavras.
Rafael Dionísio tem ministrado cursos de Escrita Criativa desde 1998. Frequentou Engenharia de Minas no Técnico e Arquitectura na UTL. Na FCSH fez a licenciatura em Estudos Portugueses e é Mestre na mesma área. Aguarda provas de doutoramento na área dos Estudos Portugueses, variante de História do Livro e Crítica Textual com a tese A Produção de Ernesto de Sousa sobre Arte e Património. Além disso tem um programa na stress.fm. É também diseur e performer. Tem uma série de vídeos em linha em torno das questões da escrita. Publica livros desde o ano 2000 na ChiliComCarne e participou com dispersos em variadas publicações.
A quem se destina:
A todos os que tenham interesse em desenvolver processos criativos no âmbito da palavra escrita, tanto numa perspectiva de desenvolvimento pessoal como na perspectiva de quem aspira a construir, posteriormente, uma obra literária.
Quem pode participar?
Os que se inscreverem antecipadamente (número máximo de 7 participantes).
Sábado, dia 29 de Março, às 14h
Rua das Janelas Verdes, nº 13, 1º esq. Em Santo, Lisboa
20 euros (pagos antecipadamente)
Quem estiver interessado em participar, deve enviar um email com o máximo de brevidade para: firstname.lastname@example.org
A seguir à oficina vai decorrer um concerto e um convivio acompanhado de comes & bebes »> Mais informação brevemente disponível nos canais da stress.fm
Spies Need Love Too
a live stream by stress.fm
Lisboa, March 15th 2014 ( 2 - 4pm GMT )
surveillance is a form of presence in the public sphere
surveillance versus participation / perception versus reality
Following our talk and activities about media and the public sphere at Generative Indirections, we now wish to record and simultaneously live-stream all the conversations happening at Open Office - a two-day event that looks at the performative aspect of all kinds of meetings and at the different ‘meetings’ that are implied in any type of performance.
We will install and operate a listening apparatus that surveils and transmits the audio output of each one of the meetings to the internet.
Spies Need Love Too makes visible the process and methods of audio recording, acknowledges their performative elements, and challenges the notion that surveillance is somehow an external presence in contemporary society. We submit that the notions of public sphere and public space must be thought of as totalities that include the speakers and the listeners, the actors and the spectators, the protesters and the protested. We pay homage to the women and men whose job is to pay attention to what other people do.
NSA: The Decision Problem, George Dyson
The Ecuadorian Library, Bruce Sterling
The Black Stack, Benjamin Bratton