The Facebook Polis
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4. Each subject exists at a not-insignificant remove from equilibrium in the Facebook Polis. The addition of friends known and unknown; the multiplying of relations around a particular node or series of nodes — that is, the development of severals within a multiplicity, each with its own intensity; the steady release of new technologies or interfaces; all of these and more push the expression of the space and its myriad produced subjectivities to disequilibrium. The steady rhythm of signal modulation that is one’s wall (dermis) offers the illusion of an equilibrium or homeostasis to soothe what is otherwise the stress of the system.
5. Virilio’s stereoscopics of “here” and “now” are not so much spatiotemporal coordinates on or off the network, but rather qualities of relation(s) in changing modes of embodiment. This suggests they each provide differential modes for *breathing*, either artfully inspired or expired. The Facebook Polis offers one such potential “now” for breathing as a form of political action.
6. Today we are all “creators,” all able to see ourselves extended into the data networks of the ludic-synthetic. In other words, all complicit in the creation of a new mirror — a slightly kaleidoscopic mirror, mind you — but one that captivates us like Narcissus long beyond that mirror phase of childhood. Like the two-way sort used in clinical psychology, however, this new era of the interactive is at once mirror and screen, at once opportunity for enclosed self-contemplation and open performance. For we all know what lurks behind the silvering of this new mirror in the Facebook Polis and that is the gaze: sometimes manifest as benevolent glance and sometimes as cold, clinical, unblinking stare. Always performance.
Narcissus never suspected that Echo was swimming below the surface of the pool, but we know better.
7. This blur between mirror and screen is perhaps best understood in the language used to describe it: “one-way mirror”, “two-way mirror”, “one-way glass” and “two-way glass” are all used interchangeably, two sets of complete opposites in recombination to express the same concept. The fragmented subject only finds confusion in its attempts to articulate its relation to the interface; even with this 2x2 matrix the concept eludes us. Political action in the Facebook Polis must consider both the material element of this membrane between gesture and vision as well as its relative opacity in approaching the speed of light — the panoptic space is obsolesced by our very reflection.
posted in no particular order, these aphorisms are the beginnings of a microbook-in-progress for Delere Press, a boutique e-book publishing venture by Jeremy Fernando and Yanyun Chen