Technology and Time

Hayles chapter, Contexts for Electronic Literature, grapples with the relationship between technology and the body, and she brings a lot of interesting metaphors into her discussion.  The section I found most interesting was her discussion of time and spatiality.  Hayles states that “time ceases to be constructed as a universal “now” conceived as a point source moving unambiously forward along a line at a uniform time and place” (pg 97).  To try and separate time from a forward linear movement is an interesting idea, especially since technology is often connected to movement into the future, and separation from the past.  Her analysis of Global Finance as  microcosm for her discussion of technology and the body, where she claims that “the screens function as temporalized “places” traders occupy” and that “time in these circumstances becomes the spatialized parameter in which communities are built and carry out their business” (pg 96).  Traders in this case occupy a unique space, where they interact with the screens, which function as an extension of their bodies, as what could almost be consider an alternate reality.

Later in the chapter, Hayles’ discusses the modern human and technology, and how “the evolution of Homo sapiens has co-developed with technologies” and that “modern humans literally would not have come into existence without technology” (pg 112).  This argument and her discussion of time are interrelated as we see how development, time, technology, and the human body are all intertwined.  The connection between the body and technology is a historical one, but technology has manipulated our conception of not only time, but the body itself.  How we define identity and the body is often directly related to technology.  As Hayles describes with the traders, their attachment to the screen becomes highly addictive, and part of their self-hood.   Even now, I think our identities are often informed by and connected to technologies.  This has become increasingly apparent with the rise of the internet.  Even beyond the obvious examples of things like myspace and facebook, when you meet a person for the first time, you might ask “what movies do you like, what music do you listen to, etc.”  Our interactions with technology have always been connected to our identities, and the formation of the body.  I think it’s just become increasingly obvious with the internet, as we have been able to take snap shots of ourselves, and place them on a platform for others to see.

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