More on the interconnected "SELF"

Last class I briefly mentioned a psychologist named Heinz Kohut in an attempt to draw a comparison between his Self Psychology theories and those Guattari's. Both authors share a distaste for Freud's traditional psychoanalytic conception of the self as a concrete and insular entity.

Kohut has not, by any means, incorporated media and technology theory into his work, yet he may have something to offer those of us who are interested in how "I" and its subjectivity may be necessarily connected with external people and concepts.

Kohut's theory of self psychology rests on the concept of the selfobject. This selfobject is generally a person who is experienced as part of yourself/"I" for narcissistic purposes. So, for example, the expected control we may have over others is somehow commensurate to the control we feel we have over our own bodies and minds. Our relationships with people serve us much more than just making us happy according to Kohut. They actually allow us to realize our intrinsic potentials because they are intertwined with our personal constitutions.

wiki we have a problem


How are we going to make a class wiki by seeing all the things we have in common and not make it like facebook? In facebook you can click on pretty much any personal information you list and it will bring up other users who have posted the same items. I like the idea of uniting our class with wiki, but I'm not sure if Wikipedia is the best way to do this.

Idea for the Wiki


After our discussion on Monday, I was thinking about how we could make our wiki actually make sense. I really like the idea of linking up our lives with each other, but I don't really understand how we could also include notes about the class. I was wondering if it would be interesting to connect in the emergence of new technology into our own autobiographical entries. When we were talking about cyborgs today, there were interesting ideas brought up about the cell phone and bluetooth. I started thinking about when I first saw and used a computer, discovered what America Online was and encountered dial-up internet. I still remember some of the feelings I had when I "discovered" and interacted with these new forms of media and technology. I think its also a good idea since there are some people in the class who have had more experience than others in dealing with technology.

cyborgs, fandom

I've been enjoying all of the cyborg readings, even if I'm still not sure I'm getting all of it. (Our class discussion did help some, though.)

Reading about cyborgs instantly makes me think of my current favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica, which is based around a war between humanity and the Cylons, their robot creations (which include models that are nearly undetectable from real humans). The idea of humanity, what separates biological humans from their unnatural counterparts, is a big theme of the show.



All right. There's a part in the Critical Art Ensemble's piece where they say something along the lines that the more that is seen, adds to the need to find what needs to be controlled and how to control it, in reference to the war machine, flesh machine, and sight machine,I believe. Then there's a pause. A finger is pointed at the brain as being "the" key for this total control of whatever it is that needs to be controlled, which reminded me of that machine created oh-so-long ago that can "read" thoughts. you go and of course this one too.

Google Earth, yay...?

Similar to ColoradoGirl's blog, I initially thought of Google Earth when they mentioned satellite imaging technologies that stores all of this visual information (apparently Gmap is also powered by Google). So if something like this is then made available to any person with access to the internet, what do you think is the utility of these accessible satellite images?

The Critical Art Ensemble argues that the technology that collects visual information has a purpose of perpetuating the war machine in order for one to maintain power and place in the world. We can see that satellite technology has been used for military purposes. And for weather purposes. Then, it was accessible to the everyday consumer for navigational reasons. Now, if Google Earth suggests to the user to search for your house, buildings, and 3D terrain, are there other reasons why this is made for online access?

Tallness as a socially selected trait in capitalist competition


One last mention of pop-culture references in regard to the Flesh Machine! I remember reading this passage in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink and feeling there were people (i.e. beautiful, tall, sexy, whatever) who are, as the Critical Art Ensemble writes, "naturally selected by the structure of society itself."
Gladwell's passage seems to really hit home the point of certain physical traits being socially selected . . . in his case, tallness. What are some other physical features that carry the same sort of connotation? Is this harmful? Is it preventable?

the plastic surgery flesh machine: now you can can have j-lo's butt


Also while reading the very interesting Flesh Machine article, I was thinking about a sort of updated eugenics: plastic surgery to mimic celebrity body parts. I think this phenomenon is really bizarre, but it seems to be a growing trend. How is this any different than weeding out unfavorably-labeled people? (Ok, yes, this banishes bad noses, not actual groups of people like the Nazi effort did, but isn't this damaging nonetheless??)
This also puts cyborg discussion back into the spotlight . . . are individuals who receive "Courtney Cox's" face through surgery really cyborgs??

Gmap: a sight machine


When reading the Critical Art Ensemble's Flesh Machine, I thought of a perfect embodiment of the sight machine . . . one that I've become creepily addicted to: the Gmap pedometer. True, this is a really scary example of how you can chart out ANY place (at least in the States) . . . but I really love seeing satellite images of familiar places, kind of in a weird voyeuristic way! (I don't know if I should admit this).
Do you guys think a tool like this invades our privacy too much? Or is it ok to have this level of visibility via the sight machine described by the Critical Art Ensemble? Type in your address and zoom in . . . maybe I'm not the only weirdo who likes/is scared by looking at my car parked in front of my house.

Some Stuff I Found Interesting

I found a series of made for YouTube videos called AfterWorldTV. I am hooked.

Old school anti-pirating videos.

The best game ever. Its really simple, yet really challenging. Planarity

We thought we would have it bad if our hard-drive got deleted. This guy has it a lot worse.

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