The IRL Fetish

Truly great essay about the mistake in believing that “real life” is somehow divorced from “online”, and that somehow AFK is a better, more true existence. I couldn’t agree more.

In great part, the reason is that we have been taught to mistakenly view online as meaning not offline. The notion of the offline as real and authentic is a recent invention, corresponding with the rise of the online. If we can fix this false separation and view the digital and physical as enmeshed, we will understand that what we do while connected is inseparable from what we do when disconnected. That is, disconnection from the smartphone and social media isn’t really disconnection at all: The logic of social media follows us long after we log out. There was and is no offline; it is a lusted-after fetish object that some claim special ability to attain, and it has always been a phantom.

….

But this idea that we are trading the offline for the online, though it dominates how we think of the digital and the physical, is myopic. It fails to capture the plain fact that our lived reality is the result of the constant interpenetration of the online and offline. That is,we live in an augmented realitythat exists at the intersection of materiality and information, physicality and digitality, bodies and technology, atoms and bits, the off and the online.

And my favorite quote from the whole thing:

The clear distinction between the on and offline, between human and technology, is queered beyond tenability.

Read the whole thing, it’s well worth the time.

via The IRL Fetish – The New Inquiry.


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