Somatophobia pt. III

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Do you think Glass will change how artists perceive their own art, if they use it? 

Molly Crabapple: Drawing while wearing Glass is incredibly distracting. You keep having this Pavlovian drive to look at the little image on the glowing cube, as opposed to the big world in front of you, which is really one of the downfalls of mobile tech in general. When it’s hacked to run uStream, the little image in the Glass is the same as what’s in front of me in the real world — and I find myself wanting to look at that little image.

Are there going to be contact lenses in 10 years that use facial recognition to tie people to their Facebook accounts?

Was it hard to narrow your focus to exclude the Glass? And, if so, do you think that it’s going to be difficult for others as well? 

Crabapple: Very hard. I think that’s the point: to colonize daily life and make it seamless with the network. Even the term “Explorers Program” is unintentionally sinister. Explorers historically haven’t been neutral. They’ve been the shock troops for an empire taking over a new place.

Is it bad that Google wants to insert more Internet into our lives? 

Crabapple: I wouldn’t moralize like that. It’s Google’s nature. Companies want more market share. [What if] you could make reality itself that thing you get market share of?

[…]Which is incredible, from a technological point of view. Crabapple: It really is. That’s the fascinating, fantastic part of it. It’s black magic, the world literally from another’s eyes.

 

from CNET interview, December 2013 

 

To get a “true” photo, you need to remove artifice. This means removing art. Art’s opposite is bulk surveillance. Drones, CCTV, ultra-fast-ultra-high-res DSLR, our fingers stroking our iPhones or tapping at Google Glass. Omnipresent cameras suction up reality without curation. We’re at the finest time in history to see stars, or anyone, photographed looking like hell. 

For women, this surveillance is far harsher than posed artificiality. Under the regime of phone cams, you must be ever photo-ready. Never wrinkle your forehead. Never let your belly out. When Jezebel pays for leaks of raw photos, they mirror tabloids that mock famous cellulite. Noble justifications aside, both rip away a woman’s control over her own image. Both profit off nonconsensual exposure. Behind both is a nasty whisper: “You pretended to be perfect. We caught you. You are not.”

Media concern-trolls Photoshop’s effect on teen girls. Meanwhile, teen girls use iPhone retouching apps to construct media of themselves. 

A teen girl knows the lies behind photography best. When she takes selfies, she’s teaching herself what were once trade secrets. Now she’s the one who angles, crops, and blurs. 

 

Molly Crabapple, from VICE magazine, May 2014

 

It seems as though a woman’s best friend is the filter. Empower oneself by casting away the harsh modes of reality, harness your surveillance to curate a sense of self. You do not exist. You are what you make yourself. In this world, a woman is simultaneously untouched and completely dominated by market forces, forces that allegedly transcend morality. Without the body, without a sense of self to ground her, a woman is both the center of the world while also absolutely nothing at all. The empowered woman in this world is an entrepreneur, smart enough to capitalise off her transient, photoshopped sexiness. Shill for profit, preaching the just neutrality of the markets. The new feminist is a spear for empire, empty and unstoppable, oblivious to the forces that drive her. Attempting to argue one’s agency while being hurtled through the air towards a no-fly-zone. 

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