Week 11 (Mar. 31)

DISTRACTION AND ATTENTION in late capitalism, fragmentation and the incipient virtual

HOW RECORDING TECHNOLOGY CONTRIBUTES TO DISTRACTION

1. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF STRUCTURAL LISTENING – listening altered by recording technology

Socrates: memory-destroying potential of writing (which phonography – sound&writing pursues to an EXTREME)

ALSO makes possible the distortion of a recorded work, through the ability to replay, repeat, omit, recenter

2. DISTORTING MEMORY

The concept of the instant replay (McLuhan)

Extension/grotesque distortion of the material listened to—-what scanning (rewind/fastforward) technologies make possible (McLuhan: “to select is to distort”)

ENTRAINMENT: synchronization with environmental stimuli, brain-flow synchronization

OUTSOURCING MEMORY via mobile / computing devices

3. SCHIZOPHONIA: the separation of sound from its source makes background music possible (without identification)

AND

RANDOM HAILS (such at a busy intersection, or shopping mall) which arrive at irregular intervals – novelty of the instant:

B. F. Skinner’s army of lever-pressing rats and pigeons taught us, the most irresistible reward schedule is not, counterintuitively, the one in which we’re rewarded constantly but something called “variable ratio schedule,” in which the rewards arrive at random. And that randomness is practically the Internet’s defining feature: It dispenses its never-ending little shots of positivity; ”a life-changing e-mail here, a funny YouTube video there…

BACKGROUND/FOREGROUND: the relation of distraction to space

MULTITASKING EXERCISE

VIEWING

Ryan Trecartin – A Family Finds Entertainment (distraction / fragmentation of codes)

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