Arthur and Marilouise Kroker
Fast Trip to Slow Suicide
Slow down for a fast trip on a slow ride to suicide. Gone through every fashion look in the video book: grunge, preppy, rapper, raver, extreme, street. Worn my Tommy, Ralph, and Calvin, A/X, XS, and all the rest. Eaten every fast food a million times. Heard every song. Seen every scene. God died, and sex is dead. No place to pierce. No body to hide. No drug to take. No word to read. No poetry to sing. It's a slow ride to suicide.
Image the world, but understand nothing.
The real can no longer keep up to the speed of the image. Reality shudders and collapses and fragments into the vortex of many different alternative realities: some cybernetic, some designer, some residual, some an outmoded stock of the vanishing real.
Today, things have speeded up to inertia.
Speed economy, but slow jobs. Speed images, but slow eyes. Speed finance, but slow morality. Speed sex, but slow desire. Speed globalization, but slow localization. Speed media, but slow communication. Speed talk, but no thought.
Image vectors entrap us, entrance us, and disappear us in an electronic labyrinth of the red sky night.
The Slow Mirror of Speed
we have not escaped and will never overcome the fatal destiny of the law of reversal... the faster the tech, the slower the speed of thought... the more accelerated the culture, the slower the rate of social change... the quicker the digital decomposition, the slower the political reflection... the more apparent the external speed, the more real the internal slowness... delirious speed and anxious slowness..a split reality... accelerating digital effects are neutralized by deaccelerating special human effects... digital reality spins out of control, human reality slow-burns back to earth... speed bodies and slow vision... speed flesh and slow bones... speed web and slow riot... the slow mirror of speed
It might be a slow ride to suicide but it's a fast trip to digital delirium.
Remember when you were a kid and you first heard the story that everyone was born with a double, a twin? If you were like us, you probably daydreamed about finding your double in a far off exotic land.
Recently, we were thinking about the childhood myth of finding your double while watching a French television documentary on twins. In particular, there was one set of female twins who talked evocatively about the constant 3-D mirror imaging of themselves, where every beauty and imperfection, every lump and line, was magnified one hundred times in stereoscopic imagery. Each twin was a living mirror to the other, with a biological need to see. A closed circle of two, always dressing the same, always sleeping in the same bed, always sharing the same lover, like a nerve connection between two bodies that could be one; even answering the phone with "It is us."
The twins talked with real emotion about the special pleasure that came with touching one another's skin, a pleasure they didn't experience with the same intensity when touching their own skin, and never when touching someone else. As they explained, touching one another's skin was like touching your own, only better.
Twinness was their being.
Sound familiar? Think about the most avant-garde of computer hackers wearing digital gear as part of the body apparatus, feeling a twinness with the machine - an overriding need not to be a machine but to be twinned with one. Digital twins with mirrored identities for a time when digital reality can be your twin, a long lost, but for that matter always desperately sought out electronic double in the digital vortex. Like those hackers at MIT's Media Lab involved in the "Body Net" project: actually externalizing the electro-magnetic field of the body only to better mirror themselves electronically with a digital Other. Not skin on skin, but skin on synthetics. Or those other extropians and futurists and uploaders who are determined to interface human flesh with digital reality - heads as passive terminals for virtual cellular telephones, hands embedded with electronic bank cards, DNA as a living computer matrix. It has always been assumed that computer hackers - cyberboys - have been motivated by a strong desire to dump human flesh, to mutate their skin, taking autistic shelter in an electronic homeland of their own creation.
But we don't think this is true, or, even if it is, it is certainly incomplete, and not complex enough to capture the mythical, even psychoanalytical processes, involved in inventing the digital future. In the same way that the French twins abandoned individual identity in favor of a life of the doubled Other, the digital uploader has found his double in the electronic womb. In the electronic mirror, digital and human reality have been twinned: the interface is complete between human and synthetic identity.
Or, as hackers involved in the Body Net project like to say: "It is us."