“Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.” ―E.M. Forster, The Machine Stops and the first book that I immediately reread thrice, when I was thirteen. It was the first book that interrupted my thought processes enough to relieve me of outside pressures. It was transient, like a mediation. Today, several new books have been released along an albeit more modern but similar vein. I am thinking of Frankisstein by Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. As well as Ian McEwan’s ‘Machines Like Me’ new release, set in 1982. This counterfactual novel sees Argentinian end the war abruptly with the Falklands becoming Las Malvinas. McEwan introduces an £86k male robot designed by Alan Turing, who in this book, has not been hounded to death for his homosexuality but instead, lauded for his technological breakthroughs. Of course it’s speculative fiction but the complexity is as disturbing as it is intelligent.
During an interview with Lisa Allardice for The Guardian, in a smart London restaurant last week, Winterson concedes, (in response to the Allardice’s statement that creating this novel (Frankisstein) would have taken her down some unlikely digital paths).“I did worry about that. Watching guys have sex with bots, female sex dolls start at around $2,000 for a really crap one”, she said, and it was no surprise to learn that they are “entirely fantasy. They’ve got huge tits and small waists and long legs, but of course what they haven’t got, and never will have, is a clitoris. They don’t have to worry about that!”
It’s interesting to me how the current crop of writing that is very much in vogue is AI based, much like mobile photography and art. Both arts mirror the trends. While the Machine Stops, represented a sci fi fantasy and immense treasured escape from my living reality, now at 50, Winterson and McEwan, along with the AI of smartphone visualisation represent, our new reality, and are the forces driving the process. Today, this mutual cultural presence is the next revolution, it is not just present within photography, it is reaching all arts. In 2015 Taylor Davidson, for Time magazine, described the camera of the future as an app, “a software rather than a device that compiles data from multiple sensors. The smartphone’s microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer and other sensors all contribute data as needed by whatever app calls on it and combines it with the visual data”. Stephen Mayes, went on to contribute “and still that’s not the limit on what is already bundled with our digital imagery. Our instruments are connected to satellites that contribute GPS data while connecting us to the Internet that links our data to all the publicly available information of Wikipedia, Google and countless other resources that know where we are, who was there before us and the associated economic, social and political activity”.
This is the life we now live, we need to ensure we flesh out, some of the moral dilemmas within the drama of everyday life and remember what makes us human. We need no one to write us an algorithm for how to treat others and how to live well, although some humans, may be all the better for it.
Thank you to all the talented artists for submitting your works to our showcase this week. If you would like your work to be considered for entry in to our weekly Mobile Photography and Art Flickr Group, please submit it to our dedicated group, here. You can also submit images to our Instagram tag for this section #mobilephotographyandimagery.
Poetic Medium, Jun Yamaguchi, David DeNagel, Caren Drysdale, Deborah McMillion, Art Noonan, Lydia Cassatt, Laila, Karen Axelrad, Eduardo Llerandi, jilllian2 – Jill Lian, Chris Montcalmo, Vladislav Niko, Paul Toussaint, Nick Kenrick, Rita Colantonio, Vadim Demjianov, Allyson Marie, before.1st.light – Jane Schultz, borsbschulz2009, Kat McClelland, Susan Detroy, Amo Passicos, Kerry Mitchell, Will Reyes, Susan Rennie, Gianluca Ricoveri, Kate Zari Roberts, Debara Splendorio, Ralf Mauvog, Peter Wilkin, Rob Pearson-Wright, Clint Cline, TheiPhoneArtGirl – Meri Walker, Rita Colantonio, Catherine Caddigan, p.a.hamel, Jormain Cady.
Music this week is ‘As the Mist Clears’©Salt of the Sound
‘Eve and Adele’ ©Karen Axelrad
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