Feb 16 • 11M

Trust and the internet

building lies that are never really true

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A break from bad news for bites of other pleasures.
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Reseeded Prairie in Foreground, Bison Roaming Nachusa Grasslands in Midground, Byron Generating Station in the Background. Photo: Rachel Wolfe

Time and date stamping has been a useful tool in detailing records for archives. The publishing process used to be arduous with duration and length, edited by a notion of a singular origin. Authors, artists, musicians are always working on constellations amongst groups-and this complex networking simplistically ascribed as a cooperation amongst psyches. Are the narratives measurable through the results of motives? How much can dates matter when the calendars of the Gregorian cycle are so different from the lunar calendar?

In publishing haikus, I wrote on creme coloured paper, in a red covered, staple bound, Fabriano notebook, in 2015. What details matter? Do they all matter? Ken Lum, is an artist out for my heart working to reveal what I have always felt in my bones: Everything matters.

I have been incessantly reminded of the vulgarity of the time and date stamping mechanism on the internet. While publishing poems on my blog, with mistranslations to Norwegian, then I select some poems and post them on twitter. I doubt the small number of followers notice-because how can someone notice things amongst the pounding flood of information seeking to connect with attention? Machine learning and computer programs are supposed to scan the internet to visualise patterns, but do those machines pick up on the same random nuances a human does?

And when it comes to love, matters of our embodied lives, these moral and ethical issues of trust touch us deeply. The lines between acceptable and abuse, confinement and contentment, nurture and acceptance are all in play when it comes to the open field of trust, and, of course, the internet.

Now, I have come to understand the attitude toward first person positions as having less weight, value, or significance in the field of scientific data gathering. The individual, or anecdotal stories, and messages are often written off as errant data sets, yet anomalies have points. And each point, such as a stone in the water…matters. Those ripples go somewhere.

Proclaimed clarity, however, is something I came to distrust as a given-particularly because I have noticed how easy it is to fabricate times and dates. Fabrications are inherently creations, and they are formed not from a slow orgasmic organising of biological processes, but expedited through our technocratic means. So I am reaching into this chasm between the biological and technological and wondering what logical links can be formed.

Meanwhile, incessantly puzzled by the inherent acceptance of dating systems, tending to privilege physical exchanges, versus abstract lines — for example differences between carbon dating versus a Gregorian calendar. Without veering into totalitarian ideas of date systems, I only mention these things, as they are parts of a confluence of world views and narratives that have apparently given energy to harboured distrust.

This condition has become apparent because of the relative verbal assaults and accusations popular in social media and published forms of communication. If distrust had a form, perhaps it would appear to our bodied lives as craters, rifts, divides, and traumas.

Empirical experience, I was there, this is what I found, doesn’t seem so bad does it now. I often wonder if the distrust of an individual position, was born of an orchestration, playing a tune under our noses we all started to dance to without question. When communication becomes about points, sharp ends, and objects, the deeper flowing meaning of communing, coming together becomes lost.

So who becomes the anointed one, the Heraclitus of our time, to point out the loss? Does individual negligence to loss relate to the abdication of responsibility? the loss is not worth noticing (as so I have witnessed and heart in horror as if the other densities of reality were not actually there). In denying the ineffable, do more individual voices fear to speak up? And does this fear give rise to the violent voices gaining more attention than peaceful ones?

What is the point?

I often ask why does there need to be a point unless we are at war? So when it comes to date and time stamping, trust, is what is at stake: don’t you think? where are our choices and actions, complicit or conscious, leading?

The image above this block of text, requires closer (ideally in person) viewing. The brownish spots are roaming bison. Nearby my childhood home, the Nachusa Grasslands have been a conservation effort to recover and heal histories that occurred on those Illinoisian fields. When I tell friends there are bison roaming beneath nuclear power cooling towers, it sounds like I’m reading from a science fiction novel. But it’s not. It’s real, because people put it there.

I want to do something about the hysteria I’ve witnessed lately-and at times experienced in my body as well, but I don’t always know what is the right thing to do.

Only 8 years ago, did I set out to undo myths, to understand the signs, subjects, and find the truth about how world histories are transposed, how records and people are manipulated to believe. Belief- is something I had sought to live without which seemed to negate the meaning of words themselves. But it was a logical fallacy, you see. I can still use these small words, with the aid of a dictionary, and the source of 1000s of books to realise, every choice and action can be traced to a motive.

In my artistic practice, I work with the nature of desire. And I look for the desires which are real and which are not. Ideologically these questions are not merely but rather philosophically impossible to locate because desire not influenced by media is almost rare (if not impossible) to touch. Every word, image, impression, and story becomes the next generations’ material to base their future off of. And so if we can make up dates, times, events, I worry and understand why there the lack of trust proliferates our internet-of-things lives.

What is my point anyway? The point, as I wrote in another essay, is to not have a point unless I needed to hunt to survive. But I don’t because I live in a city with grocery stores that annihilates a memory of a hunger so strong to kill for. I gratefully, was raised with a hunter of deer and was offered the insight to think about such things, so I don’t panic at the onset of hunger nor worry if I felt such pangs.

To call the aspirations humans are lunging for a utopia, seem to inherently call upon the grounds that we can refer to as trust. And in the absense of belief, we have reality. Reality being that which exists regardless of what is thought.

So while we are connected on illuminated screen-boxes and through our individual motives, nascent desires are not longer considered sinful because the result of restrait tends to bring about hedonism otherwise known as pulling back the ordained to reveal the underlying chaos.

Looking at what was, time or date stamp aside, maybe the film can still show something true-when there are values such as regrowing a prairie, understanding eco-systemic thinking, and looking at how time and date stamps inform or disarm the future.