Technology has a funny way of being really slow. The same oppressions, exacerbated now by this delay, are embedded in code and coding and form part of a series of 100101’s. Since coding nowadays is usually whitewashing and big data is really just white data, I insert myself in images, texts, text messages, architectural spaces, our built environment, to interact and challenge these existing codes.
Note regarding audio: In conjunction with International Studio & Curatiorial Program ISCP’s billboard offsite project ‘Amigxs,’ artist Camilo Godoy invited Ella Boureau, Susie Day, Michael Funk, Jorge Sánchez, Pamela Sneed, and Aldrin Valdez for a reading on November 28, 2017. This is the audio for Jorge’s “A wired society will have to eat cables or Una sociedad llena de cables va tener que comérselos”.
Una sociedad llena de cables va tener que comérselos
A wired society will have to eat cables
How’s that for a connection? How’s that for being connected? How’s that for time and space and distance? What the fuck are we supposed to do with all these cables? Are fishes going to eat plastic or fiber optics? Will we eat them too, when we go hungry, when all of our food has been polluted and contaminated? Will bees pollinate fiber optic cables or wires?
It’s like being deliberately handed a poisonous gift. Cables look pretty for exactly three seconds before you touch them, before you put all of your filthy fingers on them or so they will have you believe. Apple (are we going to have any of those in the future?) is stashing trillions of dollars of profits overseas and is selling you white cables. And you buy them! Is it a coincidence that all of the Apple cables are white? Apple cables turn darker and darker and break down. Things that now become nonwhite are made to look uglier and disposable with usage. Is it a coincidence? Is it coincidence that when you rip open the chords, the cables, by accident, by over usage, by boredom, you get burnt! You literally get ZAPPED! Wake up! But no, you continue plugging that phone in, you have to, you carefully put tape around it, you carefully find ways to tease the cable, you speak to it, you call it names, you baby talk it, you say, baby come on, you gotta work for me today, you gotta get that 5% charge and that connectivity. You might receive a text, you might need to listen to an audio, you might need to send that selfie, you might need to take that selfie, delete that post that didn’t get enough likes, unread a message, unsend an email, delete an email, or you might need to see the weather, which in Spanish also means to see the time. Ver el tiempo. There may be no new messages, but let’s refresh.
How does refreshing something become so fucking obsolete? You press the screen on your phone and with your index finger or your thumb you refresh. You want to see what that person you have not talked to in exactly seventy weeks has for comments, you crave to see her posts, like making your daily puritan rounds around your given Facebook guidelines. You push down and you refresh again, this time with a bit more curiosity, your blood pressure is rising a bit, you flush, you slide that index finger or your thumb down again and refresh, there’s a pause, maybe there’s no signal, but you try again. Information begins to load, you can see more tweets, more likes, more photos, more texts, more videos, more information by pushing the screen again and scrolling your index finger or your thumb down the phone, refresh and you get new tweets, refresh and you found yourself on a photo album from 2013 of that same girl you now want to defriend, refresh and you missed a post you wanted to see earlier, refresh and you try to find it, refresh and you type the name of the person you’re looking for, but first you have to refresh your recollection, first you have to ask your mind what was the name of the post you were looking for? What was it about? You google something like executive, digital poetics, NYC, and a last name. Algorithmic power gives you the most popular and paid for results brought to you by cognitive capitalism. Refresh and you see that your friend has more likes than you. Refresh one last time thinking that you might be able to get a few more likes on that political comment or post that made you think you are politically active. A couple more refreshes simply mean you have died a little. The more you refresh the more you give something up. Something has refreshed except ourselves. We did not refresh. We left a little of us behind.
When it comes to networks and social media, time and space like to have conversations between themselves and without ourselves. The physical representations of our online social networks are killing us. Time and space have morphed into the most boring individuals on the planet, let me tell you, time and space, they always want to play, but because you refreshed, you stayed with them, you didn’t see the phases of the moon, you missed the tides, you missed the tides and saying hello to the seal that came by to tell you, why am I here, it’s so fucking warm, was I supposed to go south? It’s warm everywhere now and there’s no food, says the seal, I came by to say goodbye because I’ll die, says the seal. You refreshed and I feel boiling water around me, says the seal.
There’s no reason to remove any tears, says the seal. Do you have any? When was the last time you cried? Smartphones and their cables have a way to get to them, clean them up, leave the salt behind.
I see you staring at the screen. The image lasts for so long. I begin to add different contextual spaces to you. I see you pooping holding the phone staring at the screen, you look back at me but only see a screen. I see you staring back at me now on a roller coaster, staring at the screen. You’re staring at the screen, in a massive protest against police brutality, you’re now staring at the screen at a movie theater, with a lover, pooping again, eating, hands feel heavy, you look at me, your hands are a little burnt from the usage, they become two separate smartphones. Now you can wave goodbye with your two new smartphones, with that extra connectivity, but you will need an additional cable.
Jorge Sánchez is a maricón, poet and attorney from Caguas, Puerto Rico. He lives in Newark, New Jersey, and his writings have been recently published by Printed Web, a semi-annual publication dedicated to web-to-print discourse (the full collection was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art Library in January 2017). Jorge’s writings have also appeared at La Revista of El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among others.