The Internet

So it is with that refrain that I acknowledge that my research contribution began as humanity switched from an analogue and loosely joined state to that of the networked electrophorus. This network is an amalgam of connections and forms which in the most part keep people apart from knowledge it seems and construct the reality of those whom it seeks to empower and ultimately overpower. The reader must therefore, in their own minds eye consider their own contribution to this electronic milieu, this cultural phenomena we have been sold called the Internet.

“… This acknowledgement begs asking how the Internet we are living as part of at present bearing any value for the constitutions or backbone for the society that we are ultimately seeking to sustain. Therein lies the most contentious aspect of my research journey none less than that of the reality or mixed realities as they would have us believe, engineered to engage and allure yet as a dystopia connecting us to a make believe, much like organised religion for centuries prior.”

It was with that fake reality in mind that I set about as an early career teacher bringing people together via electronic connections yet, from the outset, I understood that I was like a moth to a light, frantically excited by the magic of the medium yet deeply disconnected from the physical place and space within which the performance was unfolding. In many instances that role for the creative chameleon meant I was afforded access to systems and devices as they were pulled from boxes delivered across shores, off boats, out of containers and trucks into organisations promised new efficiencies and increased social dividends.

So, in 1995 I found myself deeply interested in what others called the Internet. 

All I determined it to be at the time was a loosely aligned array of information systems that seemed to be gradually connecting to each other. The idea that the electronic connections between systems could be conjoint, global it seemed to me paradoxical given that the gatekeepers to its form all held their own bastions of difference, like fortresses to their own domain of knowledge.

The earliest recount I have of a domestic connection to the internet was in 1998 through a 28.8 KBPS modem complete with audible handshake each and every time the internet was connected to the device. In those days I was using an Apple Mac 1 black-and-green screen personal computer with a grand sum random access memory of 256 kbs and a floppy disk that would save about as much as I have written in text in the last hour. 

I was writing faster than the computer could keep up and in many cases the result was quicker using a typewriter than it was the entire process of booting up the computer, learning how to use it and finally printing the manuscript. The desk bound form of the computer and its clunky, slow to activate and flickering omniscience during essay writing time seems to me to be most memorable in a domestic setting arrangement. Notably it took a great deal of persuasion I recall to remove the aging typewriter from its room bound location to another and yet fit in a bulky and noisy, heat producing object in the very same room which groaned with books and ashtrays.

It was the beginning of corporations such as Apple pushing their way into our living rooms tuning humanity is to the allure of convenience, selling us a consumer architecture, where we have as many power points for connecting devices to electricity in a home as we have food types in our internet connected fridges. So, the research journey has been one of acknowledging connection, of the cultural capital, the cultural phenomena and the cultural inclusions or exclusions that have occurred as a result of the Internet being in the age of the anthropocene or sustainocene.

As the mixed realities of this always on connection have pervaded society, there is a dire need to examine the implications for and the socio-ethical impacts of these internet enabled connections in our lives.