“Yes, ask your magic mirror. The intelligent agents at your command behind the digital interface reveal worlds that mirror our own and those that accrete purely out of imagination.”
06 January 2016
[Original post no longer available. Tiny Donkey is defunct.]
Location has collapsed through digital technologies.
My latest fairy tale and technology-related essay “Magic Mirrors on Every Wall” has been published on Tiny Donkey.
The full essay is reprinted below.
Editor’s Note: Magic Mirrors on Every Wall
Locations are connected by wormholes.
Ask Neil Postman, media theorist. The space between local and distant collapsed when news from Washington, D.C. first made its way to Baltimore along telegraph lines and was printed in the Baltimore Patriot that same afternoon of May 25, 1844. Postman writes that “The paper concluded its report by noting: ‘…we are thus enabled to give our readers information from Washington up to two o’clock. This is indeed the annihilation of space.’”1
Ask Amber Case, cyber anthropologist. While writing her anthropology thesis on cellphones she “realized that everyone was carrying around wormholes in their pockets. They weren’t physically transporting themselves; they were mentally transporting themselves. They would click on a button, and they would be connected as A to B immediately.”2 As quickly as electrons and photons and your ability to keep up, your mind, your voice, your image, your avatar, and soon a wholly immersed you are whisked to worlds of sensation and experience via wormhole smart devices, gaming consoles, and virtual reality head-up displays and body gear.
Yes, ask your magic mirror. The intelligent agents at your command behind the digital interface reveal worlds that mirror our own and those that accrete purely out of imagination. Examine the maps they provide. Take a simulated trip. Follow the route and explore the destination long before you physically arrive.
Arrive. Stay. Come back. Leave again. Travel even further. Never come home again. Wormhole possibilities lead to hybrid realities where the analog and physical real world and the digital and virtual new worlds layer or merge or vanish into one another. These realities are not limited to their sights and sounds but with haptics and brain-machine interfaces and other emerging technologies your skin is a new skin, like your tongue, like your nose and ears and eyes and all the other ways in which your physiology lets you sensate. Like sudden stars surrounding your person, upon your person, within your person, wormholes remap location and destination and body. What will you construct out of your realities? Will you find a home, or the horror of an endless virtual? At every destination on every wall a magic mirror, this hall of mirrors, this potential and this labyrinth.
When you arrive so easily, can you arrive where you wanted to go?