I love you.
I want action!
…to die in the gallows when this trial ends.
—Script by Paul Mayersberg
Have you ever felt vertigo sitting still on a chair with your eyes fixed on a screen, vertigo lying in bed, just awake, scrolling down a never-ending screen? The world spins so fast in front of your eyes, with your finger setting the tempo, that when you stop looking it seems it’s you disappearing and not the world. I’m not on the timeline, ergo, I don’t exist. I’m an alien in my own planet. I’m David Bowie in The Man who Fell to Earth. I crashed down there and there wasn’t even dust; I’m so immaterial that I leave no footprints on the ground. The only steps that can be traced are digital ones; the only limbs valid are technological prosthesis. Memories are stored there; my feet are only recognised as my feet if I turn them into binary code through my view finding eye. My gestures will be my gestures if I transcribe them on the screen; if you don’t see them, they don’t exist; if I don’t see them there, I think I’ve ceased to exist.
I’ve chosen this GIF with the -– huh, quite old news -– topic of the excess of information because it reminds me of Ozymandias in Watchmen trying to predict the future by watching all TV channels. And also of those emojis in Facebook that seem to be my only means of external reaction when I’ve been locked up writing for too long. When the bloody dialog box with the options I like it/I’m angry at it… with which I can express my opinion of something opens up, before I’ve been able to even assimilate that opinion. Like Neo in the Architect’s room, with tons of screens anticipating his gestures, before the muscles of his face, frozen as it is, start to contract.
Wise man Daniel Tammet said – not because I say it, but because he was diagnosed this condition – that “the mind depends on information in the same way that the body needs to be fed” – and I’m full to the brim with this kind of kilocalories –.“Any data, number, idea or image, history or statistics helps to conform our memories and perceptions. In a strict sense, thus, data are destiny.” A destiny to nowhere, unless you have a map.
Funnily enough, Jon Savage also mentioned this sequence on his book England’s Dreaming: “David Bowie, as Newton, begins to lose its precepts. He forgets why he is on earth and begins to succumb to the seduction of pleasure. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Newton lolls back in his chair, booze-blitzed, and becomes immersed in a vast ocean of white noise emanating from dozens of television sets with a myriad moving pictures. In 1976 England, this was definitely futuristic -simultaneously exciting and terrifying – and this duality of response corresponded to Punk’s simultaneous fascination with, and condemnation of, the media: a contradiction that would play out with predictable results as Punk became assimilated into the media industries. And now that we’re all Newtons, isn’t it a bore?” A bore? Not at all! In any case, it’s quite a funny and mad thing.
“Many people lack a coherent vision of the world from which to evaluate and assimilate new information” – and us punks are quite incoherent and stupidly anarchic –. “That is why it is possible that information excess hasn’t got so much to do with quantity as with our incapacity to know what to do with it.” – To do what with what? Sorry, I’m going mad with so much information – “This might be due to the usual confusion between information and ideas. […] These fragments of information acquire their full meaning when they contribute to something bigger than themselves.” Bigger than humanity? I can only think of something transcending – the same place Bowie must be at right now – and coming from the stratosphere. Maybe we could send all these data there!