Tom here. I intend to riff a little on what Kaitlin put in her inaugural post regarding digital space, while later establishing some of my long-standing queries.
There is a portion of my mind that rather sees the space of the digital realm as something between a shadowbox and the chthonic, a sort of magical realm or pseudomagical domain that arises out of a bifurcation, chimerical or not, of the Real and the Not-Real. Chimerical because we create and project into this space – this space phenomenologically cannot exist outside of our existence (verily, because there is no power source or infrastructure in place to power all spaces of the digital indefinitely and perpetually) – and allow the space to manifest to our whim and purpose, finished when we are (Objects within the Real do not so adeptly and readily bend to our presumption and dogma); Not-Chimerical because there is a liquidity in the permanence as it appears to outlive – it could outlive its Subject or exist completely independent of its Subject, it could outlive its Object whether through obsolescence or irrelevance (though I’m acutely aware of some of the inconsistencies here regarding inside/outside existences). So, we have a crisis of existence of the ephemeral from the outset. This is a fancy way of starting off, here.
Then, there is the portion of my mind that has difficulty imagining manifestations of identities and applications of place or prominence within the digital. Tracking identity is an exercise in fragmentation and fluidity in the world of the Real as it is; when we get to a state where polymorphism and consistent, perpetual morphology as a static device of being is expected and perhaps demanded, it gets of course just that much more difficult. The Hyperreal is the home and hearth; Baudrillard is vindicated in the primary arguments posited in “Hypermarket and Commodity” and Has Everything Already Disappeared?: the sign system of the Real collapses and we navigate a maze of hologram and holograph (and holophone, even), uncertain of any basis. Time and time again, fact appears destroyed and fact becomes irrelevant, thank in huge part to the quickness and ease of digital speech; the meme culture as virus infects the certification and verification of the lived experience, from everything from “You cannot trust everything you read on the Internet” (Abraham Lincoln?) to whether the Royal Wedding happened to copy Disney’s Cinderella. (Self-reference alert.) Beyond this, we have the self-extension, the Real-Beyond into digital space – manifestation of the self into the hypergnosis and hyperspaces: creating an artificial or aspirational being of ourselves on social media; controlling a mechanical shadow-self by self-empathizing mechanically (that was weird to type); legitimizing a collective or individual digital sociopathy and schizophrenia when such things get unhealthy or exceed what is acceptable (a term that is, of course, loaded and undefined and perhaps impossible to disentangle within the digital). There is an extension of the self, a psychic/phantom self, that (re)emerges as a schema-psyche-kairos junction-self in the digital; this is the self that obfuscates the Real from the digital-Real; this is the self that takes personally the death of a character in Warcraft; this is the self that spends hours perfecting and pruning Tweets to present an ideal character unportrayable by humans; this is the self that undergoes therapeutic chrysalis, catharsis, and transformation in the realm of the digital; this is the self that subtly inverts paradigms of authenticity and begins to influence comportment and existence in the Real. This is far more than MMORPG or Twitter or self-identifying as the protagonist in a video game.
So, what the hell does this have to do with music?
We go back to the elementals of space and origin in this regard. But My hour of blogging I allotted myself thus far for the week has expired. I will pick this up later, apropos to music; however, I turn it back to K so that I can clarify, if I need, some comments I made so far, or receive leading questions on how this all points back to sonic art.