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Re: <nettime> Internet and Unconscious: The Psychic Interface
Pete Gomes on 4 Sep 2000 19:15:52 -0000


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Re: <nettime> Internet and Unconscious: The Psychic Interface


Margaret Penney said:
>Hi,  I had to respond to this article.
> What is said here I completely agree with..

Ideas that have any sort 'mystical' connotations have often been dismissed
or devalued in the world of the internet, mainly as they are seen as a
deluding conceptual smoke screen which distract people from looking at
more pressing issues such as power, equal net access, racial and sexual
equality, poverty, economics, problems of war, human rights and
injustices.

In fact, I completely agree.

I think the people who view notions that the Internet is a kind of 'global
brain' with suspicion are absolutely right to do so. It isn't. And the
internet isn't the collective unconscious either - or even a manifestation
of it. So I personally don't view these ideas on the relationship bewteen
psychology and the internet as mystical at all.

The Psychic Interface text was finished in 1998 and the ideas stemmed from
1996-97 when I was at the ICA in London in a New Technologies Research
Post first grappling with the internet and what kind of changes it might
cause.

I held onto the text, being given a cool and somewhat negative reception
from people in draft versions - being and feeling very out of step with
most of the dominant theoretical ideas at the time. The text seems more
relevant now.

To deny that the internet isn't beginning to have a psychological effect
on global users is unrealsitic. The most obvious example being in the
realms of sex and identity, for example.  That in turn has consequences as
to how individual people act and react in real daily life, what they can
discuss, who they are, what they feel like and so on. Essentially they
become slowly conscious of apsects of their Self, through confidence,
repetition, exploration on line etc.

I think the idea of a psychic interface in relation to analytical
psychology is a starting point. There are psychic interfaces in all sorts
of cultural products and media: architecture, art, film, music, sound and
literature.

The key difference with the internet is that the users relationship with
the internet is ongoing, daily, not static and completly fluid. Each
persons conception of what using the internet feels like, is defined by
the choices they make - which sites they visit in public, which sites they
visit in private, with each person defining the material they look at by a
daily, shifting, on going series of choices and agendas based on need,
desire or curiosity. All these choices are merely manifestations and
reflections of conscious or unconscious mental activity in the user during
that time.

I'm a film maker and artist and I'm applying these ideas to some of my
work, rather than writing about them, with all the most recent work being
offline in the form of film, digital video, DVD or learning projects.


Pete Gomes

http://bak.spc.org/numinous


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