On Wednesday, 20 June, journalist Quinn Norton is visiting Goldsmiths Design to give a free and open talk titled “Life in the Invisible City”:
For the first time in our species’ short and illustrious history, our interior lives are more social than our exterior lives. We talk to more people at home, physically alone, than we could ever talk to face to face.
On this global network we swim in information, but even more these days, we swim in emotion — and we don’t have tools to cope with either. As accidents, crime, war, and danger have fallen, fear has risen beyond our ability to quantify. The body politic is showing symptoms of a contagious mental illness, and we often feel as much dragged along as pulling the train.
Soon, everyone with a computer will be able to get the same PTSD drone operators in the US military come down with.
At the same time, we’re all dealing with the issues and powers of celebrity, to greater and lesser degrees, which change day by day. We are quickly becoming super-connected super-beings. Our thoughts have powers. Our words, carefully or carelessly spoken to a network or an interpreter can, and do, change reality.
Stewart Brand said it in 1968: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”
Armed with only the language and artistic tools of the 20th century to do this, our generation’s great job is to teach the future how to be better gods in the invisible city we’ve built for them.
The talk begins at 5 30 pm, in room LG01 of the Professor Stuart Hall Building.