The Shape Of A Pocket
This image — assuming that it is 'real' — taken at the G20 summit protests in Hamburg makes for interesting viewing. Much could be said about it of course; here is the protester, demonstrating against capitalism using a very expensive phone, designed and made by one of the richest companies on the planet. Irony.
The image, posted on social media attracted comments from all sides of hypocrisy. Comments tinged with irony of course, as making that comment would have needed use of a similar device and a social media platform. Nothing wrong of course with owning an internet connected device — I write on an Apple computer with my iPhone 6 to my side.
What strikes me as interesting about this image is not what it says about the protester, but rather, what it says about me; about us.
Firstly, digital, connected, technology has become a prosthetic extension. It is not just us and a device — me holding phone. The phone becomes part of and integral to an assemblage of components that go to make up who I am. This is not the phone as a separate and distinct object having an effect on me while still remaining separate and distinct. This is the phone becoming part of what it means to be me. At its most simple this idea is played out in the way that using devices such as smart phones can physically change us — neurologically, behaviourally, cognitively etc.
Secondly, what strikes me as interesting is that as I look at the protestor gripping the phone, about to tweet the image, I am reminded that we are all plugged into a powerful network, a digital ecology and that this ecology has created powerful means of capitalising on everything it touches. Capitalism now has the most powerful of all tools and it is on your pocket, listening to you, knowing you, changing you, and selling you to the highest bidder so in turn it can then sell a better version of yourself back to you for a price.
This is late-integrated-capitalism.