BLACK HOLES IN THE ELECTRONIC GALAXIES
"Black Holes in the Electronic Galaxies: Metaphor for Resistance in the Information Society?"
Barry Vacker and Agreen Wang
Forthcoming in 2013:
Paul M.A. Baker, Jarice Hanson, and Jeremy Hunsinger, The Unconnected: Social Justice, Participation and Engagement in the information Society (Peter Lang 2013).
Are there a deep existential parallels between Plato’s Cave, WikiLeaks, black holes, and numerous dystopian films? Yes, and these parallels suggest a paradoxical and metaphorical reversal in the nature of representation and resistance. Media theorist Manuel Castells used the term “black holes” to describe the conditions of “social exclusion that can be marginalized” within the global and capitalist information systems, so much that those people excluded could “disappear” and not even “exist” in the system. Drawing from Marshal McLuhan, Jean Baudrillard, Stephen Hawking, and many theorists and filmmakers, this paper will juxtapose Castells’ theory with a different model of black holes and media. The information society is a network of “electronic galaxies” within an expanding media universe, always aglow, seemingly destined for total representation, total surveillance, and total simulation — such that the trajectory of the enlightenment project may have begun a strange reversal, where representation and resistance now require disconnection and disappearance.
As illustrated in the battle between the U.S. government and WikiLeaks, it seems that future autonomy, authenticity, privacy, and resistance will realized in the effecting of personal vanishing points, the encrypted points of non-representation, the black holes in the electronic galaxies.
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