em: kevin аτ blackistone.com
ig: @blackistone_

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Thought, Distraction & Privacy

Is it a deep irony that there is so little time available to let the mind wander to produce minor revelations that 'shower thoughts' is a term, or that these thoughts, which occur in some of our few remaining moments away from technology, are so frequently transmitted to peers through an online group of the same name? We are constantly bombarded with alerts by... everything... everything is nagware 1 now. Clearly, in our cellular devices this is true: the text message, the update request, the apps which alert you to nothing merely to say, 'look at me,' and then with every additional push once within any given app ... Phones have become nagware, but now, through them, everything is. Advertising has always been, but it extends to every car horn and every traffic light. The nagging of our phones and electronics have become so constant that every little nag that we used to tolerate, now becomes just one more in the swarm - to the end that every stranger who requests a moment of our mental space becomes one more alert and interpersonal interaction starts to look like just another nag. Our own bodies become nagware as each minor pain or out-of place hair becomes another nuisance, and we can't and have not yet evolved to be able to process this much constant begging for our time and psychological energy.

It's troublesome, then, that the devices which have accelerated this barage are the one's to which we now frequently turn for support. The station we're in, which demands and prevents so much contemplative thought are also used to share the joys and difficulties of life all while accumulating an artificial abstraction of our private lives. The constant collection of imagery and always on audio recording of digital devices pry into everything we're not already providing free. We are consumed by that which we consume and we know it is thinking about us even when we have the moments to not think on it.

In the shower also exists a period of vulnerability. A trust with one’s environment must exist in order to allow one to feel the safety necessary to leave not only one’s mind to wander but also one’s body. Indeed, the understanding of this trust is so universal in American society the it’s breach has been used in all genres of entertainment to produce anything from shock, to comedy, to horror. It is a place in which many are provided the freedom for explorations of body and sexuality providing cover not only by it’s visual isolation but also through cover provided by the ambient noise of running and splashing water.

Few places provide this combination of both mental freedom of the wandering mind and bodily freedoms are still present in our society. The questions which arise as even this sanctuary is breached are many. If we have no time to think freely and no place in which we can feel ourselves free to think, what happens to our humanity? As governmental and corporate monitoring of our daily lives increases, how does this affect our trust and at what threshold is the invasion too great? At what point do we feel perpetually vulnerable? What can be done to reclaim such venues for thought and body as might be soon lost?

Digital Cascade - [2018]

Viewers stand within a mock shower finding themselves looking upon translucent showering naked bodies [digitally distorted to a near unrecognizable state] upon a glass door with water cascading down it’s surface. A tile floor extends below the door while a shower head containing a speaker provides an ambience of running and splashing water. Through this format, the participant exists both within and without the shower. Their environment being that of the showers interior, while the projections place them as exterior voyeur creating a cognitive dissonance to play on the concepts of psychological freedom and personal vulnerability that exist in the simple and personal act of cleansing.


1Nagware in Wikipedia

» August 14, 2019 ... Last Edited January 20, 2020