Life in motion blur: visualising the virtual & material 'paths of progress'
Blake P Kendall
(Freie Universitat Berlin HKMW)
Paper short abstract:
What's the difference between walking and moving with an automated speed? How have the roads of Capitalism transitioned an engagement of the Material to the Virtual? A reflexion on paralleling practise-led enquiries into Post-Internet Hitchhikers and Penan Youth in post-logged forests. A response.
Paper long abstract:
This paper introduces the notion of 'Motion Blur' as the allegoric concept of how 'The Market' (Speculative Economics) abstracts and commodifies through the process of alienation. Posing that the Anthropocene is pixelated, blurry, lost of tangibility and fleeting, this Sensorial Ethnography explores the significance of the mediated engagement of informants on the road. Heralding one of anthropology's foundational binaries of 'Agency and System,' we track the routes (not roots) of alternatives to virtual engagement with material ecosystems in two paralleling field sites. This (re)search 'follows in the footsteps' of Nicholas Mirzoeff's (2014) 'Visualising the Anthropocene' and Marc Augé's (1995) 'Non-Places'.
The Post-Internet Hitchhikers redefine the 'share economy' into a 'share community' via a praxis of social-media and user-generated digital platforms, substantiating a non-monetised material economy. For 'the borderless ones', the road persists as a 'meeting place' despite the increasing presence of digital platforms substantiating alternatives. In response to Neo-liberal conceptions of profit, the 'Paths of Progress' are contextualised as a site of counter-cultural community.
For the Penan youth in Malaysia, government constructed logging roads evidence the shift of the intergenerational relations with the landscape. For the first generation of indigenous inhabitants born after the deforestation of Sarawak's primary forests, nomadic migration on foot was replaced with motorbikes on the logging road between Government village settlements. Aware of the consequences of imposed models of 'centre / periphery' landscape, a network of villages return to the footpath. A response.
Auto-anthropocenes: alternative uses of roads and vehicles