“Dopamine is the metaphor of our age,” says Geert Lovink in ‘Sad by Design’ (2019). We seek instant gratification. Online shopping fulfills our wildest and most superficial desires in a few clicks. Not only by buying (useless) stuff, but also in finding attention, likes, and, when we are completely overstimulated, in finding peace with mindfulness, yoga, or completely ‘off the Wi-Fi grid’ in nature. Disrupt and Reflect examines the economies behind the internet where our short-term needs are constantly being triggered and our impulse control is constantly being tested.
Disrupt and Reflect is a web project that is alternately extremely over-stimulating and very calming. It is a collection of creative and critical reflections in which, at different tempos, the viewer becomes part of the mechanisms of acceleration and stillness as they are currently occurring in our digital society. The online project consists of talks and artist presentations, accompanied by video interviews with the participants. Disrupt & Reflect is a collaborative project with the research track Post-Digital Cultures at Fontys University of Applied Sciences.
When everyone is always connected, disconnection and quietness is a scarcity. Less distraction, less incentives, more human attention. Of course, ‘less of more’ also makes money: technologies that regulate your internet use, Wi-Fi-free cafes, technology-free retreats and spas; the web is full of solutions for those suffering an information overload. The burnout industry is booming. Click – click – click – I just bought another self-help guide that promises a better, more efficient version of me. Digital detox has become a mainstream sales strategy where human contact is considered a luxury item. And due to COVID-19 we have all become screenagers, we have all experienced moments of digital fatigue, and a lack of real human touch and dopamine shots. Have a monetized hug by watching ‘~Cozy~ Hugs & Kisses ASMR ❤️’ (633.998 views) on YouTube.
For this project we commissioned artists and theorists to critically and creatively reflect on how these apparently opposite modes of ‘overdrive’ and ‘nothingness’ behind the internet and digital technologies work. Their contributions are accompanied with random roulette interviews. How can we create a more nuanced understanding of the overwhelming influence of digital technology and the human capacity to deal with it in a healthy way? How can we come up with smart solutions that do not continuously take our self-discipline to the test? How can we escape the attention economy?
With contributions by: Anxious to Make (Emily & Liat) https://anxioustomake.ga/, Katriona Beales katrionabeales.com/, Roos Groothuizen roos.gr/, Dasha Ilina https://dashailina.com/, Annika Kappner http://www.annikakappner.com/, Dr. Gerald Moore, Pinar Yoldas https://www.pinaryoldas.info/
Webdesign: TeYosh (Sofija & Teodora) https://www.teyosh.com/
Curated by Nadine Roestenburg