The Culture of Distraction: Fragmented Vision and the Misery of the Senses


Sascia Pellegrini
The School of the Arts, Singapore
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INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art and Technology, Issue 9, 2022

Main Theme of the Issue: Fighting for Attention: Music and Art on Social Media

Publisher: INSAM Institute for Contemporary Artistic Music, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina



Abstract: This paper investigates postmodern modalities of the consumption of art, transformed and accelerated by the advent of the Web, and the emergence of social platforms, locus of altered forms of sensuous experience. Fragmented reality appears well suited to a culture of distraction, the general feeling of perpetual diversion and alienation, propelled by device applications, web surfing, social media, and messenger services; a reality in which space is no longer experienced with a synchronous unity of perception and emplacement. I will examine a reality that has abandoned linear text as the vessel of transmitting information, a reality that in the past few decades has been carried forward by a flood of technical images, following Vilem Flusser’s notion. Lastly, I will scrutinise paradoxical aspects of this virtual domain: what is it that makes an experience itself, when surrogates of someone else’s direct or indirect experiences are fed to us through social media, including images, videos, game simulations of various sorts, virtual reality, extended reality? This paradox Bernard Stiegler calls “the loss of participation in the production of symbols” (Stiegler 2014, 10): a symbolic misery that originated in audiovisual and informational mnemotechnological activities, locus of mutated relations with the senses.

Keywords: phenomenology, emplacement, visual representation, kinesthetic, acoustic communication, aesthetic, virtual reality.


7. INSAM Journal 9_Pellegrini

ISSN 2637 – 1898

On the cover: Additive Duality by Joe Beedles, photo: Matteo Favero © IKLECTIK

Design and layout: Milan Šuput, Bojana Radovanović


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