CTM Festival is here, rescheduled to May, so with it another collaborative performance laboratory – MusicMakers Hacklab which I co-host with Ariel William Orah this edition. I find myself revisiting the ideas of former co-host Tad Ermitaño and “animistic technology,” perhaps now as essential a time as ever.
Revisit that talk here:
William Gibson famously said: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” The Philippines is one of those liminal places where even modernity is unevenly distributed. It is often described as semifeudal and semicolonial, and even the capital of Manila is a place where scientific literacy coexists with religious and animist beliefs.
At the same time, it is scarred in many places by the ruthless application of technology. As a result of its particular and partial relationship with modernity, it is a country where it is possible, even urgent, to consider the possibility of an animist technology, and what uses magic might still serve.
More background and additional reading:
From AI to digitally synthesized sound, this struggle about technology, who has access to it or who claims it, and what it means in the face of collapsing societies and environment only deepens now in the face of pandemic, war, and political change (both in the Philippines and USA, for that matter).
And that means separating critical discourse and raw technophobia – a technophobia that can even impose more on those outside the “first world”:
Under this dispensation, the use of anything (currently) deemed »high-tech« appears as improper or as some kind of transgression. This improperness can manifest in any number of ways. The user and his enterprise/work can appear contradictory, false, dishonest, or arrogant. The user can even appear threatening if his enterprise is somehow linked to the idea that the user has decided to break ranks and side with the »First World.« It is in this way that technophobia becomes entailed as an element of national identity. The trap has three consequences that are particularly noxious. The first is that it legitimizes smart-shaming and the denigration of hard work.
Food for thought. Now I just crave some more bugs for food. Hope to see Tad here in Berlin later this year.
Now you can catch new discourse programming online at CTM Festival: