Before the advent of internet the relation between man and computer was extremely personal. Turning on our computer meant, often, stop communicating and turn our back on others. Programming, the video games, the word processing were intimate moments, rarely shared unless in response to a final result. Who, in the ‘80s, used frequently a computer was often wittingly isolated from the rest of the world.
Perhaps today things are different: the computers are smaller, usable in a flash, in a click, allowing us “above all” to connect with other people, from anywhere in the world. Who “turns on” the computer today, quite often wants to interact with others.
We use the computer, especially in the smart version, not to “isolate us” but to “find us”, to share instantly our emotions, our daily life.
Yet, when we think about it, no matter how real may be the emotions arose online, the context in which grow is virtual, digital, synthetic.
Digital experience resets three of our main senses: the taste, the sense of smell and especially the touch and limits the use of the remainders, the sight and the hearing, not essential for communicating online. (Actually according to Wikipedia, our senses are precisely nine, but we don’t want to make this article more complex than it is).
Despite this, the digital experience is extremely rich in contents, images and videos; immediate, but lacking in contact. We are Avatar of ourselves.
A division process of the physical contact from the emotional one that redraws the spaces and the décor of our home that redefines the way of communicating, acting in the house, especially between different generations.
The television, at the center of our living room, is progressively losing, appeal and centrality. Now we look for a quiet corner, a table, a desk, a couch where we may comfortably sit with our computer increasingly lightweight, in search of something to be touched about.
Even the spotlights of our houses lose centrality, remaining in the background, subordinated to the central light provided by the display of our PC or smartphone or tablet; spots in our house where we isolate ourselves with the purpose to feel less lonely.
The beautiful photos taken by Julien Mauve, present in the “lonely window” gallery, make perfectly the idea of this change. Of how the essence of socialization, the fact of being together in the same place, looking at each other, touching each other, has diminished partly because of the spread of the distribution network in the event of a new and different relational model, open, participative, collaborative, social but also anonymous, mimetic, synthetic, solitary.
We are in front of our computer staring at the display, our mimicry changes very quick on the basis of the inputs coming from the net. We live a profound experience, immersive that excites us, but the other cyberusers are not with us, we are alone with a display. What we experience does not draw from the reality that surrounds us.
The internet owes its success to its own open space, always reachable, without filters, inhibitions, hierarchies but, at the same time like every sea change that concerns all of us and broaden our relational space, it takes a toll in reducing our sensorial experience.
That’s us, as Julien Mauve’s photos show, alone but together, connected without the possibility to hold our hands, in front of our display, of our “lonely window”.