Essay about Hito Steyerl Too Much World

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Hito Steyerl

e-flux journal #49 Ñ november 2013 Ê Hito Steyerl
Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?

Too Much
World: Is the
Internet Dead?

11.07.13 / 02:50:22 EST

Is the internet dead?1 This is not a metaphorical
question. It does not suggest that the internet is
dysfunctional, useless or out of fashion. It asks
what happened to the internet after it stopped
being a possibility. The question is very literally
whether it is dead, how it died and whether
anyone killed it.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊBut how could anyone think it could be
over? The internet is now more potent than ever.
It has not only sparked but fully captured the
imagination, attention and productivity of more
people than at any other point before. Never
before have more people been dependent on,
embedded into, surveilled by, and exploited by
the web. It seems overwhelming, bedazzling and
without immediate alternative. The internet is
probably not dead. It has rather gone all-out. Or
more precisely: it is all over!
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊThis implies a spatial dimension, but not as
one might think. The internet is not everywhere.
Even nowadays when networks seem to multiply
exponentially, many people have no access to the
internet or donÕt use it at all. And yet, it is
expanding in another direction. It has started
moving offline. But how does this work?
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊRemember the Romanian uprising in 1989,
when protesters invaded TV studios to make
history? At that moment, images changed their
function.2 Broadcasts from occupied TV studios
became active catalysts of events Ð not records
or documents. 3 Since then it has become clear
that images are not objective or subjective
renditions of a preexisting condition, or merely
treacherous appearances. They are rather nodes
of energy and matter that migrate across
different supports,4 shaping and affecting
people, landscapes, politics, and social systems.
They acquired an uncanny ability to proliferate,
transform, and activate. Around 1989, television
images started walking through screens, right
into reality.5
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊThis development accelerated when web
infrastructure started supplementing TV
networks as circuits for image circulation.6
Suddenly, the points of transfer multiplied.
Screens were now ubiquitous, not to speak of
images themselves, which could be copied and
dispersed at the flick of a finger.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊData, sounds, and images are now routinely
transitioning beyond screens into a different
state of matter.7 They surpass the boundaries of
data channels and manifest materially. They
incarnate as riots or products, as lens flares,
high-rises, or pixelated tanks. Images become
unplugged and unhinged and start crowding offscreen space. They invade cities, transforming
spaces into sites, and reality into realty. They
materialize as junkspace, military invasion, and
botched plastic surgery. They spread through and
beyond networks, they contract and expand, they

CAVEman is a 3-D virtual patient projected onto a holodeck which allows doctors to visualize and diagnose ailments in high-definition. Here scientist
Christoph Sensen is pictured looking at his creation.

11.07.13 / 02:50:22 EST

The market briefly lost $136 billion on April 23rd, 2013, when the Associated PressÕ Twitter feed was hacked and tweeted that the White House had been
attacked and that President Obama had been injured.

11.07.13 / 02:50:22 EST

For a long time, many people have felt that
cinema is rather lifeless. Cinema today is above
all a stimulus package to buy new televisions,
home projector systems, and retina display
iPads. It long ago became a platform to sell
franchising products Ð screening feature-length
versions of future PlayStation games in sanitized
multiplexes. It became a training tool for what
Thomas Elsaesser calls the military-industrialentertainment complex.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊEverybody has his or her own version of
when and how cinema died, but I personally
believe it was hit by shrapnel when, in the course
of the Bosnian War