Ten Reflections on Mark Amerika’s PHON:E:ME .03

PHON:E:ME is about intersections on many levels. Instead of intersections, we might well say ratios. Marshall McLuhan wrote that every new development in technology establishes a new ratio between the senses. The Internet is then only the latest in a long series of sensorial mutations. Mark Amerika works at the critical point where new sensory ratios are starting to emerge. Most obviously, his piece plays with the intersection between the ear and the eye, between what we hear and what we see. More subtly, it also explores a disjunction within the eye itself: between what we can read and what we can only look at. And most surprisingly of all, perhaps, the piece explores the gap between the active and receptive senses: between the immediacy of tactile contact and the distance of what we hear and see, and especially of what we read. The hand is important in PHON:E:ME, because I use it to move the mouse. There is nothing so simple here as clicking on hyperlinks; but gradually, as I push the cursor back and forth, my movements seem to correlate with changing chunks of text. Amerika seems to suggest that the body doesn’t entirely dissolve in cyberspace; though it does becomes less dense, and its actions more oblique. Not a dissolution of body into mind, but perhaps a new ratio between them.

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