#23 timezone

| r |

Dear Nana,

I am finally beginning to feel a little more at home. Hannah made me some apple tea and it reminded me of sitting in the sun room of your hub. It almost tasted the same. And Hannah’s roommates are as funny and affectionate as your comrades. With my continuing integration it is becoming harder to lead a double life, though. I do have to go back, if only to see :mosiva and my family again and tell them about this crazy adventure.

But I also feel that there is so much to be learned from my visit to the past, even a century from now. For example, I don’t think my time is cognizant of how lonely people are in the dawn of social media. We have research about the adverse effects of super-individualism and point reward systems, as well as about attention craving mass media vs. individual humans, but the disassociation from each other doesn’t fully come through in digital archeology.

Surviving a Berlin winter is not for wallowing souls. One could get lost in the four corners of one‘s room, so grey as there is no sun to guide one to a window or a door. The days are short and heavy and slow, the nights are clammy and hurt the ears and noses. A heartless system keeps those who can’t participate in money games on the streets and in subway stations. A future society will shame the past for its’ callousness. Hannah says there isn’t much a single person can do, especially if they aren’t good at playing the money games either. When it comes to humans, the shift is barely perceptible. But you and I know it will come. You will grow up with it, Ill see it in full bloom.

Do you think he would like my photographs?

Dear Internet,

I don’t know what I would do without your collective wisdom and intelligence. It’s one thing to figure out how Ben encrypted his files, but quite another to deal with its’ contents.

timezone, ha! Ben does have some weird sense of humor. I think most of the content of the stick is just there to send us in circles in a labyrinth, maybe he just likes the images? He is an artist after all. Do you think he would like my visual research photographs? Or would he be bored by yet another version of Berlin? Hannah says there are still some corrupted files on that USB drive, and it will take some days to get them to a state where they can be read, if that’s even at all possible. For now, I am looking through old analog photographs and letters to figure out a way to contact Sid. Arjin has never heard of him.

The only thing I’ve found so far are some ticket stubs in a yellow binder to Платформа 2997. Which, it turns out, is in the middle of nowhere.  I guess it s kind of perfect for someone who wants to mess around with physics and doesn’t want to be bothered by anybody. I am honestly surprised they even have internet there.

I am really hopeful about Hannah‘s skills. Internet, you would love her! She introduced me to memes and emojis and all this digital subculture that only becomes visible by spending long nights in front of the glowing data squares . She really is amazing, even though we disagree on fundamental things, like whether people are inherently good or evil. Of course, growing up here, I understand why she would question humanity‘s ability for ethical behavior. She reminds me of Neel, who I also miss dearly. Even though she is harsher at times, I think it’s a learned behavior answering to what her environment throws at her. I wish I could tell her about the future, she would love the science fiction of it all. But I do have you, dear Internet, to share my world with. I am sure that together we can figure out how to get me back to my time.

Alone but never lonely,

r.

2 thoughts on “#23 timezone

  1. Dear R,

    I am happy to hear that your journey and search continues. Russia, that’s going to be interesting !

    Is there something like social media in your future? I think that its effects are still somewhat overwhelming for people of our time. Sure, it started as a cool tool, staying connected to old friends and acquaintances was never easier. Still I wonder how the next generations will use the opportunities of ubiquitous publicity. Will there be smart filters that give you the right kind of information to challenge your thoughts instead of confirming your existing views? Will there be algorithms connecting the right people to create new and good things together? So many questions, so much hope.

    Happy to hear your thoughts…

    1. Dear towe,
      social media will become a great tool to better the world, once it’s no longer a tool for corporations. There are many sickly aspects associated with it, right now. Basic design that’s made for addictive behavior instead of educating and nurturing social acts. But that’s a systemic issue, not not a media intrinsic one. Imagine social media as just another form of communication, side by side language, mimic, culture, signifiers and gestures. It really all depends on how you use it. The big advantage of social media is how it scales, which is important for global issues like the climate shift. When we began to use it for registering quick local weather changes, scientists could use it in addition to macro-observing satellite data and develop super fast warning systems. The way I mainly use it is to connect with fellow anthropologists to try and create a more accurate picture of our history, subcultures and the emergence of new cultural phenomena. For example, there is this group of teens a few hubs south from where I hang out, who have trained with their a.i. to build some sort of flying ballet, using scrap metal and nano bots. They work with an orchestra 2000 km East from them, who design the lighting for that show, and two elder ladies wrote the music 40 years before, are updating it now. I am registered as observer on their communication, but I also get to mediate, if I find hang ups, bottlenecks or subconsciously used manipulation. There are pretty good algorithms for that, too, but I or an a.i. can apply to become a subroutine. In my time, social media helps people to be psychologically healthy instead of making them sick.
      r.

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