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Overwinding & The Greater Mash up Culture

// Posted by on 04/07/2014 (1:25 PM)



Rushkoffs fundamental argument is the phenomenon of presentism, or as he coins it “present shock”.  He theorizes that humans have lost the ability to engage traditional narrative and over time developed new ways to replace the once present… Read more




Rushkoffs fundamental argument is the phenomenon of presentism, or as he coins it “present shock”.  He theorizes that humans have lost the ability to engage traditional narrative and over time developed new ways to replace the once present narrative structure, as we try to adapt to this shock induced by the loss of a real sense of future, and the long term. Rushkoff argues that the future is right now, and we have completely reinvented our definition and relationship to time itself. Everything we do is in the NOW, like HFT based on algorithms, we take loans we can’t pay off or live out of our means because we want that house, that car, that boat NOW, the younger generations are constantly texting and in cyber space trying to figure out if something better or more fun is happening NOW, but somewhere other than were they are at that very moment.  Rushkoff uses this technology obsession as one way to illustrate that the future is the now. He calls this notion “Digiphrenia”, in which technology allows us to be in more than one place, more of one self, simultaneously.  He argues that we exist and operate in more places than once all the time, your personal self, your Facebook profile, your twitter feed, and is your email account. We are all online living in these different spheres that are out of our control. We live this digitally induced “mental condition” in which we ultimately have multiple separate yet parallel identities which are created to connect us, yet seem to just become an overwhelming distracting that create an atmosphere in which we are not ever really fully present, lose touch with that moment in which we are in and who we are within that very moment. The access to these different mediums of connectivity, and a continuous stream via, twitter etc. of information 24 hours, 7 days a week begins to erode our capacity for attention, as we are constantly pervaded by push notifications and the cyber world.

Digiprenia is also connected to this idea of “over winding”, in which we are compressing time and its consequences into the “short forever” where there is no longer time to prepare and we lose all sense of anticipation.  Rushkoff argues the result of this to be detrimental to the way in which we live and learn. As the over availability of information separates it from its original context and removes the middle man, we lose the journey and the experience that was once involved in finding and accumulating information as it was gathered over time. “When everything is rendered instantly accessible via Google and iTunes the entirety of culture becomes a since layer deep. The journey disappears, and all knowledge is brought into the present tense. ” (Rushkoff, 153).  Rushkoff blames the loss of new and unique cultures on the death of the journey. He suggests without the chase of the information, our culture has fallen stagnant. We hold on to music styles and fashions as middle aged adults attempt to cling to their youth, because developing these cultures and these fads, these genres took time to grow and develop, it was a process, not a fleeting fad. Culture is shallow in a sense and we don’t take the time to develop and acquire these layers and experience that push and evolve a certain genre, therefore making fashion, or music more of a disposable trend, a one hit wonder.  Rushkoff suggests this is where the mash up culture is born, as artist’s forces genres and different time frames to merge and interact in the now, this also exemplifying the consequence of this digiphrenia as we “hop from choice to choice with no present at all (115).  Mash up artists and deejays use copy and paste to create “one perspective from multiple moments” instead of waiting to see how music genres and time periods may organically fuse.  Do you think mash up music actually represents more of a mash up culture as a whole? For example, minutes scanning Facebook mash up years, a hundred experiences, a hundred friends from hundred different places into a single now. In a click of the button on your timeline you can be immediately taken back to 2009, high school prom, or to that family trip with your ex best friend, who you haven’t talked to in years, yet somehow stayed completely connected to their lives through a website. Rushkoff argues that virtually, we live all of ages at once, every day. Nothing is left behind, as “our recorded past then competes with our experiences present from dominance over the moment… in the short forever, nothing recedes. Everything relative is relevant” (157).


Do you agree that this mash up music culture is more reflective of our culture as a whole? Do you think our culture, specifically as shown through fashion and music has come to a standstill? Do you think the genre of “mash up music” is the recycling of the past because we no longer take the time and research to create a new, unique counter culture to call our own? Do you agree that we have lost the journey as Google and/ or research databases such a JSTOR allow us to reach the final destination without really even embarking on the trip?

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