To The Analogue World (first letter)

 

I used to think and feel you were over and that people around my age were the last to know you and be caught between paradigms (I say people around my age instead of generation because there never seems to be consensus over when one begins or ends, let alone what to name them).  In truth we (people around my age) have lived through your last unmolested years in the everyday, and all of the violations endured since. I realize now that we’re still living in your world, a world that bears ongoing assault.  You’ve never been replaced and never will be.  Repetition remains a lie.  Infinite vessels, variables and the spaces between them will always signal.  There will always be vibration, difference and singularity. If and when the signalling ends, there’ll be nothing left to know it. A song called Digital comes to mind as I write this (first released in 1978):
feel it closing in
feel it closing in
the fear of whom I call
every time I call
I feel it closing in
I feel it closing in
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out

I feel it closing in
as patterns seem to form
I feel it cold and warm
the shadows start to fall
I feel it closing in
I feel it closing in
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out
day in, day out

I’d have the world around
to see just whatever happens
stood by the door alone
and then
it’s fade away
I see you fade away
don’t ever fade away
I need you here today
don’t ever fade away
don’t ever fade away
don’t ever fade away
don’t ever fade away
fade away, fade away
fade away, fade away
fade away, fade away
fade away

The 1970s: The beginning of the end? I remember life before home computers, emails and instantaneous information about anything, market logic as social contract, binary code and finite control, total surveillance and incarceration, the collapse of public, private, time, space, mystery, discovery, drifting, falling freely. I remember entire urban infrastructures, police stations, hospitals, government centres, you name it, running on rotary phones and paper work in filing cabinets. I now see movies that take place in these times (some were made in them) and catch myself wondering if anything has ever actually existed in relation to them, in relation to my memories, desires and the inadequate documentation made before everything changed. I remember beautifully imperfect and endlessly subtle music. We were haunted then. There were ghosts inside our machines. So much was sacred, unquantifiable — priceless.
The systemic fixity of the digital hides the fluidity and autonomy of things, as well as our agency in time.  I am writing this not sent letter in search of what I was or could be out of synch with imposed networks and exchanges.  It can seem as though the flow of my heart and soul has been bottled up and synthesized, but I know that I exist somewhere else because of you. The digital, the bound simulation, has always been in your back pocket. Perhaps global warming and impending ecological collapse, the Holocene extinction, is your revenge for having to carry around such an insidious pain in the ass for most of my adult life.
I’ll write again if there’s time.
jeremy