“The Unbearable Thinness of Flatness”
As a computer scientist and a musician, Jaron Lanier starts off his paper with the discontentment of the “flat global structure” in which the generation nowadays is experiencing as people are satisfied with “tiny little programs” instead of large, creative kinds (Lanier, 2). Lanier’s idea of a “flat global structure” defines a world where every new program or software will be based off a past creation. Flatness here refers not to the voluptuous amount of a physical object, but to the “blandness and meaninglessness” where creativity and originality remain under surface (Lanier, 2). Lanier says that when dealing with any kind of art “if you don’t specify the weight… it is just less then weightless” and has no value to the observer (Lanier, p.11). Lanier states that the importance of keeping and continue inventing “better fundamental types of expression” instead of recreating and producing old ideas, or the flatness. Lanier disregards that new technology adopters are outside the US and Europe making his study very mono-cultural. Although he is preoccupied with his expectations rather than reality, Lanier makes valid observations about our world as a whole today.
“The Emancipated Spectator”
In “The Emanicipated Spectator”, author Jacques Rancière argues about the passivity of spectatorship within the theater, reflecting his point of view on although “looking is a bad thing” (Rancière, 272), “spectatorship is not a passivity that must be turned into activity” (Rancière, 279). Ranciere looks for activity in spectators. One way of achieving that involves action in the theater, where live performers and spectators present an active spectacle. However, Ranciere does not require spectators of turning into actors or performers. Instead, he declares that “every spectator is already an actor in his own story.” Ranciere’s point of view is liberating in the sense that viewers are not restricted to and limited by what the directors choose to show their audiences. He portrays this idea as “there is something on one side, in one mind or one body – a knowledge, a capacity, an energy – that must be transferred to the other side, into the other’s mind or body” (Rancière, 277), in which he attempts to show the audience they can replace the old thoughts on spectatorship, so that people have a better understanding of the world they live in.
In Michel Foucault’s “Panopticism”, he introduces the concept of Bentham’s Panopticon (Foucault, 3), which creating an articulated and subdivided space under a disciplined society while only requires the surveillance and control from one individual (Foucault, 2). A panopticon is simpler terms is a description of a structure and the kind of society it will engender. He explains how this design is beneficial because it gives an individual the ability to have full accountability by constantly being able to see and view everything going on. Foucault writes, “[the prisoner] is seen, but he does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication (Foucault, 4).” He linked this idea of Panopticon to a governing principle regarding the perfection of the sovereign’s power. Foucault concludes that it is a great way to use integrate this political machine into different functions to strengthen the society under the power of regulations (Foucault, 8).