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Screen Time

DAY, Michael (2016) Screen Time. [Artefact]

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Abstract or description

Screen Time is an artwork delivered on the web that considers the consequences of overuse of social media and digitally networked technology.

The widespread increase in the use of smartphones has led to a preoccupation in mainstream discourse with the potential effects of excessive Internet usage. Despite having questionable status as an affliction, ‘Internet addiction’ has become the subject of a proliferation of self-help blogs. These blogs typically compel the user to take responsibility for their own pathologised ‘addiction’. In line with neoliberal rationality, they position the self as responsible for its own value, and distractedness is framed as both the user’s deficit and the user’s problem to solve.
This piece appropriates texts from self-help and psychology blogs that challenge the Internet user to ‘check themselves’ with regard to their online activity. The chosen texts are the various symptoms that indicate the need for ‘digital detox’, here presented as decontextualized pop-up alerts, an interruptive address to the viewer common to many digital systems. The pop-ups prompt the viewer to consider how applicable each text might be to their own online habits. The texts are combined with a blocky, abstracted map background that spatially locates the centres of production of Internet services and hardware, such as the Googleplex, Twitter HQ, or Apple’s Infinite Loop. The faux-urgency invoked by the form of the pop-up distracts the viewer from the gentler flow of images beneath.

The work nags at the viewer in order to bring to mind other types of nagging system, and this hectoring tone mobilises the viewer’s affect, perhaps generating a sense of uncomfortable recognition of the viewer’s own online activities. This mobilisation of negative affect has an equivalent in the governmentality that foregrounds maximum productivity as its unquestioned goal.

Item Type: Artefact
Uncontrolled Keywords: internet, addiction, attention, mapping
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Depositing User: Michael DAY
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 15:28
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2018 15:28
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5036

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