Tag Archives: tech

Who are we when we use the internet? And who are we becoming? I talk with internet historian Joanne McNeil on AEWCH 115!

30 Jun


Against Everyone With Conner Habib · AEWCH 115: JOANNE MCNEIL or THE INNER EXPERIENCE OF THE INTERNET


LISTEN ABOVE OR ON: iTunesStitcherSoundcloud 

Thank you for your support in this time, friends. This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company and making you think or inspiring creativity, please give what you can.
Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon! Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 115 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

AEWCH115TitleCardFriends,
In my final episode (at least for now) in my mini-run of episodes on the challenges of tech, I thought I’d turn the lens a bit: What does tech feel like for us? What is the experience of it, particularly using the internet?
To answer this question in a deep and engaging way, I talk with author, cultural critic, and internet historian
Joanne McNeil.
Joanne’s book, Lurking: How a Person Became a User, is unlike any book on the internet that you’ve ever read. Why? Because it’s not a book of praise or even condemnation of social media founders, or a journey through start-up-dom. Instead, it’s an exploration of what it’s like for us to be on the internet. What were and are the contours of our experiences on Myspace, Hotbot, Friendster, Google, writing and reading blogs, and (ugh) Facebook? What kind of people do we become engaging with these “spaces?” And perhaps most challengingly, what’s good about them?
(NOTE: Joanne and I had some sound challenges in the episode, so you’ll notice a few quality discrepancies, but nothing terrible. Just a heads up that you’ll get the glitches. mid-ep.)

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Respecting the interactions on the internet
  • What the internet has done to memory
  • The way pop culture just before the internet hit got lost
  • The gay history of the internet
  • The shaping of love on the internet
  • What sort of relationships are forming in quarantine conditions?
  • The fulfillment of wandering and lurking on the internet
  • Craigslist’s lost potential
  • The asymmetricality of anonymous users and open users
  • How twitter acts like capitalism
  • The difference between caring about wrongs and being involved in the stories of them online
  • The three times I had twitter pile-ons
  • Why we need to get rid of facebook and not replace it
  • Where to go from here and all this mess

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Joanne, here’s her website, which has tons of links and a great HTML aesthetic. And here’s a great interview with her just after the release of Lurking.

• Have you seen Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero? Also, did you know that there’s a severely distorted sample of a Brainiac song in the AEWCH theme? Well, there you go.

• The Tech Won’t Save Us podcast featuring Joanne is here. And they have a patreon!

• I wrote a bit about my trip to Florida to meet Ron in my essay “Gay For Pay, Part 1

• Who else remembers the Pet Shop Boys’s 2002 song about falling in love via online text, “Email“?

• Here’s my old essay on hookup apps as pornography, “Facing The Torsos“.

• SESTA/FOSTA was passed years ago now, but I and other workers fought against it. Here’s a review of what it is.

• Yes, I was really into Unwound, and I still like them a lot!

• Yes, I’m changing my twitter in the next few days. We’ll all be okay, promise!

Melissa Gira Grant comes up a couple of times in the episode, so check out her writing via the twitter link and her website!

• Here’s Run Your Own Social by Darius Kazemi, and here’s Darius’s patreon.
Until next time, friends.
XO
Unwound

 

Abolish Silicon Valley! On fighting technocracy with Wendy Liu on AEWCH 114.

23 Jun


Against Everyone With Conner Habib · AEWCH 114: WENDY LIU or AGAINST TECHNOCRACY
LISTEN ABOVE OR ON: iTunesStitcherSoundcloud

Thank you for your support in this time, friends. This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company and making you think or inspiring creativity, please give what you can.

Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon! Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 114 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.
AEWCH114TitleCard

Friends,

 

Collectively, the world is waking up to the problems of big tech, and the challenges that lay ahead. But to understand what the problems are, and how to overcome them, we need guides, particularly guides who have been through the anti-life equation of tech themselves and somehow managed to not become deadened by it.

So I knew the best to talk to would be Wendy Liu, Bay Area software engineer and start up founder, and now the author of Abolish Silicon Valley, a practical memoir about awakening within and then challenging tech.

With a book title like that, Wendy’s stance on tech has obviously changed since the start of her career. Her public presence now focuses on revealing turn after turn of unsound ethics, structural inequality, the problems with data gathering, and even darker impulses in tech. To that end, Wendy and I talk about what’s happening now, how theory and activism can help with what’s coming, and lots more. This is a great episode, and I’m so happy to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why tech workers can’t “change things from the inside”
  • How tech used to solve the problems of centralized “analog” forms of power, and what happened
  • The collective discontent with tech
  • The way identity politics issues in tech
  • The evil embedded in tech itself and how to spot it without becoming a luddite
  • Theory language vs coding language and how code completes the inner state for you
  • My goofy undergraduate hot-guys-on-geocities site
  • Why the pandemic regulations aren’t exactly new conditions
  • Repression and oppression as a tactic for tech
  • The pitfalls of tech socialism (and Wendy says, “Conner, don’t worry about that just yet!”)
  • The elimination of emotion
  • How (and how not) to resist the tech monster
  • The neoliberal tech erosion of Ireland

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Wendy, here’s her website. Here’s a great interview with her on the gay Marxist podcast, Twink Revolution.
• Want to learn more about Total Information Awareness? You should.
• Also on the you-should list, check out Doug Rushkoff if you haven’t yet. He’s one of the most brilliant thinkers I know.
• Although I’ve been doing a sort of mini-run of episodes on tech, the first one, really, was AEWCH 105 with apocalypse writer and tech critic Mark O’Connell. If you haven’t yet listen, go for it. And here’s the article on J.G. Ballard that Mark wrote, and which both Wendy and I loved.

OB

• I’ve learned a lot from Owen Barfield (pictured) about language, consciousness, and art.

 

• J.G. Ballard’s Myths Of The Near Future isn’t available, but you can get his collected stories (or selected stories) via this episode’s booklist link.

 

• The economics, political, and cultural sphere stuff, is social threefolding, developed by Rudolf Steiner.

 

• Here’s a little rundown on the death of honeybees from 5G radiation. It’s on a honeybee-centered website, but you can find the data corroborated by other entomologists and tech workers.

 

• Here’s the trailer for Sorry To Bother You.

 

• Learn more about Wilhelm Reich’s occult tech on AEWCH 59 or other forms of occult tech via AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbegal or AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie.
Until next time,
X0101010101010 (JK!)
CH
ALE

Magic technology, technological art, and dials to the spirit world. Duncan Laurie on AEWCH!

17 Jun

AEWCH 113: DUNCAN LAURIE or THE UN-SCIENCE OF RADIONICS

LISTEN ABOVE OR ON: iTunesStitcherSoundcloudYouTube

Thank you for your support in this time, friends. This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can.

Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!

Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 113 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.
AEWCH113TitleCard

Friends,
I’m becoming increasingly wary and interested in the deepening commitment to tech in our world, particularly as we go through this global crisis together. I want to push on our capacity to imagine tech in different ways, to create a new relationship to tech in our lives, and to better prepare us for the challenges ahead.

 

So I decided to dig up my 2011 conversation with sculptor and tech-magic practitioner, Duncan Laurie. Duncan is the author of the profound book (seriously, everyone should read it!), The Secret Art: A Brief History of Radionic Technology for the Creative Individual.

R2I first heard of Duncan’s work with radionics via his segment on the late, great Disinformation series. In that clip, he talks plainly about two strange technologies I’d never heard of. First, radionics, which we primarily discuss on this episode. Second, bio-sensor sonic connection to plants and stones.

 

I talk at length about what radionics is at the top of the episode, so I won’t repeat it here, but the intersection of art, magic, science, and philosophy in radionics opens up completely new pathways for us.

 

Like AEWCH 91 with Lynn Margulis and AEWCH 97 Diana Young-Peak, this was part of a podcast project I started and abandoned in the early 2010s. I would love to have Duncan back on the show again now that I actually have a show, especially since he’s done plenty of work since 2011, obviously. But for now, bear with the less-than-ideal audio/discussion style/my younger voice. It’s pretty good, considering!

 

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How Duncan became attuned to the energies of growth and decomposition
  • “The first step where you get beyond the dimension of just materialism and the mechanistic viewpoint of life and suddenly just walk into a world where a different set of parameters is at work.”
  • What happens when we see beyond all materialism, and what radionics’s part is in that
  • How materialism degrades art and how art erodes materialism
  • The disconnect between validating radionics via science versus its use
  • Where Duncan sees using magical technology goes
  • The problem with seeking proof
  • Writer’s block as an analogy for not using magic
  • How desire connects us to art and to healing
  • Taking time out from what is known to look into the unknown

SHOW NOTES

• Duncan created an entire album – Induction Furnace – out of sounds from bio-sensors (the first album of its kind, I believe), and it’s a bizarre and wonderful listen. There are other musical bio-sensor works there, too, including a plant responding via bio-sensor to Bob Dylan’s “Cocaine”. Here’s an (unfortunately low-quality) video of Duncan getting rocks and plants to respond to each other with sound. Here’s a talk from Duncan at the TSAGregg Museum. Also, here’s a picture from his book, which, again, please get and read.

• Here’s a video by two modern radionics practitioners; they break it down in simple terms, although a little materialistically – “systems” “operating” etc. I do like their term for the radionics machine as a “high tech magical wand.”

 

• I wrote an essay about radionics, using them, and also sex (of course) years ago fro Vice.

 

• Here’s an essay on the founder of radionics, Albert Abrams, by one of his students, Eric Perkins.

 

• The author Upton Sinclair was interested in radionics and other weird science, and he wrote about it in his book Mental Radio.

 

• Duncan mentions that he’s a practitioner of Sura Shabd yoga. Here’s a very plain language explanation of it by Master Sirio Ji. The volume is low, so turn it all the way up.

The United States Psychotronics Association is pretty fascinating, and offers a lot of great new and strange directions.

 

• Duncan mentions the SE-5, a “radionics computer” which you can look into here.

 

• Here’s a link to a rare interview in The Sun with Cleve Backster, who put biosensors on plants. Unfortunately it’s with neo-primitivist transphobe and anti-sex worker activist, Derrick Jensen. But Backster is the focus.

 

Until next time, friends,
CH
O

Why we need occult technology now. I talk with Peter Bebergal on AEWCH 112.

7 Jun

Against Everyone With Conner Habib · AEWCH 112: PETER BEBERGAL or OCCULT TECHNOLOGY


L
ISTEN ABOVE OR ON: iTunes Stitcher Soundcloud

Thank you for your support in this time, friends.

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can. Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!

Thank you so, so much. Want to buy books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 112 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.
AEWCH112TitleCard

Friends,

As the coming technological innovations face us and threaten us, can we reconsider what technology is, what role it has in our lives, and how we can encounter (as well as build it) spiritually? What is the morality of technology; not just the morality of building new technologies, but the I asked writer and theologian Peter Bebergal to talk about just that.

Peter is the author of the entrancing book, Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural as well as two other books and an upcoming anthology about the inspirations for Dungeons & Dragons. His work always confronts and investigates the connections between the spiritual, the artistic, and the seemingly everyday.

I am experiencing all of these topics with a sense of increasing urgency, so I’m so happy to be able to share this conversation with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • That time I saw a skeleton walking down the road
  • Why repeatability in science is dehumanizing and how to liberate ourselves from it
  • Why we need to understand technology as enchanted
  • Mapmaking through the enchanted
  • The uses and problems of seeing information, not individuals, in medicine
  • When (and why) ayahuasca doesn’t work
  • Magic for frivolous uses versus magic that we need
  • How spiritualism dissolved our fear of hell
  • There are no unaltered states of consciousness
  • Why religions are not the same and how art reveals this
  • How to use magic to hack technology
  • The failures of wonder
  • Using technology to mediate the presence of dangerous spirits

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Peter, here’s a great episode of Other Side podcast with him, and here’s a conversation between he and Jeffrey Kripal. And here’s his website, which is outdated, but has links to tons of articles he’s written.

• I talk about some of the issues of morality and technology on AEWCH 105 with Mark O’Connell.

• I do love Thomas Nagel’s book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, whether or not it made me want to send Thomas an email and be like, “Just read occult stuff!”

• Want to read up on the Keely machine?

• I have yet to read Umberto Eco’s classic novel, Foucault’s Pendulum. But I’ll get to it soon enough.

• “As long as humans can misuse technology, we will never be slaves to it.” – Erkki Kurenniemi

• Peter talks about Gareth Branwyn, a trailblazer in the maker movement.

MAM• Anyone else remember Mazes & Monsters? I actually never saw the film (with Tom Hanks) but I did read the novel.

• Here’s a summary of the work of philosopher and theologian, Rudolf Otto.

• “One way of torturing the dead, one way of failing to show them love, is to participate in spiritualist seances. For this forces them to manifest in a particular language. The dead person is expected to speak a particular language, for even with table-rapping the signs have to refer to a particular language. What is done to the dead by forcing them to express themselves in a particular language might very well be compared with pinching someone living in the flesh with red-hot tongs. So painful for the dead are spiritualist seances which expect them to express themselves in a particular language. For in their normal life the dead are striving to free themselves from the differentiations between languages.” – Rudolf Steiner

• A great, easy-to-read explanation of the Galileo stuff I mention is in Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry by Owen Barfield.

The Cottingley fairies are a lovely and beautiful hoax (although there is a little bit of CFcontention over one of the images, all these years later).

• Here’s Peter channeling Arthur Machen for an interview.

• If you haven’t read James Merrill’s channeled, beautiful book of poetry, The Changing Light At Sandover, you really should.

My Friend Dahmer is, in my opinion, a far superior graphic novel than film. So get it and read it.

• Here’s “Errormancy” by Kim Cascone.

Thanks friends, I’ll contact you again through your devices soon!
CH

PB