There are stranger things than throwing out your tech

“It’s one thing to set a TV series in the 1980s;
it’s a whole other thing, however, to make it feel like it was actually shot during the Reagan-and-Rubik’s-Cube era.”

That was the opening line of an article in Rolling Stone magazine, July 2016. Six years later the series Stranger Things has lost none of its 80s nostalgia.

When I started this blog early ’21, and called it World Between Worlds, it was to create a playground for, and a better understanding of, that reality just behind our day-to-day one. The reality where art comes from.
I knew this space had something to do with the imagination, as main inspiration for art. With online interaction with others, communities and connections based on mutual interest, and thereby creating a social circle of affinity.
And I knew it had to do with what is currently referred to as digital minimalism, a choice to limit being online to the moments it is functional, and aligns with our values.

Artists have always had to find a way, to avoid being claimed by things that required or desired an immediate response. This is why women with children have traditionally been excluded from being artists, because they were always on call to take care of their children.
There is a meme about male writers, that their work becomes less impressive if you realize it was created with the luxury of someone else attending to your children 24 hours a day.

So having the opportunity to wall off the day-to-day, and having the luxury of time and space, in the infamous room of one’s own, has been a frequently featured prerequisite, to being able to do your artistic work.

But, and I expect you ve seen me heading for this, since digital technology and in particular the Facebook sparked algorithm revolution that spread like wildfire to every corner of the internet, we are dealing with a way our time and brains get highjacked that has more to do with addiction, and less with systemic exclusion.

Without wanting to underplay the cunningness of how our brains are being hacked, compared to the systemic exclusion of women as artists, and with the age-old elitist nature of having the time to create art;
resisting the urge to spend time online, and to avoid a symbiotic relationship with your Inbox, is an individual responsibility.
The latest challenge added to being able to do your creative work, is not an additional one of social inequality, but about fighting big tech.

interview Former Google employee Tristan Harris:
Your phone is trying to control your life [8:43]

Original story and report that got the ball rolling: 
Brain Hacking [ 13:47 ]

Right from the start of this blog World Between Worlds, I ve imagined the artistic space we should keep an eye out for, to be somewhere offline.
Or to be within an online context where we are emotionally involved, making us relatively immune to being distracted.

I ve come back to that desire to walling myself off from the ever expanding, ever evolving online claim, in a structured way. Not an ad hoc one, that you would have to change with every new feature.
But to look for personal rules and regulations, that you can then apply.

As the book Digital Minimalism says: This is about autonomy.

Can we reclaim our artistic space and harness our power, by being more discerning to how we show up online?

One of the ways I ve tried to grapple with that question is through the lens of time capsule work. 
This means pretending you live in another era.
Examples are a Dutch artist who lives as if in the 30s and an American couple that works under the name “The Victorian Couple”. You can read a 2019 longread about their work here.  
A quote from that article:

Many of us have realized [ .. ] that technology intended to make our lives easier has hideous hidden costs.

Where the book Digital Minimalism, and warnings that the addictive consumer technology will prove to be the smoking of our time, go for an emotionally detached, productivity based, and value based, approach;
I believe the perspective of doing it from the idea of living in a different era,  is one that is more appealing for creatives.

That walling off our time and life being hacked by big tech, becomes easier if we replace it with a project that comes with a bubble, a capsule, to live in.
And that does the work of filtering the world, for us.

Once again, the concept of digital minimalism, and of deliberately creating a world between worlds, has entered my life.
The same ideas as I ve had before, but perhaps this is something that requires mulling over in phases.

One aspect that is new to me, comes from the angle of aging;
I m turning 50 this year.

It is clear to me, personally, that I m speeding up my aging, by engaging in all these technologies that I did not have at home until I was over 30.
My personal computer stood for doing freelance work, and for doing my book keeping, and writing formal letters which I would then print and post.
I could get files to other people, by copying them on a floppy disk.

I loved my computer, and probably more passionately then, than I did later. For a long time I only had laptops, because I needed to move them around. So I had these slim, sexy laptops, that made me feel very Sex and the City, even though I never had an Apple and they were a plain grey.

Maybe because my laptop was offline, much like a book, I could love the way it felt, and the way the keys clicked. Could love opening and closing it.
It was not talking back, or asking anything of me, and I put them back in a drawer afterwards. 

I would say that now, in 2022, I am tied to my tech as if we are a disorganized and pretty dysfunctional family, where we compensate by constantly checking in on each other.
We rarely if ever lose sight of each other.

Where I used to relate to my laptop as to a well-dressed articulate friend, that you like but will never fully embrace. There would always be a respectful distance. 

In my late 20s I also got a mobile phone, but rarely used it. The phone was a backup tool, for when I traveled and missed a train or something.

In my early 30s, I got an internet connection at home. Up until that point I had used university, work places, business connections and internet cafes, to do my emailing. 

So with my computer offline, and my mobile phone rarely used, the only pieces of technology I frequently used either played media or they were a tv, or a phone.
The tech were not interactive. 
From the moment I got internet at home, two decades ago, that changed. And from there it has been a slippery slope, until now I am in this panicky  unhealthy relationship with my phone and my computers.

On the verge of turning 50, for me it is clear I need a digital life makeover.

So I am redesigning my life, and creating a framework that will hold for the next 50 years.

I ll be less online. One day, I want to look around in my house, and feel the same calm and maybe even hint of boringness, I felt in the year 2000.
Without the world pulling at me through every screen. 

I look forward to thinking of my mobile phone as just a helpful device to text a friend, if I ve missed the train.

I look forward to spending the rest of my life, just like I spend the first 3 decades;
In the relative quiet of the 20th century.

Stranger things have happened.

Suzanne L. Beenackers
Rock Star Writer

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This World Between Worlds blog is an element of “Rock Star” [phase 2]

Title: “Rock Star”
or “Rock Star yoga/ business/ writer”

artists: Suzanne Beenackers, little bear Puux           
art form: performance art
phase 1: earliest expressions, mixed work, July 2019 – March 2022
phase 2: April 2022 – 

3 YouTube channels*
1. English YouTube *: “Liberation”: Rock Star Yoga + Life lessons in Bon Jovi songs
2. Nederlandse YouTube *: “de Catacombe” studio voor Rock Star Yoga 
3. YouTube Rock Your Business

The headers from all channels have been changed already, so you know you re in the right spot.

* Filming will resume soon. I m struck by a cold, and avoid talking as much as possible.

4 blogs
1. Rock Star Writer
2. Yoga Blog: Daily Bon Jovi Yoga
3. World Between Worlds
4. Dutch blog: Suzanne Beenackers

2 Facebook pages
1. Rock Star Writer on Facebook
2. Dutch: Suzanne Beenackers Schrijver Facebook met beertje Puux

1 Twitter account
my personal Twitter account

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