How is identity refracted through our technological selves and how does contemporary media we engage with affect our perceptions of selfhood?
By tapping into the constructs of “island as a ghost response” the phenomenological associations imposed on islands are simultaneously romanticized utopias of collectivism and harbingers of dystopian individualist paranoia.
(see: Lost, Huxley’s The Island, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, et al.)
Islands are associated with secrets and definitive perimeters of exploration and, to shrink these brush strokes, our engagement with computer technologies are equally isolated and connected to a vast expanse of information and virtual space. Our associations of time within these virtual portals creates a microcosmic system of solitude that mirrors properties of islands and often disassociates our ability to discover answers, but instead guides us on a search for endless secrets.
I remember, for example, the internet experience prior to the massive search engines of Google, Bing and Yahoo. Obtaining information was blurred by the perimeters of access. Charting a journey through the internet to discover knowledge was akin to ocean travel as interlocking topic-based sites were connected through what was known as webrings and often this process was a stream of consciousness experience where surprises (good or bad) were much more viable prior to the market-driven contemporary search engine optimization systems in place.
Fictional islands are often representations of larger entities, bearing their own ability to directly affect or control the larger narrative arc. The island thus has it’s own consciousness correlative to human response—similar to how we seek to develop artificial intelligence or to be more exacting: artificial consciousness. One could go as far as to say that the exoticism of islands have become a distinct trope of science fiction.
NO LAND ISLAND, curiously, when condensed into a domain name format, also becomes NOLANDISLAND and carries the notion that virtual space, such as the landscape of our minds, still harbors tangibility albeit only limited in expression through the optical transmissions of light on LCD screens or conjured up in our minds through electric exchanges of neurons.
Justin Watson —– January 30th, 2016