On the heels of a new study just out about internet addiction, I was asked to contribute an article for a new book on the topic. I was honored that Gretta Louw asked me to write a piece for her book which is a follow-up book to the Controlling_Connectivity durational performance and exhibition: the psychological burden of constant connectivity. I wrote a short essay about internet addiction– what it is (or isn’t) and how people might understand if the use of technology has become problematic in their lives.
Controlling_Connectivity was an art project by artist Gretta Louw, which used the pervasiveness of internet-based social networking, and the obligation as well as the opportunity for constant connection with these platforms as a paradigm for a severe and systematic disruption of normal, socially accepted patterns of life and interpersonal interaction during a self-documented performance. Taking to its natural extreme the notion that new technologies are increasingly dictating our social interaction, professional life, and have a far reaching effect on many other aspects of daily life, Louw completed a durational performance as she lived in the gallery space in complete isolation except for contact through various social networking sites on the internet.
About the Publication
The book brings together documentation of the project – images from the performance and the exhibition, as well as text contributions from participants and discussions with the artist – in a comprehensive analogue overview. The project is contextualised by critical essays from the curators Christian de Lutz and Regine Rapp, who examine the art historical context and contribution. Interviews with the artist provide insight into the internal, mental changes brought about by the project, as well as highlighting some of the most memorable experiences. Theoretical texts from art and media theorists, such as Dr Leon Tan, expand the relevance of the book as a significant assessment of where we as a society stand in relation to the internet and how these radical technological advancements are silently shaping us.
Printed on high quality semi gloss paper (170 gsm), the limited edition book comes with a DVD video piece comprising edited screen recordings from conversations, interviews, and discussions recorded during the performance. Addressing topics from Performance Art to internet addiction, the potential of technological advancement to alter our perception of time and reality, and the ways in which the internet affects communication, relationships, and thereby even perhaps identity itself, the video piece is a fascinating record of current thoughts around the internet and its psychological, cultural, and sociological consequences.
You can view the PDF version here. My essay is on pp. 48-49.