The Vanishing Point

Temporal Brushstrokes on the Corporeal Canvas

Introduction

In the public imaginary shaped by the discursive temporalities of history, a mysticism seems to shroud new digital media and technology. In one perspective of this mysticism, new forms of media symbolize a celebratory mark of progress and advancement; while on the other hand, these technological developments represent the emergence of a dystopian narrative—even with a cursory glance into popular culture, one could see this in the science fiction genre, which recycles the classic storyline of a media-induced apocalypse where robots or some foreign more advanced lifeforms from some distant planet take over. In either case, the utopian optimists and the dystopian skeptics more or less mirror the magic and liquidity of late modernity and the Information Age, a novel phase in which the conditions of globalization are unevenly intensified, fragmentarily accelerated and more abstractly disoriented. Further as the digitally-afforded forms of circulations intensify the ambivalent and mystic conditions of globalization, the circulation of things like commodities, money, and information begin to move at more variegated velocities, scales and scopes and these shifting circuits are growing more and more incompatible with the lethargic apparatuses of the national project (Appadurai 2006, 2010). Thus, we must reassess the relationship between the nation and the digital phase of globalization because the suffused spilling of cultural circuits across the canvas of national boundaries—even if in a stippling effect—instantiate this incompatibility by pointing to the nation’s philosophical incoherence and maintenance of subjective ideological temporalities that render it in a primordial veracity of antiquity. In fact, the growing resuscitation of xenophobic anxieties associated with territorial ideologies—whether we look at the case of Trump’s cathexis on building a border or the fortress metaphor that Europe has been defined with in the wake of alarming spikes of refugees seeking asylum in the past several years—indubitably illustrates a need to examine these spectacularly-mediated tensions between the nation and the global in the Information Age.

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