The Technocultural Imagination

Siva Vaidhyanathan was invited by the Walker Center to write an essay for the Whitney Biennial (via NEWSgrist).

ABTSRACT: For the past twenty years, the United States has been experiencing a significant cultural, social, and political shift of which we are only now taking account. The very presence of powerful personal computers, loaded with easy-to-use editing and production software, connected to millions of others at high speed at all times of the day has changed the cultural and political environment radically and irreversibly. Distributive information and communication technologies have enabled this shift by amplifying the effects and possibilities of long-established practices. Clearly, Americans have experienced a radical change in expectations when it comes to culture and information. I call this change the rise of technocultural imagination. We are on the cusp of a truly democratic cultural moment. But all is not open and free. Nor should we celebrate this technologically enabled, radical cultural democracy for its own sake. It’s messy and troublesome. It�s risky and disruptive. But it’s also exciting and fascinating.

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