‘Our brains are being rewired to exist online’

Marta Bausells in The Guardian:

BrainIn one of Jillian Tamaki’s comic-book stories, entitled 1. Jenny, a “mirror Facebook” appears on the internet. At first, it looks like it is merely a duplicate of the familiar social network – until small changes begin to appear on everyone’s profiles. Like most internet phenomena, it is “all anyone could talk about for two weeks”, considered “playful at best, mischievous at worst”. But as Jenny watches the mysterious mirror-Jenny’s life diverge from her own in tiny ways – growing her hair long, watching Top Gun – she grows increasingly obsessed with the life that could be hers; wishing, all the same, that “she had followed through with her threats to quit Facebook. (Threatening to whom?)” As in many of Tamaki’s stories in her delicate new collection Boundless, 1. Jenny is unpredictable and wry, focusing on women struggling with societal expectations, both online and in reality. Technology and social media are front and centre in most of the stories, but the Canadian writer and artist isn’t moralising. “I try to be more observational about it, and think about its sensory aspects or people’s different connections to it,” she says from Toronto.

Despite some of the stories being written years before Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale landed on TV, they feel very current. “Part of your brain thinks, ‘I should make something that stands the test of time and is very universal’,” Tamaki says with a smile. “I can see how there is a temptation to do that, but I think it’s really interesting to do something super-topical. I am living in 2017 and that’s where my brain is – and a lot is happening and our brains are being rewired to exist online.”

More here.