Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Animist Blog Carnival: When Data Dies (or, When Technology Fails Us, or, The Curse of the ABC)

 Jae Rhim Lee & the Infinity Burial Project.
Part of what I hoped to write about. Jae Rhim Lee & the Infinity Burial Project.

Last week an errant metal object careened into my husband's PC laptop. The impact rendered the LCD inoperable. Shattered might be a more accurate description.

This week I pulled my beloved, long-time companion -- my Mac laptop -- out from her hibernation hidey hole under the bed. I found her to be unresponsive. We choked up the cash & replaced the battery which had been fading. Still, she does not respond. It turns out she probably has a known issue for her breed which requires the long pilgrimage back to the Apple homeland to have critical organs replaced.

I am trying not to have a heart attack over the 30-40,000 photographic images, hundreds of digital art pieces & four years of writing stored inside her hard drive. My last backup was before we left for Utah. That means the photographic documentation of an entire season of foraging, ceremony, discovery & magic are cloistered there & only there... 

Ok, perhaps it is in my memory too, but that is admittedly less reliable.

Maybe my precious laptop died of neglect, but I have been suspecting that this is all a sinister plan on the part of my phone to further insinuate itself into my life. For now, if I want to accomplish anything across the ether, I must take the children to the library (it's a bit like herding cats... noisy cats) or, I can use the phone.

Ah, the phone which I had to use to call Heather Awen to leave her a panicked voicemail. The phone who says, "Ah, see, I can be just a useful as your precious Mac. I can let you post to the blog!" Except that it fails to recognise that it takes crappy photos & it is a pain in the ass to peck away at this tiny keypad.

The phone also allowed Heather to call me back & to tell me she believes that there is a Technology Curse on the ABC. This is very curious, on many levels.

If my life were more invested in social media (or should I say, at all?) or were I still ensconced in the virtual world of a MMORPG, this whole situation would be devastating. At present, it feels like some kind of subtle oracular message. Probably something deeper than, "back up your data," although I am sure that is part of it.

In lieu of a lengthy post about various spirit-selves, myco-remediation of human corpses, the Western taboo of death & all the other good stuff I intended for this month's theme, perhaps, dear readers, you might share an anecdote or two of your own about your experiences with "data death," the failure of technology &/or becoming abruptly disconnected. Your stories need not involve computers as the technology du jour -- tell us about when you lost your phone, your electric toothbrush died, your apple press was irreparably damaged, your roof began leaking, or about the car you drove into the ground. We are all in relationship with objects & devices & their technologies, yet we rarely pause to examine those relationships until something goes sour. It seems to me that isn't too different from how we manage most of our human relationships & in this respect, I think it begs closer examination.



2 comments:

  1. A much appreciated story received via email. Thank you!

    "The first year I lived in Florida - BARELY a year into that stay - a massive hurricane hit the Gulf Coast. I believe it was Dennis. It knocked down trees, tore through buildings, turned over cars. Mother Nature in all Her violent glory. We were without power for almost 2 weeks. In August. On Southwest Florida coast. No refrigerator or stove or air conditioner or washing machine. I never really appreciated electricity until that exact moment. Every day was a hot, tiring mess with the constant struggle to figure out where our next meal was coming from. A shower was a treat! I worked on an island at the time. No power and downed trees kept me from working for over a week. It was a tough time...no money, no work, no food, dehydration and heat exhaustion. Once the power came back on it was like a godsend....we laughed and cried and thanked whoever would listen. We live in this technology driven mad world, thinking the tools we use are normal. But they rely on something else, other energy to be of use, and its a weird feeling when they just DO NOT WORK. We rail against these heaps of metal and wiring, knowing they should work, feeling rejected when they don't. We come to rely on them so much in a weird co-dependent physical relationship. And its a sort of an addictive trap....we can't live in urban society without relying on some form of them. I may not be explaining myself very well.....its late and my eyes are bleary.....But its worth the mental mind bend to think about our relationship with all this techno stuff that we barely think twice about to until its not there when we need it. "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "We live in this technology driven mad world, thinking the tools we use are normal. But they rely on something else, other energy to be of use, and its a weird feeling when they just DO NOT WORK. We rail against these heaps of metal and wiring, knowing they should work, feeling rejected when they don't. We come to rely on them so much in a weird co-dependent physical relationship. And its a sort of an addictive trap...."

      Amen sister. Especially the part about feeling rejected and the co-dependency of it all. I'd say more but this phone is making me angry. (Speaking of co-dependency...)

      Delete

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