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Everything and everyone is becoming increasingly interconnected. When Vannevar Bush first modeled the modern day information system through his Memex machine (memory extension), as published in his 1945 essay As We May Think, he was in fact thinking about the way in which ideas emerge from the process of associative thinking or hyperlinks. A sequence of ideas manifests itself as a “trail of associations,” describing the way we think as non-linear, non-sequential creative invention. Much like Charlie Parker riffing on a blues theme, the human brain hyperlinks from one thought to another. This is how the mind works and how the computer and its circuitry was originally designed.

So it is no surprise that the Internet, a network of networks, has blossomed over the years into a cosmological constellation that in its labyrinthine complexity of pathways and trajectories, more and more resembles the structure of the human brain. This is because the digital computer in its original conception was conceived as a remaking of the human brain, modeled after the network of neurons and synapses that route  activity of the human mind. The mind is in fact a Network of Networks, constellations of paths that carry the brain’s activity from one place to another.

The Network of Networks thus becomes a compelling model for organizing and synthesizing creative activity. If each of us in our embrace of the network has carved our own space for proclaiming the latest idea, concept, rumination or rant, how can these utterances become filtered and aggregated into a large arena of exchange and dialogue? Are the content producers of the world who pour themselves daily into the Net bound to be isolated and self-contained? How can we make our daily articulations transparent, woven into a tapestry of the like-minded. How can we co-mingle with our colleagues to generate collective action via the Network of Networks?

This may be the most urgent problem facing those of us who contribute to the vast swath of information that flows daily across our screens and around the globe. We need to aggregate! That is the new call-to-action: to aggregate our individual creative output into the collective third space, where real action takes place. If in fact information is the currency of our time, it’s time we bank on our artistic research and production through the power of collaboration.

Aggregate! That is the power of Collective Agency, the Network of Networks and the mind at work.

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In the post reality, everyone belongs to everyone else.

We are all melting into one another. In the collective system of the Network, we are becoming one body. In the intricate weaving of our virtual relationships, we are becoming, as Ted Nelson said so many years ago: “deeply intertwingled.” And in the complex, labyrinthine associations we devise in our hyper-connected world, we are inexorably bound to one another as a co-mingled, interpenetrated organism: singularly tied together where we were once multi and individual.

This sense of longing and belonging to the social web is our current state of evolving, for better or for worse. If you think you can cling to the last vestiges of your privacy, beware, the next generation of digital natives has already gladly, even ecstatically, given it up to the new order of being. They are casting away the boundaries, like so much old skin, embracing the telematic embrace with a sense of purpose and urgency. They find themselves liberated in the shedding of anachronistic habits and old, tired modes of thinking. They are the future and they have already kissed their privacy goodbye.

For the digital natives, the Network has become the new playground. Where we once embraced forms of physical and competitive interaction, the speed and velocity of communication has become the new sport. Where we had once found radical community in the outskirts of structured, academic place and activity, the third space is the new getaway: not only freedom from authority, but freedom from the laws of the physical world. When once upon a time we pursued high vistas (both geographically and metaphorically) as perspective from which to smoke to our dreams and aspirations, the digital natives are operating an intricate patchbay of information, triggering fragments of data and conversation every which way as missives in the dark.

It’s a Brave New World out their at the edges of the third space. Because, in a sense, it’s all edge without borders, no center, no periphery, just unlimited space and time to experiment and redefine ourselves: collectively, as one body.

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After spending a fun-filled, socially-packed week in downtown Los Angeles, the most rapidly surging hipster neighborhood in America (on the verge of gentrification breakdown), I have come to the conclusion that LA is not really so much a city, but rather the ultimate suspension of disbelief. LA is what you make it, what you want it to be, how you mentally reshape yourself within the sprawling life of the city.

LA is a kind of dream state in the sense it is entirely made of dreams. It is the place where people go who still believe in dreams that come true. And not just the Hollywood kind, but the entire city is cast as a massive set for self-made actualization. Unlike Washington, DC, with its political fanfare and epic monuments, LA is more of an abstraction, a wash of color, an unceasingly blue sky, columns of swaying palms, and decaying art deco hotels on the verge of collapse. You see, under the shiny skin of this sparkling, luxurious city are the failed dreams, where there is a dark underbelly to be found: blocks of homeless downtown, avenues of strippers in Hollywood, and the drug-infested, crime-ridden walkway that is Venice Beach.

And yet, keep looking and you’ll see that Venice is also a land of dreams, or shall I say fancy waterways and perfect little bungalows. If you want to import far away exotica, you just create it with the sweep of a giant paint brush. Venice Beach, CA is a maze of canals that might just fool you into thinking you are walking across the Rialto Bridge, with the help of a healthy dose of imagination (and perhaps some local pot).

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And sometimes, arcing across that infinite, blue cheery sky, you’ll find a rainbow, which you can only imagine has been placed right there as a backdrop for a movie set. That is the magic of Los Angeles: if you can imagine it, you can make it happen, you can find the pot of gold if you just dream hard enough.

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The decadent, buzzed-about launch spot hinted at all sorts of curious misbehavior happening inside the Cosmopolitan—slyly tempting an adventurous psychographic of people seeking experiences, not just amenities, to finish the stories with a visit.

Is this the language of the future? Has the speed and velocity of the message been compressed to a maximum limit of 1 second (or less!)? Are we in such a constant state of attention deprivation that we can only digest information in highly fragmented, granulated doses? If you study this ad for the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, you’ll experience a glimpse of where our cognitive functionality is headed:

This language of the future is intoxicating, gripping, and entirely manipulative: burrowing deep into our mindset…

Break the mold! Push the boundaries! Live outside the box!

… this ad pleads to the viewer to release every ounce of unconventionally flowing through their bloodstream. Of course all in the name of Las Vegas hyperreal, commodity-driven, uber-spending, and excessive pleasure.

Yes! That’s it: the rapid-fire, machine-gun stutter effects activate your never endings and your pleasure-synapses in the ultimate quest for the turned-on lifestyle. And perhaps, this blast to the nervous system is nothing less than the very essence of the everyday media life we live in the blazing fast lane of the high-tech post-reality.

We are blitzing our neurons so quickly, so sure-fired, that we may just find the right button to induce just the right amount of wrong.

Looking Back