Utopian visions of the openness and ubiquity of the Web often neglect one important thing: solitude. Not the solitude of the lonester sitting alone in her room in front of her screen, but the deep-structure solitude of living beneath the Signal. "The Internet," writes Lawrence Lessig in Free Culture, "has unleashed an extraordinary possibility for many to participate in the process of building and cultivating a culture that reaches far beyond local boundaries." But is the Internet a culture? And if it is, why should one want to belong to it? Because, of course, it's useful and fun to belong there.
And yet, its permanent noise is tyrannical. We know that customizing our privacy levels is just a myth (they are not customizable) and yet we need something to make us feel in control. The writer Jonathan Franzen has said that he composes his fiction on a laptop disabled from the Internet. He is a hero or a dummy. Tuning out (the hippies tried this) and unplugging are reactionary gestures. There are no news cycles any more, just multi-linear traffic, noise in all directions.
The frames above were captured for display. Awoken for some obscure use here. They are not permitted to sleep or to be forgotten. It is not amnesia that we have to fear, but permanent memory.