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23 Chunks of Being:

Gregory Grieve’s Experiments in Transmitting Pure actuality

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22. On Their Devices (2016)

Acrylic paint of canvas (size)

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This is an image of Grieve’s son, Grey, sitting with Ash, the child of a friend of the family.  Ash and Grey have known each other before they could walk, and Grieve was fascinated by the intimacy as well as distance created by the two’s use of smartphones —  together, but seemingly alone. In this *object, Grieve is exploring two concepts that stem from the work of, the American computer scientist, visual artist, and computer philosophy, Jaron Lanier.  On one hand, Lanier posits that the middle class is increasingly disenfranchised and alienated from online economies. By convincing users to give away valuable information about themselves in exchange for free services.  Social media companies accrue large amounts of data at virtually no cost. Lanier calls these firms “Siren Servers.” Instead of paying everyone for their contribution to the data pool, the Siren Servers concentrate wealth in the hands of the few who control the data centers.  On the other hand, is Lanier’s notion “post-symbolic communication,” such as that of cephalopods—the various species of octopus, squid, and related mollusks.  Cephalopods pods can morph their bodies, including changing the pigmentation and texture of their skin, as well as forming complex shape imitations with their limbs. Lanier sees this behavior, especially as exchanged between two octopodes, as a direct behavioral expression of experience about the world.

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