I think this photo series presents a stunning depth perspective on the use of mobile devices in our modern global culture. As depth psychology looks beyond the surface of things to the margins—or in this case—to the spaces that appear to be empty— the photographer/artist evokes powerful emotions for me, at least.
Yet, while technology can serve to isolate us, also serves to unite a global community such as this one. How does this photo series—and the use of mobile devices—affect you?
FROM THE ARTICLE:
Are you reading this on a handheld device? There’s a good chance you are. Now imagine how’d you look if that device suddenly disappeared. Lonely? Slightly crazy? Perhaps next to a person being ignored? As we are sucked in ever more by the screens we carry around, even in the company of friends and family, the hunched pose of the phone-absorbed seems increasingly normal.
US photographer Eric Pickersgill has created “Removed,” a series of photos to remind us of how strange that pose actually is. In each portrait, electronic devices have been “edited out” (removed before the photo was taken, from people who’d been using them) so that people stare at their hands, or the empty space between their hands, often ignoring beautiful surroundings or opportunities for human connection. The results are a bit sad and eerie—and a reminder, perhaps, to put our phones away.
Good evening Bonnie - OMG, what a brilliant idea Eric brought forth giving us a visual at just how sad these folks look and I feel nothing but pathos for these poor souls and the current levels of obsession, addiction to these hand-held techno gadgets being used despite sharing the same personal, private space. Let us call this techno attachment disorder [TAD].
The only mobile device I have is a cell phone [keep turned off except for emergencies], which is required for WiFi internet service [costly], no tower where I live, but it is coming soon!
I notice huge changes in family life gatherings and conversational patterns...with both our children and grandchildren. I do believe I am classified as a dinosaur now for I am alone... in my initiating phone conversations, remembering birthdays, etc. [reaching out on the phone and sending personal cards] and letters. Penmanship - love letters, signatures full of individuality...who will be our penmanship scribes?
Some personal communications are just too nice to let go of - fade away....and there is no way hand-held devices will be allowed to enter into my personal, private relational spaces. When the children do grace us with their presence...we stop all our daily routines, activities so we can focus and get the most out of our time together.
They all know I do not like their gadgets being on...however, when my children do not limit [shut-off], their gadgets when they visit, how can I expect the grandchildren to limit their own use. Children do learn what they live...
I am so grateful I grew up in a time when we shared personal private spaces and conversations - face to face family time. Being present - holding, sharing and feeling moments = experiences [the total human + environmental grids and fields. Precious and so life enhancing and enriching. My children and grandchildren are showing signs of TAD and I relationally and experientially so miss their presence in my golden senior years...very strange world indeed.
I continue to resist Facebook, Twitter and Tweet communications which is the way of my children + children's relations these days...they do not email anymore, do not pick up the mail regularly, and they have no more land-line phones anymore.
At times, I feel we are being techno-excommunicated from each other and family life. I am so glad I lived at a time before TV...Peace + Love Linda
What's the difference though between holding a gadget and a book?
For me, there are a few significant differences in our experience of a book and a gadget....
With the gadget:
*Risk of hubris. This magic totem can cross all borders, all worlds, becomes my central navigating system and therefore I can drop many other more time-tested ancient ways of knowing.
*A lack of one seated focus takes over. The periphery of the gadget is always drawing our attention elsewhere. There is again a too much-ness to the gadget. Or at least a more roaming, ranging, wandering, lostness in all the pathways offered that can exist in a book, but we enter that border-less terrain one word at a time in the older technology. The gadget builds on our capacity for distractedness.
*We lose the three dimensionality of our symbolic objects and their use in meaningful rituals. Each book offers a symbolic physicality that holds the energy of that novel, set of ideas, view of the world, etc...Opening a physical book, closing it, marking a page to come back to later physiclly, book marking matters to our nervous system, and it matters to our soul. The gadget I would claim often runs the risk of leaving us, luring us, abandoning us in a liminal world where our activities, our thoughts and our feelings have less clear beginnings and endings.
I don't know, these are just some of my fears and anxieties about doing more activities on a screen, and losing the physical touch and diversity of surfaces, textures, and contours that my body, my somatic knowing, seems to always appreciate. And when soma is happy for me, psyche is more fulfilled.
What about you and others? Is there a difference between a book and a gadget, a pen and a swipe of the finger, a map and an app?
Holly, do you mean a book written by a literate person or the content those folks were seemingly staring at (pathos in Linda's words)? You don't have that empty gaze when you read a book or a well-written text. On the other hand, there is something going on with access to information and interaction between an individual and the system (bouncing between, unfortunately for now random and pointless, obedience and disobedience). That relationship is, depending on the region and individual and collective history, changing in some dramatic ways (opinions-wise). Especially because it's much easier to (virtually) move around like-minded people and be delusional that "everyone" is shaping and forming their opinion in some strange and unpredictable way.
Also, I more often than not read chapters of a digital book (if it isn't a novel; magazines and newspapers with variable quality and content of articles are another story - and more likely to cause that empty gaze) in a messed up order. Is attention deficit another way of being rebellious (for that short time span that attention deficit allows us)?
1. A book can cross all borders, all worlds too, if I'm understanding your comment correctly. So can music -- in fact, there was an old article form the 80s making the rounds on social media a few months ago where the author, thirty years ago, made similar complaints about the Walkman that people are making about smartphones today.
And did you ever play any the "Myst" video games back in the 90s/early 2000s? The entire mythology of Myst universe is based on the idea that books, and the act of writing books, create literal links to other worlds.
2. "There is again a too much-ness to the gadget. Or at least a more roaming, ranging, wandering, lostness in all the pathways offered that can exist in a book, but we enter that border-less terrain one word at a time in the older technology. The gadget builds on our capacity for distractedness."
Remember how in the movie "Amadeus" the Emperor complains that Mozart's music contains "too many notes?"
And I would argue that you're never taking a book in "one word at a time. Even if you are, every word in the queue has the potential to make your brain explode. Think of poetry. Think of Rumi -- he's all over the place. He's to metaphor what Phil Spector was to Wall Of Sound.
Another "screen time" thought: you know the "Mona Lisa" groupies at the Louvre who sit and stare at "Mona Lisa" All. Day. Long? All day. One painting. These people could be binge watching "A Game Or Thrones," but no: they want to spend their free time with a lady in a painting. She has one of the most devoted fan bases in the world, and she doesn't really exist.
3. "We lose the three dimensionality of our symbolic objects and their use in meaningful rituals. Each book offers a symbolic physicality that holds the energy of that novel, set of ideas, view of the world, etc...Opening a physical book, closing it, marking a page to come back to later physiclly, book marking matters to our nervous system, and it matters to our soul. "
I take your point about the physicality of a book. I prefer physical books too, and I'm going to be a snob and feel pity for all the poor souls forced to experience "The Red Book" on Kindle. ;)
But I turn to my "screens" for different experiences from those that I expect from a book. Those experiences, although different, are just as enriching and engaging. Also, the gadgets themselves are beautiful. Product designers with art backgrounds design beautiful gadgets that not only make you want to look at them, but touch them. It feels good to type on a well-designed keyboard, and to hear the clicks your fingers make. It feels good to hold an iPhone. It feels good to swipe your finger over the surface of a smart watch. Not only do the gadgets offer engaging, interactive experiences, many of them are also examples of functional, sculptural art.
And for Alex:
"Holly, do you mean a book written by a literate person or the content those folks were seemingly staring at (pathos in Linda's words)?"
Both Quentin Tarantino and Dolly Parton found inspiration in what most considered "trash."
And just for you, I'll leave you with a link. :P If you haven't seen "The Fisher King," do. My favorite part of this scene is the shower of sparks behind Robin Williams and Amanda Plummer.
We cannot slay death, as we have already taken all life from it. If we still want to overcome death, then we must enliven it. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book.
Speaking of the Red Book - I had here a "Lawnmower Man" experience with it: http://www.depthpsychologyalliance.com/group/community-education-de..., a person rather than a book blurring the line between physical and digital.