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Art in the Face of Technological Change

The next panellist at WebSci '09 is Michael Marmarinos, and he begins by presenting himself as 'a normal human being'. He notes the increasing speed of human communication as it is augmented by the Internet, the Web - and in the face of this, he feels awe, and the enthusiasm of the ignorant. Technology is in conversation with time, and as speed increases, we become smaller.

The speed of change is difficult to assess while change takes place - it may be amazing and scary at the same time. He suggests that the speed of change can be described mathematically as our ability to change divided by the range of possibilities which we can imagine, and this fraction tends towards one (if I've got this right - I do appreciate the live interpretation, but I wish the interpreter would bloody well sit still rather than noisily fidgeting about in her cabin, and chewing gum!).

There is great enthusiasm for such change, but it also creates a great deal of chaos; it enables globalisation, but globalisation of a different form than that presided over by the world's economic powers. If distance has disappeared today, what else may be possible in the future - the disappearance of time, but also the disappearance of privacy. All of this is exceptional, amazing, as yet inconceivable - we are experiencing a mythological moment.

The saying in the theatre is that in any place where sorcery is an atmosphere, all persons appear exactly at the desired moment. Theatre can operate without the intervention of any technology - and so it is still human art and handicraft which is key.

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