Transformation of modern attention
This essay is directed by my interested in the nature of attention and the mechanism of perception and consciousness. This essay would look through perception and focus on the subjects of attention in todays society refering to Johnathan Crary and Marry Ann Doan. Exploring attention as an inescapable component of an institutional construction of subjectivity. It will observe the change of techniques bombarding our perception also look at the alteration of our attention span.
A lot of researches on attention during the 19 century agreed that it's a very volatile concept and is incompatible with any model of a sustained aesthetic gaze. Attention always contained within itself the ctonditions for its own disintegration, it was haunted by the possibility of its own excess—which we all know so well whenever we try to look at or listen to any one thing for too long. The true nature of attention attention is in contradiction to the basis condition of psychic life. Its being discovered that attention and distraction are on the same plane (the same thing) and change states. Researches during the modern age that dwell around the subject of attention and distraction lead to the idea that both of that are standing on the same plane and one turns into a nother - attention is distraction and distraction is attention. All Theories agree on that attention “suppresses” the contents of consciousness and produced a shrinkage of the visual field. It increases the force of certain sensations while it weakens others.
Johnatan Crary states that we are a culture that is so relentlessly founded on a short attention span, on the logic of the non sequitur, on perceptual overload, on the generalized ethic of “getting ahead,” and on the celebration of aggressiveness. It is nonsensical to pathologize these forms of behavior or look for the causes of this imaginary disorder in neurochemistry, brain anatomy, and genetic predisposition.Attention can be understood through Hannah Arendt’s account of form of looking that are compatible with the principle of inter changeability, then the relativization, and finally the devaluation of all values. The link between our perception and our attention is quite unclear. There had being different theories explaining the intertuning of this neuro network.An example of the effect of our flooded perception are the online identities and the avatars which reflect the performance as an agency of power. The emergence of modern forms of beholding, of attention, is inseparable from the dissolution of anything fixed, permanent, or eternal. Many of the modes of fixation, of sedentarization, of enforced attentiveness implicit in the diffusion of the personal computer may have achieved some of its disciplinary goals, in the production of what Foucault calls docile bodies. The way modes of affecting and training ones perception to be sensitive to certain signals.
In the book "The emergence of cinematic time" Mary Ann Doane discuses how cinema has become our most abused method of archiving. Since the begining of cinema and photography mankind has being counting on them to record reality as the most faithfull reproducers. It is belived to be a mostly obejcive reproduction. Doane had stumbled upon the problem that although the new methods provide us with a continuous and non selective recording of real time, they also start build the concept that the truth resides only in visibility. Marry Doane states that during the 19th century the society was driven by meaning and understanding while in the 20 century in has changed to the strive for materialism of signs to the extent of excluding subjectivity. For Friedrich Kittler since the 20th century memory is taken from people and delegated to a material organization of discourse.
As a result of this mutation of our attention and perception nowadays many side effects have appeared. With all this mind multi tasking we are doing, our bodies cant keep with it. An examlpe of a side effect appearing friquently today is the Attention Deficit Disorder. The interesting part about ADD is that it has two states. The first of distraction and the second one of hyperfocus less frequently appearing. It seems that we have become more unstable human beings. The merging of free time and work. modern communnication and consumption have demolished the distinction between leisure and labor and inhabite temporality. Nowadays its hard to distinguish between conscious attention to one’s actions and mechanical autoregulated patterns.