Glow – Liquid crystals, consumption & addiction.

Liquid crystals, consumption & addiction.

My fascination with technology started way too early. I remember being so excited about getting my first computer that I drew a small wired mouse onto the coarsely woven fabric of the couch I had in my childhood bedroom. My parents never regulated the time that I spent in front of that machine. There was no such thing as “computer privileges” to be gained or lost. And there was no need to. I was really into reading fantasy books. Harry Potter was (and changed) my life. Eragon was amazing [until I saw The Lord Of The Rings movies of course]. I read both series at least 4 times each.

I never owned a TV. My parents had one in their living room and of course I liked watching, but I never had a TV set up in my room. And I never wanted to buy one, since I wasn’t keen on gaming or even watching movies on my own.
That was back in the DVD-Days, so watching episodes of specific shows wasn’t a posiblilty. I also never owned a (non-portable) gaming-console; and I haven’t to this day. Two generations of Game Boys and one year with a PSP served me well.
Back on the computer [I had unrestricted internet access] online video was still little, it must have been 2005 or 2006. So no ‘created’ content, just clips that didn’t really attract my attention.
But I still spent a lot of time in front of that 3:4 LCD screen on my desktop. I was customizing my OS, building a lot of houses in Sims 2 [I built a lot of women, too; blonde ones especially], I sucked my way through Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 singing along Frank Sinatra’s ’That’s Life’ and of course I would go hard in Paint. When I turned 14 I made a deal with my parents and paid half of that year’s christmas present myself. I got myself a new computer. A slick portable silver-unibody-design-masterpiece one. Now gaming was completely out of the picture, and my journey with photo, video & audio manipulation started. And now that I could bring my computer with me, watching online video while doing other things inside the house was normal.


My consumption of digital media, mostly online video, increased alongside the supply. Online content was getting bigger and bigger and whole series of gameplay, comedy and tutorial videos were piling up to be watched. And I watched. Daily. I basically spent the three years leading up to my “high-school” graduation going to school in the morning and watching videos the rest of the time. And I mean the whole rest of it.
And I actually learned a lot. I was at the pulse of a culture [which is now a business] that is still inexplicable to most of the european population. I learned to understand and pronounce the english language in form of a necessity. I learned that the 1 thing you need to understand in order to gain any audience is that it has to be able to understand you. The english language is the way to do that right now.
My consumtion also made me look very reclusive, a bit like a geek. But not in a bad way. You have to be a geek to become an expert one day. I always understood what was cool and I had no trouble in school professionally or socially. I think it is safe to say that I ended up in the leading third of the school caste-system. Nonetheless I felt different. I felt reclusive. But still: until I graduated I thought I had gained more than I had lost from maintaining my habits.

I am 20 years old now. I now use the tools that I grew up staring into as the tools they were once built to be. Tools for doing work the human mind would take ages for. Tools that allow the 20 year old german kid to create media that looks like somebody paid good money for to exist. Don’t get me wrong: I am exclusively talking about the informatical quality of said content, not the quality of the ideas inside of that envelope.
Also: I don’t take use of that as often as I’d like. I still just stare at them for hours. But at least I now stare at things that I aspire to create one day. I’m learning again. I didn’t do that for a long time.
I used my computer like a bong or syringe. I was an addict. I couldn’t sleep unless there was some kind of combination of colors and sounds beamed onto my closed eyelids. It was bad.
I had a problem with being me, well, being especially.
But that’s what it was. That’s what it is. For the most people in my generation aswell. A drug. The Glow.
It’s a drug that most of us can get a fix from everywhere we go. Anytime you need a distraction, anytime you need to calm your nerves or just need (want) to escape the world and your own mind. You can numb the shit out of your brain without [instant] physical damage.

If we ran the numbers most of us technically had more sexual encounters with our computer screens than with actual human beeings. If we ran the numbers most of us technically caressed more touch-sensitive glass than another human’s skin. If we ran the numbers we could eventually find out that what we’re missing out on in our immediate world by trying not to miss out in the other one, could actually “make us happy”.

I’m glad we don’t run the numbers.
The Glow does that for us, too.

This sounds like I figured out something that I want to spread over the globe. I don’t.
This also sounds like Iwant something to change. I also don’t.
And if this sounds like I changed my habits, because I figured out this grand complexity: I really didn’t.
I am fighting it, yes. But I am loosing every day. And when I think I’m close to winning and don’t sit there wasting away, I create the same drug for someone else.

Even back in the day, all that kept me watching was the fact that I always felt the need to participate.

Look at me now.

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