Disempowerment


The lived experiences of scrolling exceed the systems of data extraction that fostered them. Even if encoded into silicon semiconductors and designed as tools of control, these networks are not stable: they are a collectively assembled, precarious body of distributed cognition made up of communication and distribution networks, interfaces, processors, and millions of datapoints, images, and individual bodies. As a symbolic form, the scroll synthetizes these distributed networks into something else — an individualized aesthetic experience resembling that of the soundscape: one that privileges vertigo, movement, touch, embeddedness, and disempowerment over scopic fantasies of control, stable substantiality, or total agency. Even though contemporary social networks are predicated on the infinite cultivation and management of the self, this process of individuation only occurs when distorted by seemingly alien socio-technical networks and the cultural trends circulating on them. As TikTok’s endless scrolling interface shows, the scroll is not a game to be won. Nor is it a space to be solved, but somewhere to live and spend your time in. It does not give its users the goal of externally intervening on reality, but that of inhabiting a musical map representing the complex ecology of agency in which we are imbedded. And, potentially, of attesting each other’s collective existence.

INFINITE SCROLL


AS A SYMBOLIC FORM










INFINITE SCROLL


AS A SYMBOLIC FORM