Planetary-Scale Dancing

The scroll is as much a structure of agency, something we do, as an aesthetic one, a representational metaphor for planetary-scale computation. Endless scrolling interfaces are an aesthetic arrangement capable, not only of conferring sense to the over-production of networked data, but also of actively inciting its proliferation. As an aesthetic category, the scroll is the form through which objects of data-extraction, that is users, experience the multi-agent network of planetary-scale computation as something meaningful. At the same time, the scroll is the symbolic motor that makes this cultural infrastructure possible: it translates the distributed yet hierarchical collective agency necessary to maintain the techno-social process of digital image-making (which can be framed as the cultural correlate of planetary-scale computation) into a limited form individual agency. Which, in turn, is configured as binary unambiguous terms easily interpretable as electronic commands (data). The scroll is a medium whose experience implies action in the same way in which music used to entail its performance or in which videogames require individual agency within multi-agent artificial rule-spaces. The scroll retrofits planetary-scale cultural sensing to suit the human by reconfiguring human experience itself — in a very similar way in which parties or clubs make us dance to the music, the scroll compels us to scroll to the scroll.