Dingseveldet – the dupe dites in the online stores

The Gadget Consciousness. Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media
MULTIPLICITY / Can a thing materialism rebuild a collective idea of ​​society?


My dad's thumbs were powerful. He was used to handling tools, although the left hand back had several scars after the saw blade that had jumped out of the groove on the sawdust and onto the hand holding the plank. His grandfather did not buy a saw, but cut the teeth in the metal plate himself. As soon as he could get off the Eidsvolls train, he got a job at the hardware store at the bottom of Karl Johan, where he made skates for Oscar Mathiesen before ending up as a stockbroker at the Oscarsborg fortress. For them, tools were simple devices. They were things. Things that would create new things.

Tools enrich humanity

They are central to the economy and culture of modern society. The machines are everywhere. But throughout history, things have changed. We produce endless amounts of things, but as Joss Hands says in the book The Gadgets Consciousness, the new things are not material. Even bakers now need advanced networking solutions to mix dough and sell bread. There are no longer gears, nuts and screws, but "the fluid dynamics" – touchscreen, microchips and digital codes. «Computers in the term of electrons and silicon […] operate on a different scale than industrial machines. It is through linking, coupling, and other processes of becoming. ”Machines are a“ city ”as in“ multiplicity, ”Hands writes, referring to Le Corbusier's“ city is a machine ”doctrine.


Hand's book deals with our contemporary tools – not instructions for iPhones or Android, but fundamental questions about the "gadgets community". According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, gadgets are "a small device or machine with a particular purpose". Like something in itself. On Norwegian "dings", an inferior thing with no real effect, often sold individually, as fun dope dits you get in any online store. These things have material presence, they can be moved around, lost, destroyed. We have them in the pocket, in the car, attached to the wrist or plugged to the ears. They can be microphones or speakers, and they can also have a touch screen. But it's not these Hands are concerned about.

How can we raise awareness of the gadget brain in this sphere of power?

The gadget is what makes an iPhone something more than a square of glass and metal. Gadgets can be Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, accelerometers or nexus points (connecting users to networks), interlocks (such as the GPS system), or ad-hoc local networks in apps like FireChat. Hands defines gadgets as "a device that mediates between the user, the worlds of other users and other devices". He compares to a milk carton where the carton (thing) is between the user and the milk, but that it is the slope that is the very thing about the thing – "what is at hand" to say it with the philosopher Martin Heidegger. It is the use of the thing that makes it a thing, not the thing itself. Hand's understanding of reality motivates to see the gadget community more materially.

Things for me

Hands points to the fascination of the object. He tries to bring the individual out of "the idiotism", away from the idiot figure – in the Greek sense, individuals unrelated to society. The nerd's uniqueness in the double sense. So how can we raise awareness of the gadget brain in this field of things? The modern subject with his narrow fingers and missing forearm muscles, and the body hanging down from his head. Gadgets-I connected with lack of physical experience. This creates the web portals community: "From the sky we have the space of appearance […] that brings together the mortals" writes Hands.


Social media is thus society, and "society" means to come together. Hands will control the notion of gadgets out of tool thinking. In other words, he wants fetishism to life – not the thing for me, but the thing for us.

Hands recycles Marx's thesis that workers, system operators, active citizens, as wage earners or users, have themselves become tools that maintain the system – but now in a "gadget materialism". For how can we connect as users, and interact within such a world of things, without even being made available as tool – where we are exploited as willing slaves for a system we do not own?

How we relate to this matters to the future – so who's holding the reins? Are we controlling gadgets or gadgets controlling us? Hands investigates how the Dupitites affect our consciousness, as individuals, class, society and species.

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