Cover image of the review
Angela Goh and Su Yu Hsin, *Paeonia Drive*, 2020, presented as a part of BLEED. Courtesy of Arts House.

Lost in the Feed/Translation

11 Jul 2020

Online we engage in what tech writer and former manager at Apple and Microsoft, Linda Stone, termed “continuous partial attention” or CPA, an adaptive behaviour characterised by continually splintering one’s awareness and focus across multiple channels of online communication. To maintain connection, we follow everything, but engage with each “event” only partially. CPA is distinguished from “multi-tasking” because it is not motivated by a conscious desire for productivity but by “a desire to be a live node on the network”—a desire for connectedness suitably captured by the phrase “fear of missing out”.

As the financial year came to a close last week, arts institutions called out for EOFY tax-deductible charitable donations. In this very crowded crowd-funded marketplace, you wouldn’t be alone in having missed these “Calls to Action”. Between bushfires, the now-not-so-novel Coronavirus and #BLM. The millions upon millions of crowdfunding dollars we “developed countries” raised in 2
020 alone seem to reflect not so much our “resilience” as our weary resolve to endlessly counterbalance the inadequacy of our government’s responses to natural disasters, systemic inequalities and all the catastrophic emergencies yet to come. Volunteer firefighters crowdfund their own equipment and supplies, and missions to FreeHer, Change the Record, Pay the Rent and Support Public Housing Residents compete for our attention in psycho-economies of empathy, fear and shame.

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