James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

78: This is your generation

The Fieldwork: “This is your generation”

I was in 3rd grade when my mom brought home a CD-ROM that was the gateway to a world beyond the walls of my bedroom. The internet was an unknown land, a destination that you went to after sitting in front of your Windows 95 desktop and double clicking an icon. It was a space that truly felt separated from the world around me, something you can visit and come back to at any point of the day, granted no one was on the telephone.

Decades later that metaphor vanished and the internet exists as not a destination but a form of augmented reality, overlaid into every human and machined interaction. You don’t “go onto the internet” anymore, it’s always around us. With that, the meaning of the term changes and we have to think critically about why we treat digital spaces as a different world, when in fact they are amplified versions of our living selves.

This write up about the state of the internet created a mental exercise of how to think about the current state of digital spaces. Once you think about the characteristics of “digital” and “in-real-life” you realize that the two should not be separated and should be treated just as equally. There should not be a distinction, all technology does is amplify the social interactions between humans and allows their opinions and conversations to have an audience beyond the earshot of their voice. This reasoning is why I believe social media and digital town squares are dismissed by the majority.

People of color, queer-identified folk, women, and those that are ignored in face to face conversation are making their voice heard in a place that does not have someone trying to hush them before they can speak. Voices are being brought to the forefront while “internet purists” quit social media platforms because “things have gotten too toxic” or “they wish for the good ol’ days of the past.” Pause on that statement and think about what that means.

When I was 8 years old, I didn’t think that almost 20 years later I’d be sitting in my bedroom, jamming my fingers into a pane of glass and spelling out my opinions on a keyboard made of pixels and then use this same pane of glass to send my opinions to a handful of people. Whether a woman is receiving harassment through Twitter or older generations critiquing the digitally minded organization and spread of protests online, the glue that holds together digital and IRL worlds are the humans behind the words on glass. So let’s hold someone’s words behind screens with the same integrity we hold when it comes out of their mouth. Regardless, both of them are coming from the same brain.

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This Week’s Magazine Clippings

This reminds me exactly why I was happy to get out of the fast paced world of advertising.

★ Some smart writing comparing white privilege to a product review.

★ I’ve now been saying that “I don’t have the attention for this project” instead of “I don’t have the time.”

On Serena Williams and black excellence.

★ Lastly, since I missed Afropunk this year, the queer history of Grace Jones.

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Updates

★ This Wednesday is a new episode of Cher Vincent and myself’s podcast, Open Ended. You can check out last week’s episode, ‘Dispatch’, on our website, iTunes, or in any other podcast player. Be sure to rate us on iTunes and send us a donation to keep the lights on.

★ I’m still in search of a new t-shirt printer for a third run of the CSS Black Lives Matter fundraiser. If you have any leads, reply and let me know.

★ Select framed versions of “we(act)” are for sale. Reply if you are interested.

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Jayson, Subi, the Revision Path podcast, Allyson, Will, Chad, Jessica, David, Lindsay, and Joelle.

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This week’s Fieldwork title comes from “Chapter Six” by Kendrick Lamar.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

-James

James T. Green