Charlie Brooker is someone who has sprung to my attention pretty considerably within the last few weeks. I mean there’s this video:
It was a pretty great prescribed viewing a perfect takedown of the construction of the news. Brooker’s other work though on an anthological TV program called Black Mirror on Britain’s Channel 4 is equally as incredibly spot on. The show acts as a dark warning/satire on the way in which our society reacts and acts with technology. Here’s a trailer for it. Find a way to watch it and do so, its awesome. And weird.
Brooker in all his work seems to be a master of breaking down the punctualisation factor of the Actor-Network Theory. In that news clip he makes his audience aware of all the individual elements that have gone into making a “seamless” news piece. There are guests, graphics, narration but we’re only really aware of them when they’re pointed out to us. The Season 2 premiere of Black Mirror likewise explores these ‘assemblages’ in that it posits the question can a system of networks (based on our own shared data) contribute an entire person? It’s a pretty creepy premise. Definitely worth a watch of that episode if you can.
The big one in terms of assembled networks though is Wikipedia. Billions of sources, contributors and files all working to create a seamless tome of knowledge. The cracks show every now and then, weak sources, people making jokes etc. Most of them are moderated out though, and the grand result can only be described as incredible. A bastion of knowledge so up to the minute/date that it essentially drove Britannica and Encarta into a niche existence. It is also, like other digital publishing forms a great way of showing, as Latour suggests in his actor network theory, how we cannot consider digital publishing in terms of having a hierarchical structure with the publishers at the top. These digital mediums, are increasingly valuing the input of all. It’s exciting. Though Brooker also makes it seem kind of terrifying.