Updating To Remain The Same: Habitual New Media

Hardcover | May 27, 2016

byWendy Hui Kyong Chun

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New media -- we are told -- exist at the bleeding edge of obsolescence. We thus forever try to catch up, updating to remain the same. Meanwhile, analytic, creative, and commercial efforts focus exclusively on the next big thing: figuring out what will spread and who will spread it the fastest. But what do we miss in this constant push to the future? In Updating to Remain the Same, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun suggests another approach, arguing that our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all -- when they have moved from "new" to habitual. Smart phones, for example, no longer amaze, but they increasingly structure and monitor our lives. Through habits, Chun says, new media become embedded in our lives -- indeed, we become our machines: we stream, update, capture, upload, link, save, trash, and troll.

Chun links habits to the rise of networks as the defining concept of our era. Networks have been central to the emergence of neoliberalism, replacing "society" with groupings of individuals and connectable "YOUS." (For isn't "new media" actually "NYOU media"?) Habit is central to the inversion of privacy and publicity that drives neoliberalism and networks. Why do we view our networked devices as "personal" when they are so chatty and promiscuous? What would happen, Chun asks, if, rather than pushing for privacy that is no privacy, we demanded public rights -- the right to be exposed, to take risks and to be in public and not be attacked?

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New media -- we are told -- exist at the bleeding edge of obsolescence. We thus forever try to catch up, updating to remain the same. Meanwhile, analytic, creative, and commercial efforts focus exclusively on the next big thing: figuring out what will spread and who will spread it the fastest. But what do we miss in this constant push ...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.56 inPublished:May 27, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262034492

ISBN - 13:9780262034494

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In Updating to Remain the Same Wendy Chun offers a provocative analysis of how the internet, once praised as an anonymous, utopian space of the mind, has by the late 2010s become a space of total surveillance and privatized social media. The key to this transformation is that we have become both habituated to and inhabitants of new media. The update, Chun argues, is central to creating new habits of dependency at the heart of neoliberal capitalism.