session 11 Jared

What type of emotion do you associate distraction with? Why?

I associate frustration with distraction. Often times I am not distracted because I want to be but because I do not have a choice, I see the beauty in others being distracted in a sense of doing positive things with it. For myself there is never a moment where I am distracted on things that will progress my life forward. Frustration comes out of distraction because of a lack of interest in a task at hand. For example, it has taken me two weeks get to actually start writing this response because I have been distracted by things that are more entertaining to my zero-attention span brain.


What is the value of distraction/how do you think value is extracted from distraction?

The value of distraction in a more personal sense can lead an individual to discover something that they wouldn’t usually be interested in if their main focus wasn’t very attention grabbing. In a more economical sense, many people do not enjoy what they are doing on a day to day basis, so people’s distraction can result to a monetary value. The companies that can find out the source of your distraction can earn advertising dollars from your new found interests.

A Sea of Data: Apophenia and Pattern (Mis-)Recognition. Hito Steyerl.

In his article for e-flux in April 2016, Hito Steyerl discusses the question of the recognition of objects, humans and behavior by machines as a process of recognition of patterns and data gathering. He starts by giving examples of the shapes and faces we see when we look at clouds. He then explains that the machines read the information in the same way, it observes a signal (which we cannot decipher with our human eyes) and interprets it to deliver some information. The article then looks at the issue of technology recognition, where we teach technologies to recognize certain data and interpret it based on signals that we have predetermined beforehand. Allowing these machines not to analyze the so- called «useless» data known as dirty data and to use only certain specific data.

The article then makes us aware that the decisions and data delivered by these machines make us act in our real world, preventing some people from crossing the border, saving immigrants, categorizing humans socially, give them a role or some importance in society. The interpretation of these machines of our behavior is the basis of how we act in society. Nevertheless, Hito Steyerl gives us the example of the cosmos, which we have been studying for years but on which we do not necessarily have concrete data. What we know about cosmos is then only assumptions, meaning, if we project this reasoning on our society, that what we learn in machines is only an assumption of what life must be, of what things must be, and thus proving that our societies were built only on assumptions that we feed and that we anchor in our cultures by the authority and power that we give to the machine.

More concretely, the article explains the principle of apophenia advancing the fact that we interpret messages through concrete patterns that we see. It is particularly interesting to understand that during Ancient Greece, the words of men were regarded as signals while the words of women and children as noise. Recalling the idea that machines analyse the data they choose and erase dirty data considered as noise and thus demonstrating a patriarchal society whose foundation is biased by the hierarchy of information and social roles.

Thus I come to ask myself the questions:

  • – The idea of surveillance is only a vague idea dictated by an elite so that we correspond to this elite or is it based on a real will to create a just society?
  • Thus, discipline, the way of being, the way of expressing oneself, are they abstract concepts whose limits we must retrace, aiming at seeing the state or society as the wrong interpretation of a group of persons? And can we change this society by changing the patterns we interpret or by changing the simple interpretation we have of these patterns?

Complementary Reading Presentation

Guillaume Knobloch

COMS 308


Complementary Reading: “Introduction: The New Video Geography.”


In the introduction of Ramon Lobato’s book, Geoblocking and Global Video Culture, he covered a lot of different topics regarding geoblocking. He defines it as “a spatially-aware filtering technology that uses IP address databases to determine a user’s location ” (Lobato, 10). He talks about the different platforms such as Youtube, Facebook and many more that use these sorts of technologies, to regulate what people can see depending on their location. This results in most people having access to the internet, however very different kinds of internet. This sort of technology is mainly used in order to restrict certain kinds of content from being viewed in certain countries around the world.

The intro goes into how people have found ways to go around these geoblockings. Things such as VPNs are the most popular ways of going around these restrictions. Lobato says that these have “unleashed a wave of unauthorized cross-border media activity, allowing audiences to easily access streaming, news and sports services from other countries” (Lobato, 11).

In the intro, the book is broken into three main parts, the first being “Blockage and Flow”, he says that “ For many internet users, the experience of online video is characterized by blockage rather than flow.” (Lobato, 12). He explains that this is a result of each countries’ different policies. Each time you see the message “the video is not available in your region” it is often a result of copyright issues, or country policies. Even though this may be rare in North American some countries see this message more often than not.

The second main part of the book is “Control and Circumvention”, he expresses the ways in which the government tries to control the internet and the relationship that has with, “circumvention – the tactics, tools and work-arounds that people use to access blocked video sites.” (Lobato, 14).

The third theme in this book is “the relationship between commercial technologies of access control and government site blocking, surveillance and censorship.” (Lobato, 18). Here he discusses more of the perspective of the user and the fact that these technologies are used in very different ways, and that even though seen as a crime in many countries people often use VPNs simply to communicate with friends abroad or to watch a foreign show.

Even though I only read the intro of this book it seems to be incredibly interesting and gives information about a topic I assume many are unaware of.


Works Cited:

Lobato, Roman. Geoblocking and Global Video Culture. Institute of Network Cultures,



Discussion questions:


Knowing that the government is able to see what we do as well as control what we see, do you believe that in today’s society it is possible to to say that our opinions and beliefs are truly ours, or are they affected by the government?


With the development of things such as VPNs to get around geoblocking, do you think that technologies will eventually come to protect ourselves from unwanted surveillance? Maybe sunglasses that don’t allow cameras to recognize you? (I know kind of a stretch)


Long Xi Session 11

I feel that distraction perhaps does not associate with any one emotion, but a lack-of-emotion. In the real world, when left with ourselves in a pure form, have only ourselves and our emotions, our thoughts. Any objects, environments, or experiences around that can change or form our further emotions, but perhaps online content, the internet and real-world environments are also distracting ourselves from our pure emotion. Distraction is at once the inundation with emotions through alluring forms and the lack of emotion in distracting ourselves from what’s inside. I think distraction is valuable, after all, our entire systems of society could arguably be a distraction. But I think it keeps us occupied, and can keep us from being left with an existential feeling of the absurdity of life.

I think its interesting how ASMR videos blur the line between distraction and attention; while they still use strategies on sites like Youtube to capture your attention/distract you from other content, like using exciting titles or thumbnails, they ultimately offer a different type of sobered distraction once you click. The enjoyment of ASMR videos is rooted in total and unfettered capture of attention through the use of immersive sound and external technologies (high-quality mics, and noise-cancelling headphones). While capturing attention, they offer an important distraction in a virtual form to a world perhaps hectic and therefore where peace is unattainable in the outside world. However, ASMR is not always immersive or peaceful; it can be jarring, aggressive, sad, arousing, funny etc. ASMR, in many forms, can capture all sorts of attentions and fundamentally distracts at the same time. This captures what Paasonen claims to be an interweaved network of both attention and distraction in networked connectivities

Sarah – Question respond

In which sense sociality in social media is not only human? How/where do you see that? What is the role of affect in that entanglement?

I think I can answer by saying that social media like Instagram for example, yes it requires the sociality of followers/people who decides to interact with your content but the part where it becomes not only human, I am tempted to say numbers. Only because when you reach a certain place with likes or subscribers, the person behind the account turns into this person that feels pressure to keep up with the status of the platform. It becomes less human when something you do for fun becomes something you have to do to be able to be happy. If I can take another example that is very common nowadays which is burnout related to content creators. A lot of them after a while of dedicating their time to creating and keeping their audience entertained are tired of working so hard. From this, many of them always say that they don’t feel like their true self. This is when they always tell us that overwork themselves for the sake of entertainment.

My response session 11

I normally associate my distraction with eating to decrease negative emotions like being highly anxious/stressed, overthinking, boredom or when I feel alone. Distraction is anything you do to take your attention off of strong emotions you are feeling. However, the effect of ASMR plays a huge role for me personally when a I am stressed or cannot sleep for instance I watch ASMR videos which relax me and calm me down. This can be distracting for me at times since I tend to watch many of different videos about ASMR.

Francesca Week 11 Question Reply

What emotion do you associate with distraction? Why?


My first instinct is to associate distraction with boredom, but I feel like it would be more accurate to say that I associate it with feelings of passivity. I don’t just get distracted because i’m bored necessarily, but more so that I am not making a conscious effort to focus on what I am doing and then, not on purpose and without realizing it, my mind slowly shifts to other things and before I know it my brain has moved on. It is not that I am looking for distractions because I am bored, but that when I don’t actively engage with something that I tend to get distracted. 

Juliette week 11

  1. In which sense sociality in social media is not only human? How/where do you see that? What is the role of affect in that entanglement?

Our communications become sur-human for many reasons. For example, we use emoticones instead of looking into the details of someone’s facial emotions to communicate. We understand information through a numbers of codes like LOL, brb, nvm, :), :(. Our social skills are still useful when talking with people online, but this activity requires us to change out expectations from the conversation. We don’t mind expressing thoughts without receiving a clear answer when, in “real life”, when we adress something to a certain person, we expect a dynamic conversation to follow. Also, when we are on social medias and online platforms, we loose sight of reality. For example, we might know we have a lot of things to do, like homework, but we keep scrolling on our feed for one hour, maybe even two, keeping that thought in the back of our head “I really have to let go of my phone right now”. But were unable to do so. So, even our own will is not enough to control our actions, we are hypnotized. That is pretty dehumanizing on my opinion. If being human is our capacity to love, understand and communication, then scrolling a facebook feed limits a lot of these actions. For example, we begun to fonction like a machine, scanning the codes on our screen to find one that is catchy, new,  bright and entertaining. So our eyes are like machines, searching for content, more than they are for us to discovers micro expressions, understand languages ect

  • What type of emotion do you associate distraction with? Why? 

I associate it with escapism, often sadness, the need to not think to not be in your own shoes. Or stress management, when I have a lot to do, I “allow” myself some time to wander off the web. But the problem with that is that I never respect my own limits, like addiction.