Ways I Hurt Myself To Hurt You, Lora Mathis
An ongoing photo series exploring people’s destructive habits following breakups.
"Bae" is an exciting linguistic invention to us because it means the same thing as gf/bf but you can use it without a possessive pronoun— ”Steve” (@extranapkins)September 22, 2014
the word bae has done more for gender equality than Emma Watson. #baeforbae— ***jayy (@jayydodd)September 25, 2014
Given the number of words ever written about love and lovers it is crazy to me that the words we use to characterize relationships are so woefully inadequate. The words boyfriend and girlfriend are two of my least favorite. They are stringently binary, they belie the existence of platonic friendship between the sexes, and they are also infantile, implying a kind of immaturity to relationships that are not marriage.
With all of this in mind, “Bae” strikes me as an incredibly important linguistic development. It’s ironic that AAE makes the most contributions to linguistic growth and development in the United States but White society still continues to denigrate the vernacular as “poor speech” even as we appropriate it.
I desperately want for “bae” to help break down our colonial language’s gendered binaries and bourgeois romantic constructs. But chances are White America will just slap the word on Urban Outfitters beanies without internalizing any of it’s revolutionary linguistic implications.
(S/O to jayydodd for decolonizing my twitter feed so early in the morning)
Let me give you one example. A while ago I met an extremely interesting developer in Holland. He was working on smart phone camera technology. A representational mode of thinking photography is: there is something out there and it will be represented by means of optical technology ideally via indexical link. But the technology for the phone camera is quite different. As the lenses are tiny and basically crap, about half of the data captured by the sensor are noise. The trick is to create the algorithm to clean the picture from the noise, or rather to define the picture from within noise. But how does the camera know this? Very simple. It scans all other pictures stored on the phone or on your social media networks and sifts through your contacts. It looks through the pictures you already made, or those that are networked to you and tries to match faces and shapes. In short: it creates the picture based on earlier pictures, on your/its memory. It does not only know what you saw but also what you might like to see based on your previous choices. In other words, it speculates on your preferences and offers an interpretation of data based on affinities to other data. The link to the thing in front of the lens is still there, but there are also links to past pictures that help create the picture. You don’t really photograph the present, as the past is woven into it.
The result might be a picture that never existed in reality, but that the phone thinks you might like to see. It is a bet, a gamble, some combination between repeating those things you have already seen and coming up with new versions of these, a mixture of conservatism and fabulation. The paradigm of representation stands to the present condition as traditional lens-based photography does to an algorithmic, networked photography that works with probabilities and bets on inertia. Consequently, it makes seeing unforeseen things more difficult. The noise will increase and random interpretation too. We might think that the phone sees what we want, but actually we will see what the phone thinks it knows about us.