phone eyes

Your phone is driving you through this journey,

driving you mad, extracting value, whining like a baby, purring like a lover, bombarding you with deadening, maddening, embarrassing, outrageous claims that concern time, space, attention, credit card numbers. It copy-pastes your life into countless, unintelligible pictures that have no meaning, no audience, no purpose, but do have impact, punch, and speed. It accumulates love letters, insults, invoices, drafts, endless communication. It is being tracked and scanned, turning your into transparent digits, into motion as a blur. A digital eye as your heart in hand. It is witness and informer. If it gives away your position, it means you’ll retroactively have had one. If you film the sniper that shoots at you, the phone will have faced their aim. They will have been framed and fixed, a faceless pixel composition. Your phone is your brain in corporate design, your heart is a product, the Apple of your eye.

Dense clusters, radio waves, letters and snapshots, intimate and official communications, TV broadcasts and text messages drift away from earth in rings, a tectonic architecture of the desires and fears of our times. In a few hundred thousand years, extraterrestrial forms of intelligence may incredulously sift through our wireless communications. But, imagine the perplexity of those creatures when they actually look at the material. A huge percentage of the pictures inadvertently sent off into deep space is spam.

Spam is our message to the future.

Instead of a modernist space capsule showing a woman and man on the outside—a family of “man”—our contemporary dispatch to the universe is image spam, enhanced advertisement mannequins.

From the perspective of image spam, people are improvable, or, as Hegel put it, perfectible. They are imagined to be potentially “flawless,” which in this context means horny, super skinny, armed with recession-proof college degrees and always on time for their service jobs, courtesy of their replica watches. This is the contemporary family of men and women: a bunch of people on knockoff antidepressants, fitted with enhanced body parts. They are the dream team of hyper-capitalism.

— Hito Steyeri