Published on 25th August 2019 by

How can we live in the now? What is happening now? And how has life changed in our digital age when it comes to the here and now? American media theorist and writer Douglas Rushkoff explain in this essay how modern media changed our relation to time and the here and now. According to Rushkoff, we are suffering from different syndromes, that have come with the digital age we are living in now. This episode of Backlight’s studio lab series is
about time, the now and the tricks on how to digital detox.

We are at the same time through modern media in several places, but where are we? Is “here and now” what’s on your screen or is it where you physically stand? It is time to return to the real now says Douglas Rushkoff. In his book Present Shock, When Everything Happens Now, Douglas Rushkoff argues that we have all suffered from five syndromes that belong to the always-on society.

His book is non-fiction and published in 2013. The book introduces the concept of present shock, a state of anxiety in which we all live in as we try to keep up with the ever-increasing speed and immediacy of time. The instantaneous nature of digital technology has shaped the way we perceive time and deal with it. Rather than focusing on building a better future, our society is primarily concerned with creating a good present.

We must be permanently accessible but feel alienated continuously from the present and from each other. With different kinds of clocks as inspiration material, Guernica, Ritalin and a list of penetrating video fragments, Douglas Rushkoff teach us the tricks of the digital detox. We live in an ‘always on’ society and are alienated from the present moment and each other. Do you also often feel that time is slipping through your fingers? That you are in different places at the same time, on the train between a and b, via your smartphone, in a text conversation with a friend, in an e-mail at work and your mind on a tropical vacation? Are you missing the peace in your now?

Original title: De herovering van het nu

Director: Alexander Oey
Research: William de Bruijn
Production: Helen Goossens
Editors: Henneke Hagen, Frank Wiering

Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2014.
© VPRO Backlight April 2014

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