Preamble to Instructions on how to synchronize a Smartphone

Think of this: When they present you with a smartphone they are gifting you with a tiny flowering hell, a wreath of roses, a dungeon of air. They aren’t simply wishing the smartphone on you (and many more, and we hope it will last you, it’s a good brand, last generation, anchor of apps); they aren’t just giving you this minute stonecutter which will bind to your days and walk along with you. They are giving you — they don’t know it, it’s terrible that they don’t know it — they are gifting you with a new, fragile, and precarious piece of yourself, something that is yours but not a part of your body, that you have to strap to your body like your belt, like a tiny, furious bit of some¬thing hanging onto your wrist. They gift you with the job of having to charge its batteries, an obligation to update it, so that it goes on being a smartphone; they gift you with the obsession to checking, under the table of every restaurant, the messages and notifications, the new apps announced, to syncronise it with the clouds. They give you the gift of fear, some¬one will steal it from you, it’ll fall on the street and get broken. They give you the gift of your trademark and the assurance that it’s a trademark better than the others, they gift you with the impulse to compare your smartphone with other smartphones. They aren’t giving you a watch, you are the gift, they’re giving you yourself for the smartphones’s birthday.
Remarking on “Schenken als Problem” (“The Gift as a Problem”) exhibition (Berlin, November 2013 – January 2014, Group Global 3000, art and other sustainabilities). Inspired by and edited from the Julio Cortazar’s Text “Preamble to the Instructions on How to Wind a Watch”, originally translated from Spanish by Paul Blackburn.
Collage: Charles Chaplin image (Stealing Charlie Chaplin macabre grave – blog “Surviving History”) / Desktop apps.



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