Brave New Screens: Soma, FOMO, and Friendly Fascism after 1984: Surveillance

Roberto Simanowski

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Super Bowl commercials teach us how to conceive of surveillance. While Apple promises to fight Big Brother with a personal computer, Coca-Cola invites us to think different, i.e. positively about security cameras. The whitewashing of surveillance accompanies the ‘big brotherization’ of Apple. However, the whitewashing may only be a distraction from another more subtle, more effective (and after all more amusing) progression towards a dystopian future: the constant sharing without friction and language and thus without the distance that would allow for reflection and critical thinking. In this essay, I discuss the symbolic value of the year 1984 and its link to the ongoing move from lingual to visual communication. It underlines that the television screen or smartphone is the sibling of the surveillance camera and shows why the dystopian future we fear won’t be like George Orwell’s 1984 or Anthony Burgess’ 1985.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherInstitute of Network Cultures
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018


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