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Continual Partial Awareness
A New Performance by Cory Arcangel
8:30pm Friday 14 November 2008
New Museum - 235 Bowery, New York NY
There is a particular aesthetic quality to the half-interested everyday in contemporary life. Or so the artist Cory Arcangel seems to be suggesting with the press release for Continual Partial Awareness, a new performance being presented at the New Museum this Friday. The tendency towards a model of multitasking productivity wildly pervading software interface design has engendered a novel understanding of engagement: a task or an individual may occupy our time - and then, only with qualification - only until an interruption occurs, a mobile device vibrates, the computer announces a new message or an active application begins to visually beg our attention. The performance is part of Lauren Cornell's New Silent Series. From the press release:
According to the artist: “This performance is going to be about ‘Continuous Partial Awareness’—a phrase that was first described to me as meaning ‘you know, like, when you have three IM windows open, two e-mail in boxes dinging away, are texting five different people, and also have five tabs open on your browser, each with updated content.’ It is about paying attention to everything all the time, but not really concentrating on anything. It is different from multitasking, because with multitasking, one actually is expected to concentrate on tasks at some point, even if in small doses. ‘Continuous Partial Awareness’ is the eroded degenerate modern version of multitasking. I still don’t know how this performance will take shape, it might be a lecture, a music show, a broadcast, a chess game, etc., but what I do know is that the feeling of ‘non-concentration’ that has seeped into today’s life through our flat-screen displays and Wi-Fi will be its starting point."