Interviewer: What do you remember?

Hari Kunzru: I mean, actu­al­ly I was think­ing on the way over here my first use of a net­work com­put­er was much much ear­li­er when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. My dad had a friend who had access to a uni­ver­si­ty net­work in London, and we went round to his house. I think my dad had some meet­ing or some­thing. And he set me online, and he had one of those old cra­dle modems with the old-fashioned phones. The phone receivers just when in and was kin­da taped into this cra­dle. And I played Adventure, text adven­ture game. Also I played some ver­sion of Lunar Lander that I think was­n’t even graph­i­cal, it just num­bers where you were try­ing to kind of con­trol your rate of descent in this abstract kind of lunar pod thing. And I remem­ber I thought this was amaz­ing. What actu­al­ly it set me up to do is to play lots of Dungeons & Dragons as a preteen. 

But my first real use of the Internet was when I was… This was in prob­a­bly 91 or —2. And I was a grad­u­ate stu­dent at Warwick University, and I was part of a phi­los­o­phy depart­ment which… I mean nom­i­nal­ly I was sup­posed to be there think­ing about phi­los­o­phy and lit­er­a­ture. I was sup­posed to be read­ing German Romanticism and think­ing about the noumenon. And actu­al­ly, I had fall­en among kind of Deleuzians and AI peo­ple. And there was a creep around, a guy called Nick Land, who was attempt­ing to kind of fuse think­ing about Deleuze and Nietzsche with… And see, he’s—I mean in terms of sort of aca­d­e­m­ic phi­los­o­phy he was attempt­ing to kind of dis­solve the canons of aca­d­e­m­ic phi­los­o­phy and he was using a lot of kin­da Burroughian cut-ups and stuff like that. But there was a great inter­est in the Internet as a kind of means of accel­er­a­tion and sort of dis­so­lu­tion of bound­aries and orders and so on. 

And so, anoth­er per­son who was in the mix there… I mean var­i­ous peo­ple who’ve since got quite well-known were around like [indis­tinct] the cul­tur­al crit­ic. The peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with Mute mag­a­zine. The guy who’s now…a dub­step, record label guy called Kode9

So rave cul­ture’s also a part of this as well. I mean there was a very strong con­nec­tion between the sort of psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of lis­ten­ing to tech­no and being on a dance­floor, and things that the Internet could poten­tial­ly achieve. And I mean I got my— Sadie Plant was also part of this group as well. And then she was writ­ing crit­i­cism and writ­ing from a fem­i­nist perspective. 

And so I got my first net con­nec­tion around then. I had an account with Demon, the Internet provider in London. And I got one of those… I bought a modem, was I was either— I think I got a brand new, whizzy 14.4 modem, and that was con­sid­ered super fast at the time. And then just sor­ta start­ed to explore. And I remem­ber that—I mean, it was… The brows­er I was using was Mosaic. It was before Netscape had kind of turned up. And the phi­los­o­phy at that time for the Web— There were I think around…I was read­ing recent­ly, maybe about 5 or 600 web sites at that point. And they almost all were either direct­ly computer-related or kind of geeks, extreme culture-related. There were begin­nings of sort of sci­ence fic­tion and word lists and book­lets to make. 

And the idea was very much that this infor­ma­tion would be stored in a stan­dard­ized form and you would con­fig­ure how you saw it. So the idea of web design was not present at all. I mean, you chose the font; you were choos­ing… Don’t know if you could choose col­ors or any­thing. I think all web pages were gray, as I remem­ber. Everything seemed to be gray in back­ground, the links were blue and then they’d turn pur­ple when you clicked on them. 

And see­ing as I had­n’t real­ly ful­ly migrat­ed onto the Web from bul­letin boards… So I was def­i­nite­ly going on… I feel like it was LambdaMOO or anoth­er MOO. I was spend­ing quite a lot of time on some MOO on which the cul­ture was a kind of hot tub, Northern California thing, and I was begin­ning to read Wired as well. And I was going to a lot of par­ties and doing quite a lot of E and very much a part of that rave scene, and had been for a few years by that point. And it def­i­nite­ly seemed to be part of the same expe­ri­ence. We were con­vinced that there was some kind of tran­scen­dence— No you know, I was quite a sort of rig­or­ous mate­ri­al­ist so I was not inter­est­ed in the sort of hip­pie spir­i­tu­al­ized side of that. I mean, I thought that was a kind of mis­take. But in terms of the nation-state and var­i­ous kind of estab­lished pow­er blocs, my friends and I were very excit­ed by sort of immense [indis­tinct] poten­tial of the net. 

Also, one oth­er impor­tant expe­ri­ence around then was to do with the Balkan War. And there was some­thing called the Pakrac Project, where there were peo­ple who were using email to spread news of what was going on in the Balkans, and they were… And I remem­ber it was very pro­found for me to get these mes­sages in my inbox which were just sort of… I mean it’d be utter­ly banal now, but to real­ize that I could have a kind of imme­di­ate access to things that were going on in this European war zone, that was…that was… Yeah I mean, things like… I mean going on Usenet and down­load­ing pic­tures, and also sort of real­iz­ing that there were these sub­cul­tures that I had­n’t been exposed to before. A lot of sort of sex­u­al sub­cul­tures, and a lot of under­grounds of dif­fer­ent sorts, polit­i­cal and just cul­tur­al under­grounds. The sort of mod­ern prim­i­tive thing was around. Like peo­ple… You know V Vale and the RE/Search…it was of that, the kind of things that he was col­lect­ing togeth­er and sort of curat­ing for peo­ple were turn­ing up on the net. And I remem­ber going to lots of quite extreme sites, you know. You know, the… NAMBLA, the National Association of Man/Boy Love, and things that I’d nev­er real­ly con­front­ed or had kind of under­stood I don’t under­stand and to just kind of receive the voic­es of these kind of peo­ple was actu­al­ly kinda—I mean, I was actu­al­ly quite dis­turbed by a lot of the stuff I was see­ing, because…you know, I just nev­er kin­da had access to it before. I mean certainly…I mean all that seemed com­plete­ly new. 

And cult stuff, and reli­gious, mys­ti­cal fringe stuff. I mean it was like a kinda—I was always inter­est­ed in under­grounds of var­i­ous kinds and this was sud­den­ly a sort of…access to every kind of fringe that was— It’s very odd, I mean that was the stuff that was on ear­li­er, you know. Just beyond the straight kind of tech stuff, it seemed that very ear­ly on, peo­ple who had no access to main­stream media were on the net and then the main­stream media were always the last to kin­da start using it.

And so after a year at Warwick and a lit­tle bit of time back in London, through Sadie Plant I got a job, which was at Wired mag­a­zine when they set up a British edi­tion. And that was sort of the begin­ning of the next phase for me. Because I’d been a read­er of Wired, and for me it was all Jaron Lanier wear­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty head­sets, and smart drugs, and this kind of exper­i­ment­ing on the self and exper­i­ment­ing on iden­ti­ty and [indis­tinct phrase] about… You know that line about on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of pro­ject­ing var­i­ous sort of vir­tu­al selves that weren’t con­nect­ed to your real self. And those things seemed quite real and lit­er­al at that point. And it was only real­ly through rep­e­ti­tion that you real­ized the lim­its of it.

And then I got involved with Wired— It was a British edi­tion of the San Francisco-based mag­a­zine. And what I had­n’t under­stood about their thing was that they were out of a very strong­ly lib­er­tar­i­an, and a right lib­er­tar­i­an, cul­ture. That the founder, Louis Rossetto, had been at Berkeley in the late 60s and had actu­al­ly sued Berkeley for dis­rupt­ing his edu­ca­tion by allow­ing Vietnam protests on cam­pus. And he cit­ed his favorite nov­el as this Robert Heinlein nov­el where space colonists break off from the gov­ern­ment of the world and form their own sort of fron­tier lib­er­tar­i­an state. So, sud­den­ly there was this angle that was very dif­fer­ent from the kin­da eman­ci­pa­to­ry left pol­i­tics that my London friends and I had asso­ci­at­ed with the Internet, and it was com­ing from this place that was to do with dis­so­lu­tion of reg­u­la­tion, and dis­rup­tion of estab­lished sys­tems of gov­ern­ment. And it’d be like John Perry Barlow writ­ing that bor­ders are gonna dis­ap­pear and the nation-state was gone. 

And there was a real­ly sort of…extropian angle as well. I don’t know if you hear so much about the extropi­ans any­more, but they were all about tran­scend­ing their phys­i­cal and men­tal lim­its. Mainly, they did­n’t want to die. So they were all get­ting inter­est­ed in cryo­gen­ics and var­i­ous sorts of neur­al enhance­ment. And it seems to be the same thing that…I mean, more recently…Peter Thiel and the sort of anti-government, right lib­er­tar­i­an peo­ple who come out of that part of the cul­ture, they saw this as a chance to kind of lib­er­ate them­selves in that way. And I was very uncom­fort­able with that, because I was quite com­mit­ted to social jus­tice and a sense that it was­n’t just about this white elite in Northern California. That the real poten­tial of the Internet was a more mass thing. 

And I remem­ber ask­ing my editor…maybe it was even Louis Rossetto—it was actu­al­ly when he was over in London, and I asked him why they nev­er covered…half the peo­ple in the world had nev­er made a phone call, and why were we always con­cen­trat­ing on this tiny num­ber. And he told me, There are no have-nots, there are only have-laters.”

At the time I had a very kin­da con­fused sense of pol­i­cy, and I did have a sense that the Internet was going to…and a net­worked world was not in the con­trol of nation­al gov­ern­ments. And I remem­ber I post­ed a text to Nettime (I was quite active on Nettime) try­ing to kin­da frame my rather con­fused ideas about that. And I was just shot down by a guy called Richard Barbrook, who’s a…I would say a social­ist net crit­ic, you know, who was say­ing that I was deny­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of pol­i­tics and I was falling into this kin­da tech­no­crat­ic Wired mode. And you know, fair enough; I think I was. I had­n’t real­ly under­stood to what extent this kind of engi­neer­ing— You know, I think I prob­a­bly even used the phrase it’s an engi­neer­ing prob­lem.” That was the sort of lan­guage that we were being taught to speak in at Wired, you know, that you had to have this kind of non-ideological, utter­ly prag­mat­ic notion of your­self and it’s a prob­lem and I’ll fix it—I’ll hack it.

And I now under­stand real­ly, real­ly, the con­se­quences of that posi­tion and I’m very very opposed to it—rather embar­rassed by this text which is still float­ing around some­where, no doubt. I mean Barbrook and anoth­er guy called Andy Cameron wrote a text called The Californian Ideology that was pub­lished in Mute, and it was…it’s a fun­ny text, real­ly, because I mean they brought for­ward that Minitel, the French Minitel sys­tem, as an exam­ple of a very good sort of state social­ist net­work. I mean Minitel was just a…joke.

But they were cor­rect in point­ing out the sort of lib­er­tar­i­an ambi­tions of a cer­tain sec­tion of that kind of Wired tech­noc­ra­cy. And that text got a lot of trac­tion and… By this time my day job was at Wired but I was also one of the edi­tors at Mute so I had a kind of very very dif­fer­ent net­work and I was also part of… Anyway I gave the Mute text to Louis Rossetto, who wrote an angry email back to me that we then print­ed in Mute so I kin­da was try­ing to bridge between these two very dif­fer­ent parts of the culture.

And at the same time, I was still spend­ing a lot of time in the kin­da rave and Internet cul­ture. I remem­ber one…there was a club in London called Megatropolis. And anoth­er one called the Parallel YOUniversity—Y O U niver­si­ty. And one guy there—he was called Fraser…Fraser Park, maybe. Fraser some­thing or oth­er, this guy who ran these clubs. And he had a [indis­tinct] sort of…higher con­scious­ness notion of what the Internet was about. And he would bring trance DJs in the main room and then there were the side-rooms with kind of brain machines and var­i­ous kinds of visu­al trip­ping devices, and peo­ple come could and demon­strate their things. And there were also dis­cus­sions and—it was a very kind of… At that time, there was this rather fun­ny idea that at the mid­dle of of the night at a rave was def­i­nite­ly the time to thrash out big, intel­lec­tu­al ques­tions. I mean I remem­ber it being—at that club I would meet some Japanese guy who would hook me up to a brain feed­back device and you could kin­da see a visu­al out­put of your var­i­ous brain emis­sions, your alpha and gam­ma emis­sions. And there were med­i­ta­tion— There was one guy who had a thing where if you’d your­self into a med­i­ta­tion state a lit­tle train would go around a toy track. And there were oth­er things that you’d just kind of go into a cham­ber and and be bom­bard­ed with light.

I mean things that now I real­ize were descen­dants of 1960s things like La Monte Young, Dream House, the down­town [indis­tinct ]. But all this was kin­da com­ing to me through the rave cul­ture, so I was writ­ing about that stuff for Wired and bring­ing— And some­times falling foul of the edi­tors because they want­ed more of the busi­ness side, busi­ness stories—but I was hav­ing to kind of some­times be a bit young busi­ness jour­nal­ist going to see Nokia. And some­times I’d be out late at night in a brain machine. And then oth­er times kind of talk­ing [indis­tinct ] pol­i­tics with the Mute lot.

I mean one thing…I think it was Megatropolis. But they invit­ed me… The highest…most speedy, amaz­ing tech­nol­o­gy at the time was an ISDN line. And you could trans­mit real-time video over that. And they some­how man­aged to get Arthur C. Clarke, who of course was the inven­tor of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite, to talk from his home in Sri Lanka via satel­lite link through an ISDN line to this club. And I inter­viewed him. It was real­ly bizarre. It was three in the morn­ing. Banging trance night­club, every­body had dropped a pill. And they just cut the music. And then sud­den­ly there’s Arthur C. Clarke on the screen and then me ask­ing him about— I mean no one want­ed that at all; it was hilar­i­ous. I had to be in this tiny lit­tle room where all the kit was, which was where the tele­com stuff came into the club—it was in the arch­es near Charing Cross Station in London—and did this chop­py, dropped-frame, con­ver­sa­tion with Arthur C. Clark—that I think is actu­al­ly on YouTube some­where, or part of it is on YouTube. But it was hilar­i­ous, you know. They had all these kind of deranged trip­pers who had just had their cos­mic trance expe­ri­ence interrupted.

But there was a lot of the DJ cul­ture around that. Like I remem­ber cov­er­ing things where there would be a DJ in Belgium and he would play a set down an ISDN line to a club in London. And I met some guys who’d been doing pirate radio who then migrat­ed onto the net and they were doing some of the first—certain in Britain I think they were the first stream­ing radio sta­tion, and they were kin­da new enough for Wired to run a fea­ture on them. A guy called Mad Ash. I was invit­ed to spend evenings with Mad Ash and the pirates as they would kind of talk and they’d play their streams that almost nobody I would’ve thought—there was prob­a­bly I don’t know, a few dozen peo­ple who would pick up this…you know, who’d have fast enough con­nec­tions to get any sort of mean­ing­ful radio [indis­tinct ]. This would be like 94-ish by that time.

And I also went to dark­est Wales to see some­body called Lyn Hurn, who had been a peace activist in the 80s who’d actu­al­ly used the Internet in its real­ly real­ly ear­ly days to put togeth­er anti-nuclear activists. And you know, she’s an old Welsh lady who ran a cafe in a tiny tiny village.

And at that time, I mean in Britain…most peo­ple did­n’t know what the Internet was. I was con­tin­u­al­ly hav­ing to explain what I did and why it was inter­est­ing for com­put­ers to be attached to phone lines. And I was con­tin­u­al­ly told it’s not gonna catch on, it’s bad. But I was very very excit­ed by it. I was always kin­da con­vinced that it was gonna be transformative.

And then I think 96 or 97, the British edi­tion of Wired fold­ed because there was— They had tried to expand too far, too fast, and they could­n’t get… They had an IPO. Wired had an IPO that failed, and they had to sud­den­ly close all their loss-making busi­ness­es, which includ­ed us. 

And so I spent sort of 97, 98, and 99…at that point my only mar­ketable skill was know­ing about the Internet so I was just free­lanc­ing as a tech jour­nal­ist and I would do every­thing from like write Top Ten Computer Viruses for some sci­ence mag­a­zine, to interview-based things. I used to…[indis­tinct phrase ]. I remem­ber get­ting real­ly inter­est­ed in gen­er­a­tive algo­rithms. And that again there’s a sort of rave cul­ture inter­est in. Fractals and the Mandelbrot set and all that kind of thing. The idea that there was a sort of…that out of these very sim­ple, iter­a­tive oper­a­tions you could pro­duce very com­plex phe­nom­e­na, and espe­cial­ly visu­al phe­nom­e­na. This guy called John [Nathan?], who was mak­ing these very sort of reptilian-looking forms out of using gen­er­a­tive algo­rithms and then— He was a sort of gallery artist who was doing that.

And then I met— There was an archi­tect who’s name I for­get who was just begin­ning to use gen­er­a­tive algo­rithms for archi­tec­tur­al visu­al­iza­tions. And he pre­dat­ed all that sort of Zaha Hadid stuff by a good five or ten years, I would’ve thought. I mean I wrote about him for Wired as well.

And also I got to know the West Coast through work­ing for Wired and sort of end­ed up— I don’t remem­ber who I was work­ing for but I was writ­ing for some­body about the first dot-com boom in 98, 99, and I was stay­ing in San Francisco and going to par­ties with these very young dot-com entre­pre­neurs. And they were all pan­icked because they real­ized that the bub­ble was burst­ing. And at that time, there were some real­ly absurd projects that were get­ting mon­ey. I mean I remem­ber in Britain there was some­body who had—their big idea was a stu­dent guide to Nottingham. I mean that was the pitch. And they got sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand pounds’ worth of fund­ing from some­body for a web site that was that.

But e‑commerce was just sort of begin­ning to be a pos­si­ble thing. People were begin­ning to see that there was mon­ey to be made. I mean, friends of mine were domain squat­ters and they were, and there were actu­al­ly peo­ple who made a lot of mon­ey by just kind of reg­is­ter­ing domains and get­ting paid to give them up to the com­pa­nies that they relat­ed to more rightfully.

I had a fun­ny gig once which was the Canadian tourist board want­ed to prove that it was pos­si­ble to book trav­el on the Internet. So they paid me—they paid me quite a lot of money—and they gave me a bud­get, and I had to go to Canada and go to at least three Canadian provinces, doing all my book­ing and every­thing on the net. That would’ve been 98 or 99. Again, it’s banal now to imag­ine that— But it was just not under­stood as a pos­si­bil­i­ty then and this was a very advanced thing to do. So I mean, I got a plane tick­et and a train tick­et and some guest hous­es and a hotel and a rental car. And that was a news­pa­per arti­cle. I mean that was an inter­est­ing enough thing to do that there was a news­pa­per arti­cle in it.

So yeah, and that by the late 90s it was clear that the…just as the rave cul­ture would die a death and it became this sort of entire­ly com­mer­cial DJ cul­ture and ille­gal raves in fields kin­da gate­way to megaclubs…so the whole idea of a kin­da high­er con­scious­ness through some sort of com­bi­na­tion of Alexander Shulgin-synthesized chem­i­cals and use of the Internet—that was begin­ning to sort of die a death and to be replaced large­ly by a sort of land grab, you know. 

I mean there was a time when— I mean peo­ple— I mean I have no actu­al cod­ing skills or any­thing like that but I mean, peo­ple would go down the Wired mast­head and head­hunters would call us, and then I was being sort of offered jobs to run com­pa­ny net­works and things like that. Just cause they did­n’t know who to find and they assumed that every­body asso­ci­at­ed with this mag­a­zine must be ahead of the game. And var­i­ous jour­nal­ists I know became con­sul­tants to busi­ness and did things like set up Internet incu­ba­tors and were briefly worth mil­lions of pounds on paper and then you know, two weeks lat­er they weren’t anymore.

So we went through all that kin­da dot-com boom, and I by that time was real­ly try­ing to focus on my own fic­tion. And so I fell away from the whole… I mean I’d cer­tain­ly been very inter­est­ed in the busi­ness side of it and I was­n’t real­ly cut out to be an Internet entre­pre­neur. But kin­da kept in touch with var­i­ous cur­rent sort of cul­ture… You know, still involved with Mute mag­a­zine, which was one of the first places to real­ly pub­lish seri­ous crit­i­cism about what the impli­ca­tions of new media and new tech­nol­o­gy would be.

And a lot of it was­n’t net­worked— I mean I remem­ber— I mean when DVD—uh, CD-ROMs were such a big thing. There was a lot of mon­ey put into CD-ROMs deliv­er­ing these kind of whizzy mul­ti­me­dia expe­ri­ences. Peter Gabriel put a lot of mon­ey into some­thing that was a kind of non-goal-oriented game cum sor­ta show­case to his music, some­thing like that. 

And there were…just when the infra­struc­ture got fast enough to deliv­er some sort of mov­ing imagery, there was a… Actually, would­n’t it be—no, cause they were doing it on CD-ROM. There was some­thing called Antirom in London, and I knew all those guys and I thought what they were doing was very ele­gant and very beau­ti­ful. It was very…I mean they hav­ing to be extreme­ly clever about impress­ing what they were doing into extreme­ly small mem­o­ry sizes. And I think a lot of this— And they were kin­da the new inter­face toys, effec­tive­ly. Like you could click in a place and you’d hear a sound and a lit­tle rip­ple would go out from your lit­tle mouse point­er and stuff like that. And those kin­da things were sort of state of the art around 96, 97, 98. I have a box some­where. I put all my 90s ephemera into a box in the attic and at some point I’m gonna go through it and there will be the god-awful rave graph­ics and var­i­ous of these CD-ROM toys and peo­ple excit­ed­ly deliv­er­ing a mag­a­zine on a flop­py. A lot of the things that var­i­ous peo­ple were excit­ed about…yeah.

Interviewer: Do you ever think now in terms of…how what you were expect­ing like, played out or— Like what would you say you miss?

Kunzru: I mean, I think a lot of what I feared has come to pass, and I think we’ve end­ed up with in many ways the worst pos­si­ble ver­sion of Internet cul­ture. And the Internet’s use as a means of sur­veil­lance and con­trol is now a kind of done deal and we’re all kind of col­lud­ing in our being tracked and pro­filed, and there’s very lit­tle under­stand­ing in the pop­u­la­tion at large of the impli­ca­tions of all this data col­lec­tion and data min­ing. All that sort of thing were things that we were quite con­cerned about in the ear­ly days and were try­ing to write about to warn. I mean, I remem­ber hav­ing a meet­ing with a then-conservative min­is­ter…[indis­tinct phrase]. And he was the guy who was in charge of sur­veil­lance cam­eras. And he’d just allo­cat­ed a huge bud­get for increased cam­era sur­veil­lance across the UK. And I was try­ing to talk to him about the civ­il lib­er­ties impli­ca­tions of that, and he told me blunt­ly that I was in a tiny minor­i­ty. Most peo­ple want­ed the cam­eras, so he’s going to give them the cameras. 

And the com­bi­na­tion of those cam­eras and the abil­i­ty to do var­i­ous kinds of AI or auto­mat­ed face recog­ni­tion, image recog­ni­tion technology…I mean it’s now—an infra­struc­ture is being put in place that will make it almost impos­si­ble to oppose the sta­tus quo. I mean, in the ear­ly days we real­ly believed that the Internet was kind of a world apart. There was a kind of lot of rhetoric that delib­er­ate­ly obfus­cat­ed its phys­i­cal sub­strate. But I remem­ber cov­er­ing ear­ly sto­ries about police raids on Internet providers and sort of real­iz­ing that actu­al­ly the data was held some­where phys­i­cal, and that peo­ple would get access to it. 

And the ear­ly [indis­tinct] attempts to put in place mon­i­tor­ing. I mean Britain— Before there was any pos­si­bil­i­ty of putting it into prac­tice, Britain had a law on the books man­dat­ing a black box at every ISP that would give the secu­ri­ty ser­vices full access in real time to traf­fic from that ISP. I mean now we’re in a week where we’ve got the sto­ry break­ing about the jour­nal­ists using their ter­mi­nals to look at the access pat­terns of key play­ers in the finan­cial mar­kets. And I think it’s kind of cor­po­rate con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and market-moving infor­ma­tion, that’s when stuff gets done as far as lim­it­ing…[indis­tinct] but lim­it­ing access to data. But in terms of just sort of the civ­il lib­er­ties of the ordi­nary cit­i­zen there’s no polit­i­cal will to pro­tect that at all.

I mean also, the Internet has become a cor­po­rate space, large­ly. And the idea that we would all be doing won­der­ful, col­lab­o­ra­tive, mind-melding through Facebook would’ve been utter­ly for­eign to all of us in that ear­ly 90s moment. Clearly, although it’s transna­tion­al and it does— I mean, it has allowed in a very real, con­crete way for me in my life to form inter­na­tion­al net­works of friends and col­leagues of var­i­ous kinds. There’s no sense in which we’d escape escape the nation-state, and there’s no sense in which it’s led to a kind of bottom-up lib­er­a­tion. I mean we were very much a…a big oppo­si­tion between top-down con­trol and some sort of emer­gent bottom-up pol­i­tics, it felt very mean­ing­ful at the time and now I think what we’re see­ing is a sort of bottom-up self-surveillance and kind of…a sort of induce­ment to give up pri­va­cy and give up inte­ri­or­i­ty in order to make that more avail­able for marketing.

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