mEntAl frAgmenTation /// fractal Prosthetics

Mental Fragmentation


Mental fragmentation is a phrase used to describe the mental state of someone who has memories written into their brain from multiple sources over time, especially those who are heavy multitaskers. When multitasking, the brain does not store related memories in one place, but in small pieces. This causes performance and recall to suffer. One can easily see this when installing software while leaving other programs running, or downloading a bunch of images and storing them in different places all over the hard drive. The computer’s memory gets fragmented, much like a brain becomes fragmented. Mental hygiene becomes difficult, but important, in environments like these. Simultaneous time also causes social punctuation, as technosocial connectivity seeps into every part of social relations. In addition, memories written to the brain during these data binges are generally forgotten during REM sleep and not written to permanent or embodied memory. Conversely, one who spends physical time in the practice of study or experience of a subject will be more likely to write it into physical memory.

Thomas Eriksen wrote that “…the surplus of information has a powerful democratizing effect since it makes it impossible for the State or self-appointed elites to dictate which knowledge each of us should appropriate; at the same time, it has – for the exact same reason – fragmenting effects. A new scarce resource is coherence.”[1] Thus, “whoever is able to filter and sort the information at his or her disposal, and is thereby able to discard ninety-nine per cent as irrelevant, wins this game – not whoever is able to remember the names of Russian rivers or African heads of state”. [2]

Multitasking leaves unfinished business

Alex Roth Opinions columnist Posted: January 25th, 2011 – 5:52 PM

The chances of you reading this entire article are slim to none. You’ll receive a text, check your e-mail or divert your attention back to the show you were watching.

“Here! Here! RT @reader: What to read, what to read …”

Multitasking leaves unfinished business

Fractal Prosthetics


A person’s external devices now allow them to move faster and better (if used correctly) compressing repetitive tasks into simpler things, freeing time (or complicating it). The iPhone is a piece of what we might call “power architecture”. That is, it makes us more of a God than almost any other object. The iPhone not only allows one to see anywhere, through YouTube, RSS, and an Internet connection, it is an extension of the eye through its camera, as well as the ability to connect to anyone, anywhere, auditorially.

“When human beings are separated from the devices that grant them access to the global mnemotechnical system, from both the archive of their own lives and the collective record, they experience anxiety. “ Infomobility and Technics: some travel notes. 1000 Days of Theory Belinda Barnet

We are gods, unless we forget to plug in our devices. We are gods, unless our cell phones are broken. If they do break, we’re left with broken ears.

If the industrial age was defined by externalization of physical aspects, such as the procurement of a vehicle that allows one’s body to zoom around very quickly and well as be an extension of self, then the information age is defined by the need to transport the mind in an equally fashionable way.

Just like a high-end car dealership, the Apple store is one of the most prominent retailers of prosthetic devices. iPhone/Apple store is the leading retailer of prosthetic devices. Attach to yourself, extend yourself. Power commodity aesthetics. A chromatic blanket of commodities.

The Apple Store has become a museum of prosthetics. The Genius Bar provides advice not the story of prosthetic extensions best absorbed into your lifestyle.

Those who do not purchase iPhone or Apple objects must go to other stores, like Circuit City , where employees are not as well informed, and displays are not as precise.

In a short period of time, mind-extension prosthetics have become fluid. They change constantly.

Topics in Interfaces

Interface Resolution | Interface Culture | The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future | Fractal Prosthetics | Prosthetics And Their Discontents

Further Reading

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