All Lockers Must Be Emptied and Unlocked

Di Cao — Digital Propinquity

“The world we live in now seems rhizome, even schizophrenic, calling for theories of rootlessness, alienation, and psychological distance between individuals and groups on the one hand, and fantasies(or nightmares) of electronic propinquity on the other.” — Ajun Appadurai, 1990


Life is different in this digital age. Day-to-day communications, the meaning of friendship and family, and thus the human condition is arguably more complex than ever before. This dramatic shift that is nurtured by technology is neither simplistically positive or negative. Individuals now have unprecedented, convenient and efficient communication with each other on a rapid global scale. Yet why do we still feel lonely?

Estrangement, social alienation and detachment in the modern age encourages us to warm ourselves with the cold blue lights of digital screens because it creates the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. This digital nearness becomes a fantasy but also a nightmare. The instantaneous connection to others seems more like a symptom than a cure, thus perpetuating humanity into a deeper state of isolation.