This essay argues for the impersonally social character of phatic communication in the context of contemporary networked media culture. Georg Simmel's theorization of sociability as a playfully impersonal mode of social being prior to difference provides the basis for a discussion of the pleasures of phatic communication in digital media in terms of connection not with persons but with the network itself. This pleasure has two distinct poles of experience: being and relating. The latter portion of the essay examines this distinction through the analysis of two digital artworks, Frances Stark's My Best Thing and David OReilly's Mountain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory