Unplugged, Seven Days With No Tech


| November 7, 2001


Unplugged, Seven Days With No Tech, by Matthew McKinnon, Shift Magazine
Here's the game: avoid digital culture for 168 hours. No computers, cell phones, television, stereos, etc. Are you up to it? Matthew McKinnon decides to play. With an ambivalent attitude toward technology, he realizes how much digital culture is used in our daily lives without a second thought. Curious to know how life would be different once he is devoid of all technology (with a few cheating instances), McKinnon writes, 'I won't know how the grass feels on the other side of the fence until I take my shoes off and let it slip between my toes.' What follows is a week-long journal filled with amusing accounts of his struggles, such as holding the remote to his stereo without turning it on. Intertwined with his personal accounts are quotes and examples of anti-industrial revolutions, such as 19th century Luddites in England and Ted Kaczynski's manifesto. He concludes that the experience will change him and make him more conscious of the pervasive influence digital culture has on us. Perhaps he will surf the Net less, play Scrabble instead of watching television, or go outside a bit more. But he proclaims, 'I won't become a better, simpler me.' McKinnon also recognizes that to most of the world, 'digital culture is thought of -- if at all -- as a luxury to be enjoyed by people who lack real problems.'
--Mariam Pourshoushtari
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