Shopping In Jail – Douglas Cooupland

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Shopping In Jail

My notes from reading Shopping In Jail by Douglas Coupland:

About surrealism, the subconscious, Internet.

Surrealism today: a randomizer, throwing images and video clips at you. Like taking a snip out of time and putting these in sequence.

On Ed Ruscha. And about the insignificance of (most) of our actions and of (most) art.

About Craft and novelty. Novelty that reflects the prominent yet less powerful forces of a culture is interesting. The crafted object may be the new modern art, in a world of digital overwhelm.

A piece on Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men. The piece is difficult to follow, I have not read that book. It seems a literary manifestation like Harari’s Homo Deus:

Raj is whatever and whoever it is we all seem to have become: a race of time-traveling time killers Googling and Wikiing until our machines transform into something smarter than ourselves, we humans left only to hope the machines may save us in the process.

A piece about Coupland’s visit to China for the book Kitten Clone. About how China is fully embracing new technology and the western world is hesitating complacently (if complacently is a word).

I find it difficult to accept that the new iPhone 12 or foldable Samsung is necessarily a significant technological development I cannot ignore. In my opinion we are too heads-down in today to be able to make sound judgements on the historical relevance of specific, or even more general technological development.

I understand very well why it’s located in Shanghai, but not why there isn’t also one located in Michigan, where 10 million primates needing 2,500 calories a day are sitting on top of a cold rock in the middle of the North American continent, and they’ve got nothing to do all day except go online and watch porn, TED videos, and bit-torrented movies, …


A piece about Marshall McLuhan, again difficult because I have not read McLuhans work yet. I want though. His work sounds very intriguing.
McLuhan is a futurist. Coupland sees how with all that data that “the internet” knows about us, a cloud gänger is thinkable, but he misses sentience.
The same word that Kevin Kelly uses as one of the characteristics of the Technium, the “living” body of evolving technologies.
Sentience of the Technium is not yet to be born. It is there already, says Kelly.

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