Californian Ideology

The Rebirth of the Modern
Track 5

The Californian Ideology rejects notions of community and of social progress and seeks to chain humanity to the rocks of economic and technological fatalism. Once upon a time, West Coast hippies played a key role in creating our contemporary vision of social liberation. As a consequence, feminism, drug culture, gay liberation and ethnic identity have, since the 1960s, ceased to be marginal issues. Ironically, it is now California which has become the centre of the ideology which denies the relevance of these new social subjects.

It is now necessary for us to assert our own future - if not in circumstances of our own choosing. After twenty years, we need to reject once and forever the loss of nerve expressed by post-modernism. We can do more than 'play with the pieces' created by the avant-gardes of the past.

We need to debate what kind of hypermedia suits our vision of society - how do we create the interactive products and on-line services we want to use, the kind of computers we like and the software we find most useful. We need to find ways to think socially and politically about the machines we develop. While learning from the can-do attitude of the Californian individualists, we also must recognise the potentiality of hypermedia can never be solely realised through market forces. We need an economy which can unleash the creative powers of hi-tech artisans. Only then can we fully grasp the Promethean opportunities as humanity moves into the next stage of modernity.

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