Monday, January 28, 2013
Harry Halpin on getting attuned to Anonymous.
We claim that Anonymous is a Stimmung. Stimmung is a powerful yet often misunderstood concept associated with Heidegger, who wrote: ‘what we indicate ontologically by our state of mind is ontically the most familiar and everyday sort of thing; our mood [Stimmung], our Being attuned.’ The translation of Stimmung as ‘mood’ leaves some of the nuances of the term unsaid. The examples given by Heidegger, which seem pertinent to Anonymous, are those of boredom, anxiety, and – most of all – laughter. Even without the Internet, laughter is started by some content or event, and then spreads throughout those present. Now imagine what happens when the ability of laughter to spread is removed from the latencies of our pre-Internet everyday temporality and spatiality, and instead spreads through the Internet using near real-time communications. As documented extensively by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman, lulz is the key to understanding Anonymous. The initial awakening of Anonymous was the collective laughter of the Internet – the lulz – that arose from a simplistic Internet image board, the anonymous and at times sleazy virtual city of 4chan.
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