A Mongolian horsepacking adventure through my paranoid poetics of digital ontology

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2019-05

Authors

Hazera, Eduardo Iskender

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Abstract

This is not quite an essay. It is more of a scientific experiment conducted with words. It titrates the paranoid poetics of critique with the narrative practices of social media to precipitate a postcritical theory of digital ontology. The organic compounds used in this titration were extracted from a 16-month mine of ethnography among digitalreal tourists known as Dimecams. This ethnographic mine was full of participant-observations among the “digital” and “real” aggregates of horsepacking adventures in Mongolia. Starting with myths of Mongolian adventures that circulate in the backpacker communities of Asia, this experiment rewires the narrative circuits of exploration to illuminate two distinct iterations of adventure—the “real” and the “digital.” Common sense would have it that digital adventures appearing on social media are “representations” of real adventures from the flesh. The experiments I conducted, however, demonstrated that the digital and the real are actually two separate ontologies in which different types of adventures occur. Real adventures are full of misery and hunger while digital adventures are nothing but epic selfies and unhinged freedom. The radical alterity between these two kinds of adventures necessitated a turn towards ontology. However, in this ontological turn, my experiment spun out of control and crystallized as a fractal. That fractal was later revealed to be a continuously self-referential postcritique of the paranoid poetics of critique. The same fractal was also shown to be the operational procedure which kept the narrative ontology of digital adventures afloat in a self-sustaining world that endlessly retold itself into existence. What emerged at the end of this experiment was a not-quite-ontology composed of not-quite-beings—which, in the not-too-distant future, will detach itself from reality entirely, drifting off into space and forming a new planet

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