Publicity and attention.

publicity always exists when people exchange information or signals, or when people observe others, or when they are in contact with each other. observed by others. Thus, there is an immensely complex system of communicative and spatial publicities of very different orders of magnitude and scope, a <font color=#FF0000Tie of publicities that overlap, superimpose, exclude, influence each other or are independent of each other. publicity, which is usually not considered enough, is based on attention and its formation. Some aspects of publicity under the perspective of attention are discussed.

Publicity not only takes place, it is naturally also staged and channeled beyond social norms and rules through the construction of media and spaces. Moreover, a transparent public sphere that is accessible to everyone is on the one hand the lifeblood of democratic societies and on the other hand a desired ideal state that must always be restored. These multiple layers of the concept of publicity, which are only hinted at here, make it so difficult to deal with.

In cyberculture, inevitably with Marshall McLuhan The idea is currently growing that computer networks will create a new, freer, closely interwoven and, above all, globally synchronized public sphere. The metaphor of the global village has come to represent this coming together of people as a global community in a space accessible through electronic media space expressed. At the same time McLuhan had wanted to point out that the global, technically conditioned publicity will profoundly change the life of people, because the spatial distance and with it the non-simultaneity, which separated publicities up to now, will collapse and therefore they will be exposed to all the events, which take place anywhere in the world, and to all the information. McLuhan has introduced the global village in a further context: that of a global central nervous system or brain, which is formed by the magic channels and whose neurons are the people and their media. After the global village, this is the metaphor that is now being used to try to describe a new, this time electronically interwoven, world Leviathan to describe. Through the human muscles, machines and brains take, for instance Joel de Rosnay, a "unimaginably coarse planetary being" increasingly takes shape and comes to life. He has also coined a name for it: KYBIONT means for him the new being, whose publicity, in a certain way, moves into his brain and interconnects the cells according to the biological and/or economic selection mechanisms of the market.

"Concerning the time of communication", so Peter Russell, "the earth has become so small that the other cells of the global brain are not further away from our brain than the limbs of our body." For him, people will no longer perceive themselves as isolated individuals through this closely interwoven and fast communication network, but they will know that they are part of a network that is rapidly growing together, "the nerve cells of an awakening global brain." In a certain sense, my remarks follow such lines of thought when I address attention as the medium of publicity, which itself is the cognitive "Organ" of an organism and regulates its publicity.

publicity, paradigm for a non-private space, in such speculations and dreams of a united humanity becomes, strangely enough, the consciousness of a superorganism and thus an internal phenomenon. Whether one understands the global brain literally as a utopia or as a new horror of a panoptic global surveillance society, in any case, with the progress of communication and information technologies and with their penetration of society, a transition took place from a publicity strongly anchored in real space and therefore local to virtual publicities, at the same time more global and homogeneous in media spaces. Their constitution includes many social, political and economic factors, it presupposes spatial and/or technical conditions, but at the same time it is also determined by them. These publics are all based on the successful generation of attention, and their first imperative is to stabilize this attention against competition.

So far, political communities are still territorially anchored and geopolitically structured, even if the political significance of borders is beginning to decline with the implementation of the information society, with the globalization of the economy and of financial flows based on rapid means of transport and communication, and with the existence of transnational companies that are geographically widely dispersed and no longer tied to individual locations.

Unlike structures of rule that are hierarchically top-down, control the public sphere to the greatest extent possible, and allow decision-making to take place as secretly as possible, liberal parliamentary democracies are based on successive, bottom-up forms of political discussion and decision-making. Both spatially and quantitatively, they are increasingly coarse and range from a local to a general publicity of a political community – and beyond that to a global publicity.

In addition to the greater transparency of the political democratic bodies, which are channeled through rules, there is always an openness of private individuals, which is regulated by competition, similar to the free market of goods and finances. It is protected from encroachment by state power by constitutionally guaranteed laws and at the same time represents a corrective to state power. Whether the public realizes itself in the medium of an argumentative discourse or by other means, however, is largely insignificant. The public sphere has always been more than an argumentative discourse in the medium of discussion or the writing and reading of texts. It is a space permeated by narratives, messages, smells, images, symbols, violence, physical presence, and, of course, people, communities, and interest groups, structured by media, technical, and architectural specifications that channel and limit them.

The discourses characterized by argumentative rules therefore represent only a section of the public sphere. In it, an attempt is made to limit the competition for attention by reducing the means to those of the competition of reasoned and convincing arguments. But even in argumentative discourse, it is not only a matter of making a case to the audience "", The logic of the argument or the truth, but also the rhetoric of plausibility, the elegance of execution and the charisma of the person who speaks or writes. The difficult to control power of aesthetics could be called this factor, and aesthetics always has to do with the effect on attention and certainly also with the entertainment value of the message.

The institutions of a democratic polity bound by territorial boundaries are to be based on the public, i.e. the public sphere.h. (TOM WAITS), after marveling at SPACE INVADERS and ASTEROIDS automatons and owning one of these PONG-variants, which are based on a legitimized representation of the people’s will by a majority decision, realize their decision-making as well as their exercise of power within the limits of the constitutional principles decided to be eternally valid in the medium of national publicity. Since the will of the people in representative democracies is mainly shaped by the electoral cycle, their representatives, if they want to stay in power, have to attract attention and presence for themselves and their policies on the public market. They must therefore constantly try to bring their own intentions into line with those of the public and the alternatives that exist there, or to make them appear sufficiently attractive to them. Therefore, advertising, that is, the deliberate subversion of the filters of selective attention, has always been – and not only recently – a vital strategy in the market of publicity.

Publicity and public spaces are always blurred from private or exclusive spheres or spaces. Questions like, for example, from which turnout an election decision has any validity at all, from which frequency a public space can be called such or which spatial, cultural, social, financial or technical circumstances make it difficult to participate in a public space, regardless of the fact that in principle everybody has access to it. Public telephone booths or toilets, but also public parks, squares, streets, which almost seamlessly merge into public buildings, shopping arcades, department stores and malls, mark the difficulties with the concept of public space.

What distinguishes, for example, a square as a public space from the publicity within media spaces?? Admission to a place does not cost anything. But in order to get to it, distances have to be overcome, time and money have to be spent. In turn, one can only participate in the public sphere of the media if one has the appropriate skills (e.g., reading, mastery of a language, knowledge of a language, etc.). B. reading, mastering a language, operating a computer), or if you have the technical equipment and money to buy what is on offer (newspapers, books, radio, television, provider and line fees).

Salons, coffee houses, reading societies, clubs, correspondence, scientific communities and publication organs, around which the bourgeois public sphere developed, were only semi-public spaces. Not everyone participated in them. At the same time, these semi-public spaces, which at that time, like today’s virtual communities, were growing explosively, gave rise to the demand for unrestricted participation in the public sphere and free access to information. On the other hand the publicity is always only an abstract construct of many local publicities, related to particular communities or participants, spatially or technically realized under certain conditions or otherwise limited, which develop side by side or against each other.

The vanishing line of the public sphere is the construction of a global space that can be entered regardless of where individuals are located and regardless of ethnic, social, gender, national, linguistic or other particularities. It is precisely because of this utopia inherent in the concept of publicity and the self-organizing dynamics associated with it that today the computer networks with their cyberspace seem to represent the redemption of the promise. Once again the fight is for radical freedom of expression, freedom, equality, access for all and connection for everyone, and once again the restrictions and exclusions, as well as the laws that go along with the real implementation of publicity, become clear.

Although today, on the Internet, everyone can in principle freely communicate, speak, write, and print their thoughts and opinions, and although everyone can enter cyberspace, create new public spaces, and even create a new public sphere "spaces" If a person can create on it or unite with others, if he has the appropriate means and moves within the locally valid, not yet globally regulated limits, the mere quantity of this virtual publicity clearly shows that publicity is governed by the laws of attention. They create notoriety, desirability and prominence, but first and foremost the perception of what appears in public, what is present in it. The publicity of a message does not ensure that it will be noticed, it has to be noticed before it can be perceived.

Today, as John Perry Barlow in an interview, apodictically and without any great effort to justify it, the basic economic model of how value is created has changed profoundly. It used to be that the scarcity of a commodity or raw material determined its price, whereas today it is the other way around. In the case of information "no longer a link between scarcity and value, but between familiarity and value."

This sounds convincing at first. Barlow believes that copyrights protect publishers rather than authors and that everyone should be able to distribute their work free of charge or, if it is commissioned, for a one-time fee. In any case, he would put his contributions, for example for magazines for which he receives a fee, on the Internet even beforehand. By doing so, he has "Name" The company has made a great deal of money from the fact that it has made a name for itself on the cover of the print product, even though anyone who wants to can access the text free of charge on the Internet. Therefore, Barlow believes that this practice has not only worked for him, but that it corresponds to a general principle: "Unlike commodities, there is no point in controlling information and keeping it scarce. If you want to increase their value, you can’t do better than to give them away and duplicate them first. And that costs on the net as good as nothing."

Admittedly, there are also some errors in thinking here. Sure, scarcity will increase the value of a desirable commodity, but gross profit can be made primarily through mass production of cheap goods that must also have brand name recognition. And, of course, not everything that is scarce is valuable and desirable, and not everything that is known has great value. In any case, notoriety plays a major role in any market – and notoriety and the amount of attention it attracts are closely related. The female also known as cognitive dissident Barlow, when he writes in his essay "The best of all worlds" writes, dab "Attention always the dominant preservation of an informational oonomy" be. Barlow was one of the pioneers of the net and, moreover, since his time as a lyricist for the Californian group Greatful Dead known. As "Cowboy" he had the bonus of aubenside in the scene of the hippies anyway, which only benefited his career. attention is attracted and aroused by conspicuousness, by what falls out of the frame of the usual. His here formed "name", thus the obtained attention bundling, he could invest then in his net activities. His texts were read because he was known, that is, because he attracted attention, which is why he was invited to well-paid lectures and contributions, because prominence – as a product of attention – is self-healing, as Marx said about capital.

It was not, however, the dissemination of texts on the Internet that Barlow wanted to make known. It is true that publicity is linked to dissemination, but people will not log on en masse to the website of a complete stranger or, in a positive sense, become aware of someone who is bombarding them with e-mails. Especially in the flood of information, selectivity is becoming more and more important, there are always few relative to the total amount of information "Names", who become prominent and can assert themselves, because one simply cannot take note of all of them. This scarcity is not only due to a limited output of competent writers or speakers in a given context, for example, but also to the bottleneck of attention of individuals and the media, whose selective strategies are mutually truncating. Awareness is already a decisive, generally self-reinforcing selection criterion. It depends on the number of times someone has attracted the attention of individuals and the media, which is also shown on the web, for example, by the links pointing to a site. The value of familiarity is created by attention, which is becoming increasingly scarce as information possibilities and media offerings increase, and therefore tends more and more to preselect what is known.

publicity is at first an empty structure with certain boundary conditions, among which are also and always stronger those of technical nature, which regulate and select occurrence and being noticed under conditions of scarcity. Who or what is not noticed or does not attract attention is not present as an public agent or is merely a non-individualized part of the audience as a resonant body of publicity. Attention precedes every observation and is therefore the basis of all communication.

Attention can be converted into money or prominence, respect or power. It is the raw material and the basic safeguard of any kind of publicity (and of course of surveillance and regulation as well). But attention is also the connecting element, the medium, the ether that permeates and constitutes small and coarse, exclusive and freely accessible, ordered and unordered public spheres. Attention is finally also an achievement that every machine operating in the real world must possess if it is to become intelligent. In the future, therefore, there will not only be registering machines in the public space that search for predefined patterns or data, but also paying attention. And because attention, whether on an individual or collective level, is always selective, it also becomes clear that publicity is always a borderline concept. This is about how it is chosen and staged, and it is about manifestations that fight for a limited capacity of perception and processing on many channels, interconnected, layered and parallel to each other.

The more extensive or coarse the public spaces in a political community are, the more distant they are from the individuals or agents located in certain regions, the less common discourse and direct democracy are practicable, the more mediated communication is, and the more important the attention market becomes.

Paradoxically, the characteristic of the public sphere and collective opinion is that it is always indirect and local – in the political sphere, for example, in the form of elections, referendums, demonstrations, rallies, opinion rallies, and media that valorize opinions with their publicity. There are partial publics at every level, in which representatives of the respective community meet in a common room and reach decisions by majority vote or pass laws within the bounds of what is possible. But on the whole, the geopolitically structured field of the public sphere is a network of nets and nodes, which, apart from the territorial reference, can be interconnected in very different ways.

There are, of course, an infinite number of group-specific publics that are more or less accessible and which, thanks to increasing mobility and the availability of media and means of communication, are becoming detached from their anchoring in a common geographical space, precisely with the above-mentioned finality of a global, densely networked public, in which real-time communication functionally re-establishes a common space. However, this is now no longer anchored in geography and architecture, i.e. in the places where the bodies are located, but is determined by basic technical conditions, i.e.h. of cable and satellite links, protocols, hardware configurations and programs constituted.

Until the introduction of telecommunication means and electronic mass media, oral discourse and thus spatial localization and centralization were simply a necessity to condense interaction and communication processes and make them intertwine topically. When we think of the public sphere, we think first and foremost of the ancient polis as a model, of the agora, where all the citizens of a community meet, discuss with each other, exchange arguments and make collective decisions.

The classical Attic democracy was, at least in retrospect, designed for the participation of all. It provided for the rapid change of reprasentants, which included the means of the Ostracism The banishment of too powerful politicians from the polis by the proverbial "court of ammunition" "Court of broken pieces". Power and prominence should not be consolidated, the medium of publicity should not be permanently occupied by individuals. Mass media as collective attention organs and control media for collective attention did not yet exist in our sense, although religious institutions, poetry, theater performances, philosophical or sophistic schools represented a preform and the exclusivity of information was gradually broken also thanks to writing.

Essentially, the Athenian polis was based on two media: language and architecture. In order to stand out in the public sphere, one had to have an appropriate appearance and the necessary eloquence. Therefore, aesthetics and rhetoric became important instruments on the public market of attention. Normally there was no common publicity in the agora, which could be created only under centralizing rules of speaking and a corresponding order of bodies. The public sphere of the agora was divided into many sub-centers, attractors, offers and groups, between which people went back and forth – controlled by what attracted attention and could bind them.

All citizens should be able to participate directly in rough political meetings. They have been found since about 500 (v. Chr.) took place in a different architectural space, on the elevated Pnyx. This space was not, like the agora, flat and open to circulating movement; it was itself concentrating, a kind of mass medium that strictly distinguished between speakers and listeners and marked this distinction spatially. With regard to mass media such as television or radio, it differed by the physical presence of speakers and audience in the same space. In principle, it allowed two-way communication. However, the structure of the space facing the front was intended to prevent this from happening. like a theater, the pnyx was an ascending semicircle opening onto the agora, in the center of which a speaker’s tribune was raised. The analog structures of a theater for plays and a space for public political meetings already anticipated the forms of communication of the electronic mass media for local communities. They show the difference between this publicity and that of the agora or virtual communities, for example in MUDs, in which everyone can participate in principle, but which is at the same time more disorderly, smaller, more confusing and more volatile.

Even the deliberation room of the 500 men who prepared the Assembly and selected the topics in advance had rows of seats rising like a theater, concentrated on the spatial center. Richard Sennett remarks on this discourse order – which goes hand in hand with the architectural medium still in use today: "This form", so Richard Sennett, "was the guarantee that the speaker could be seen by all listeners and that all listeners could see each other. No streams of strolling bodies interfered with this juxtaposition of speaker and audience." The arrangement of the seats focused the attention of those seated next to and behind each other on the speaker in the center, while at the same time allowing a kind of visual surveillance from the front or center that is not feasible on a flat surface. The speaker is no longer a part of the group, he is lifted out of it and thus gets a privileged position visually and acoustically. At the same time he, the cone of the collective attention stands, mub offer corresponding, in order not to exchange those made to receivers with their expectations of show and word plays, since otherwise by attention shrinkage the situation of the one-way communication collapses.

The standardization of the public sphere goes hand in hand with the specification of the space. How seating arrangements, spatial situations and technical equipment influence the conversation, intentionally or unintentionally, is familiar to everyone from many different situations. If the viewer or listener in public spaces structured in this way at least still has the possibility of directing his attention elsewhere, within the framework of the mass media it is always directed directly to the staged event.

It is interesting to note that with the establishment of the civic public sphere and in preparation of the electronic mass media, which unite people spatially and communicatively, a new order also took hold in theaters. Because of the difficult lighting conditions (candles), theaters were sometimes uniformly lit or dark. Only the advent of electric light plunged the auditorium into darkness, created a focusing projection space and made it possible to design it in an attention-grabbing way by means of backdrops and variable light guidance. The methodical attempt to attract and, above all, hold the attention of the distanced viewer has since been inscribed in media history and its effects, from the panorama to film to virtual reality.

All teleeffects, from storytelling and drama to books, letters, newspapers, electronic media, and computer networks, have also been driven by the fascination with breaking out of everyday life and familiar space and participating in another, distant reality, while at the same time, of course, the same techniques and media expand the organizational space of action, which in turn makes the still unfamiliar reality commonplace. Train and train was also trained in leisure time to focus attention for a long time on a particular event and to block out the environment, challenged by techniques and sanctions. The more the operation of machines with the accompanying acceleration and compression of processes and the exposure to media penetrate into the world of human life, the more attention becomes necessary not only for control, operation, orientation and reception as a permanent achievement (and therefore the complaints about distraction and overstrain grow), the more its study becomes the subject of psychology, of brain research and all varieties of communication sciences and practices, but the more the environment people are exposed to is shaped by attention attractors, whose competition results in a build-up dynamic of always having to produce and consume new effects or irritations in order to keep attention in a state of permanent alertness.

aesthetics and asthetics, that is, the teaching and presence of what pleases and attracts attention, already played an important role in the design of public space in ancient Athens. Public space was still a place in a territorially limited area of people who understood themselves as a community. Geographical proximity of the public space and quantitative limitation of the participating citizens were basic conditions for political discourse and presence in the public space in general. If you were a citizen, you could go there in a relatively short time and, if you spoke the language and were listened to, you could make your contribution to this easily comprehensible public sphere.

On the other hand, a public space that is no longer local is structured by other laws. The public space is shifting. Access to it becomes dependent on certain technical and cognitive preconditions (acquisition of newspapers, for example, competence in reading, and possibility to deceive opinions within the public sphere determined by media selectivity) and a non-simultaneity based on spatial distance and on media structures that no longer allow for a jointly generated public sphere. The local public space disintegrates into many publics and begins to overlap with the private space, which is invaded by the media and in which people participate in their publicity without being able to directly influence it. The communication network and its virtual publicity is getting wider and coarser. It brings with it new filters and selection mechanisms that develop from those of the local discourse or life community of the burghers, but also from the public sphere, developed by other media (religion, theater, narratives) or through the interactions between people away from the agora in everyday life, from rumors, stories, sensations, gossip, intrigues, self-representations, opinion deceptions and other "private" Activities in the Community.

On the other hand, writing and later the possibility of reproduction through printing as well as the distribution of writings through the post and trade let more people participate in the fragmenting public sphere. At the same time, they allow a freer articulation, because the control of the local community, in which one is permanently located, is already broken through written telecommunication. One acts in the broader, no longer local space of a public sphere, which develops its own dynamics, even if the telemedia are still trapped in the geographical boundaries of a language, whose breadth and scope is determined by political and economic power. It is only today, with the digital universal code of the computer, which may eventually realize automated translation programs, and the establishment of English as the world language, that a global public sphere is beginning to emerge. It is based on the world market, free convertibility of currencies, fast means of transport, mass media and computer networks.

As I said, some people talk about the fact that, as a result of the ever closer networking of people through telemedia, we are gradually entering not only a global public sphere, but also a global brain, in which many billions of cells are interconnected in many different ways and have access to the same information, communicate with each other and interact with each other more or less in real time. The talk of a global brain suggests that, thanks to the new teletechnologies, people will become agents of a larger organism, just as different microorganisms have joined together to form a unicellular organism, unicellular organisms have joined together to form multicellular organisms, organisms have joined together to form social associations through symbiosis. It is hoped that people will come together to form a global community that, by exchanging information in real time, will at the same time create a democratic and peaceful public sphere.

The well-known demands of cyberculture that emerge from this background – access to everyone and everything, free speech, direct democracy, absolute value of individuality, free market – not only contradict each other, they also make clear that with the biological metaphor of the brain, other rules enter the public sphere, which until now have mostly been suppressed from consciousness because they themselves have understood it differently. Brains are highly selective machines that also internally follow Darwinian rules of competition and always process information based on capacity constraints, i.e. scarcity. A crucial selection mechanism is attention to detail.

In ancient Athens, the Sophists demonstrated techniques for attracting, binding and controlling collective attention through the medium of public discourse, in order to influence people’s opinions beyond a narrowly defined, unambiguous and unambiguous view of the world "reasonable" to influence arguments to achieve the truth. Today, the media bundle attention. They are, socially speaking, collective attention systems that select information according to internal criteria. They also re-stage their content to attract and retain attention.

Attention is first of all a property of a cognitive system which, Darwinistically speaking, has evolved by virtue of the selection of selfish genes for their survival machines from a sufficient degree of complexity of the internal structure to presumably provide a selection instance for the growing options of perception and action and a mechanism necessary for learning. Similar to the talk about the autonomous individual with its will and consciousness, it was also believed that in every organism there is a central instance of attention, which is a filter for incoming stimuli from the organism itself or from an environment and which, on the other hand, like a spotlight, is able to highlight something from the environment of perceptible stimuli by focusing it.

This picture has changed today. No central and superordinate instances have been found in the brain. It is amed that there is a massively parallel processing, in many ways interconnected system of many neuronal connections, each with specific processing modes, which also internally produce different, competing versions of, for example, a perceptual content, the selection of which is done by as yet unknown selection mechanisms.

Attention is, in a way, the internal publicity of an organism. Below their can be a lot of "automatically" from "Operating system" neural circuitry and chemical transmitters for more coarse induced states are processed. However, where new situations are involved or where something is perceived at higher levels at all, attention kicks in. Certain stimuli trigger a so-called involuntary orientation behavior, which can lead to attention in the case of persistent irritation, i.e. deviation from the familiar and already stored. Even if selective attention is a kind of bottleneck, which is obviously characterized by a low and relatively slow processing capacity, it is nowadays amed that there seem to be different forms of attention and, above all, different attention systems. They each compete for a place in a superordinate window of attention, which can remain open more or less long, provided that sufficient novelty is offered and other stimuli are not stronger. On the other hand, signals processed in different areas of the brain, where visual, auditory, or other sensory or. information arriving from the body, intensified by paying attention to the stimuli.

To be able to react to certain changes in the environment or to turn to certain things in detachment from others is undoubtedly a means of survival for every living being. As a social being who has broken out of the genetic bonds of the family or clan, man is under normal conditions and mostly also in extreme situations interwoven in attention networks: out of and through attention he is for himself and as a social being – and every religion is nothing else but an economy of attention. Therefore it can be said: What does not fall or has not fallen into the attention, does not exist, because it is neither perceived nor remembered nor conscious. It is therefore not without reason that broad attention is also the decisive criterion for whether something reaches the media market, i.e. the general public.

Interactive and networked media are the result of the individualization processes that are taking place everywhere today and are also being forced on people to increase their flexibility. Ties, duration and concentration – the traditions of civic publicity and media – become inhibitors. After all, one of the decisive attractions of moving in cyberspace is the anonymity that is possible there, and the fact that one can withdraw from communication with others just as quickly and easily as one can jump to the next link with a mouse click or to the next program with the remote control. The result was an individual-tailored "public" being in the man-machine-network.

Just as the mass media – and the publicity they still create – are disintegrating, so is the solidarity community, which can be seen everywhere at present in the course of the formation of the information society, when pure capitalism is to be reintroduced and the social security systems are to be dismantled. Networks also demand individualization in this respect or "Versingelung", than they use teleworking, teleshopping, telelearning or other teleactivities to reduce the prere of having to get along with other people in a spatial situation with all the resulting problems, considerations and compromises. On the other hand, the need to select information from the growing mountain of data is leading to the development of intelligent agents that surf the networks autonomously, accompanied by attention, and communicate with other agents and also with people. The mechanization of attention is underway. Soon, people will communicate not only with each other and with dumb machines, but also with smart agents that develop their own lives and their own publicity.

Then, however, people will possibly be displaced from a core area of the information society. When machines and agents communicate more and more with each other without the mediation of humans over the networks "communicate", so the slow human "processors" The machines and agents are left behind the stream of binary coded data, which they can no longer control and which escapes their attention, while the paying attention machines form a superordinate public.

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