“…a huge proportion of the population is totally subjected to the aesthetic conditioning of marketing, [and] therefore, estranged from any experience of aesthetic investigation. Meanwhile, the other part of the population, that part that continues to experiment, has turned its back on those who founder in this conditioning.” (3)
- Bernard Stiegler, Symbolic Misery
According to Bernard Stiegler, we are experiencing “symbolic misery” of aesthetic experience. The individual’s relationship with art is homogenized by the bad repetition of commercialization, as our encounters with aesthetic objects are increasingly dictated by computable marketing metrics and algorithms. For Stiegler, aesthetic experience is a practice which requires “repeated encounters with the same object.” This is the good repetition practiced by the amateur, who creates a durational relationship with aesthetic objects out of love of the practice. Through repeated encounters with the same object, the amateur experiences a process of individuation through the act of “worship”.
For Stiegler, repetitive engagement with an unchanging aesthetic object allows the individual to identify the difference in themselves since the previous encounter, moving towards individuation. I argue that a co-individuation of human and machine can occur through the continuous modification of an ever-changing object by an also ever-changing individual. I build on Stiegler’s idea of the pharmakon, wherein he views the solution to the problem of symbolic misery in the form of the problem itself. In addition to examining how the factory line-produced commercial car can participate in a unique experience of worship and co-individuation, I will also explore the pharmacological capacity of the mass digital media platform YouTube. The media surrounding the subculture of car modification both contributes to symbolic misery by homogenizing aesthetic experience through mediated encounters on commercial platforms, but also holds the pharmalogical potential for fostering a more profound relationship with the object for the amateur by storing the tertiary memory of custom car modification, allowing for an epiphylogenetic process which sees evolution occur through the prosthetic supplementation of digital media.
The question of the affective (and therefore political) capacity of digital temporal objects is taken up with the case study of the media surrounding the subculture of car modification through analyses of a tutorial videos, car “transformation videos”, and blogs. Modified, or “tuner”, car culture revolves around the modification and sometimes complete transformation(s) of used, mass-produced cars to look unique, more high-end or luxurious, and (sometimes) to drive at high speeds. This phenomenon was popularized in pop culture through the Fast and the Furious movies which depicted street racer culture and has grown to have many off shoots of specialized tuner communities, united by an affinity for a particular style, like slammed, lifted, stanced etc. I draw connections between the psychic conditions implied in the impulses which drive this desire to customize (or control) the body of the car and the market conditioning of the individual through digital temporal objects.
I look specifically at the affect created in the media through the techniques of video editing and production, as well as the affect displayed in them through the joy and love seen in the behaviour of the individuals engaging with the car. I propose that affect is created outside of the frame of the video through the mystery of what is not demonstrable, what is out of view. The mystery of these videos seeds action and material engagement with the technical object, facilitated (ironically) by the transparency and meticulous archiving of the technical tools and methods used in these videos.
I also look further outside the frame applying Simondon’s informational ontology, which approaches individuation as a phenomenological process, (CITE) to examine how the structure and components of the webpages outside of the video player itself (in the form of likes, comments, view count, etc.) effects the process of individuation, and can be viewed as a means of collectivizing knowledge production and circulation, despite being bound to the chains of market conditioning. I argue that the affect of and in these videos inspires action and engagement with the mystery of experience that is outside of the frame of the video, a mystery that is only deepened through demonstration and the sharing of resources. This mystery is solved through practice, and not through consumption.
This engagement is the good repetition of the amateur, a ritualistic practice of worship and return. This particular mode of engagement with technical, hyper-industrial objects (both material and digital) that calls for a durational, deep relationship with a constantly changing object re-tunes the brain to view objects, people, art, or politics as not fixed but knowable, modifiable, and do-able.
I can change my Honda Civic to look like a Ferrari. I can make it look like no car that exists.
If I can transform a car, can I not transform myself? Can I become more technical, and the car more human?
I can film myself doing it and learn how to edit the footage for my car modification Youtube tutorial video through other Youtube tutorial videos that show me how to edit Youtube tutorial videos.
That is why this essay will not only describe the potential of hyper-industrial temporal objects to spark meaningful, durational, spiritual relationships with technical / mechanical consumer objects, but it will also do the theory it proposes.
I believe in the pharmacological capacity of Youtube tutorial videos.
It is like teaching yourself philosophy while serving time in prison.
The Miserable Posthuman
In order to seek a path out of the miserable condition within which we find ourselves, it is necessary to identify the individual suffering from symbolic misery in the contemporary context. To do this I will borrow from N. Katherine Hayles’ construction of the posthuman to illustrate the expansive bounds of cognition, where the mind is not centred in the human brain, but rather exists in human / non-human “cognitive assemblages” (Hayles, Cognitive Assemblages 33) created through communication. This broad definition of mind allows for a more permeable understanding of the human psyche as it is conditioned by the technologies by which it is constituted, which work both subperceptually in the hypersynchronization of the mind to digital temporal objects, and in a networked way, affecting the milieu to which it belongs.
While Hayles’ initial concept of the posthuman is grounded at the dawn of (consumer) virtuality in the 90s, her concern with the effect / affect disembodied virtuality has on the human condition is of concern to us here as we trace the development of affectual digital temporal objects through the “video age” of Douglas Gordon’s generation to today’s “hyper-industrial” (Stiegler 45) mnemo-technologies feeding the “inferno of the same” (CITE) of algorithmically generated content and networked images. The posthuman subject belongs to the “huge proportion of the population” (Stiegler 3) who pray victim to the aesthetic conditioning of the market and are trapped in symbolic misery. The posthuman is situated in a reality that is largely the product of advancements made in cybernetic information theory – as one of the driving forces behind computational, technological, (like communication devices, audiovisual media) and therefore aesthetic development in the past century.
To summarize and synthesize many waves of cybernetic thought, the ontology of consciousness, rather than being centred in the human brain, is fundamentally informational, networked and constructed through the communications and relations between [agents] in a system: “a pattern rather than a presence” (Hayles, Posthuman 25). For N. Katherine Hayles, there is no way to distinguish the self-will of the posthuman subject from an “other-will” (Hayles 4) of other components of the system, or the system itself. The system, be it ecological, institutional, political, market-based etc. acts out self-preserving and reproducing actions through various human and non-human agents. The systems’ only goal is to “produce and reproduce the organization that defines them as systems” (Hayles 10) in a process of autopoeisis.
The logic of information, which is defined by the interplay of pattern and randomness, initially applied to computational and technological development, has through a subperceptual psycho-dynamic process become the entirety of the posthuman worldview, and is the process of signification.
Aesthetic conditioning and temporal tuning
For Stiegler, the question of aesthetics is also that of politics, as increasingly psychic, collective, and technical individuations are governed by hyper-industrial digital temporal objects of audiovisual media. The three organizational structures of humanity’s aesthetic power corresponding to the three types of individuation are the body and its physiological organization, artificial organs like technology or artworks, and the social organizations “resulting from the articulation of artefacts and bodies” (Stiegler 5).
The psychic, collective, and technical individuations are supported by retentional apparatuses of tertiary memory which come to being through a grammatization, a process which homogenizes tertiary retentions into idioms (Steigler 56). Grammatization is itself a process of transformation (individuation). Stiegler extends Sylvain Aroux’s definition of grammatization as a “means to discretize in order to isolate […] the finite number of components forming a system” (Stiegler 54) beyond the linguistic to include the new technologies of discretization of audiovisual media which capture and grammatize more elements than just language, including bodies and their gestures and affects (Stiegler 54). Psychic, collective, and technical individuation are influenced subperceptually via the temporal structure and affective content in digital audiovisual media, via the processes of grammatization.
The externalization of memory in the form of tertiary retentions support an epiphylogenetic process where “the concretions of knowledge and abilities in objects and devices [are] passed on as things belonging to the human world.” (Stiegler 7). The technologies of tertiary retention are grounded in an informational and computational temporality which does not allow for durational experience or participation. Mnemotechnologies, the (audiovisual) technologies which store knowledge and memory (Stiegler 7), assure the symbolic circuit is always accelerating (making more entropic) the circulation of energies on which it is founded. This functional circulation of energies causes loss of symbolic participation, where “symbol is sensible, cognitive and spiritual sharing (spiritual in the sense of the spirit which come back, deferring and enduring in repetition” (Stiegler 8). The loss of individuation that results from this loss of participation is what causes symbolic misery.
Grammatization works against individuation as it homogenizes tertiary retentions into idioms (Stiegler 56) in ways that conform to the needs of the market. Aesthetic experience and investigation is replaced by the aesthetic conditioning of marketing (Stiegler 3) which regulates the “conscious and unconscious rhythms of bodies and souls; modulating through the flows these rhythms of consciousness and life” (Stiegler 2). This tuning of the brain to the subperceptual time of information is what Stiegler refers to as hyper-synchronisation.
Stiegler adds to Edmund Husserl’s retentional model of time consciousness, which theorizes that the experience of time consists of a primary impression, or the present of perception, a secondary retention, or imagination (drawn from previous primary retentions), and a protention, or anticipation of the future (Brettkelly-Chalmers, 93). With the development of recording technologies, repetition of the same temporal object became possible, but each experience of perception of them is different, which is to say that some selection within the secondary retention by the primary retention must occur to create this difference; primary perception is contaminated by secondary memory. (Hansen 255). In the process of hyper-synchronisation, consumers of industrial temporal objects adopt the same secondary retentions and therefore make the same selections in their primary retentions (Stiegler 60).
Additionally, cognitive neurodynamics link cognition with the sensorimotor. Neural dynamics responding to machinic quanta of digital media, create a frame for the present-time consciousness (Hansen 250). Affect links the perceptual event and temporal flow in an embodied time consciousness (Hansen 252). Historically, the unit of measure of time is derived from the dominate force of society which organizes the rhythm of reproduction, for example solar, lunar, seasonal, religious, or industrial, which has a symbolic correlative (sun, moon, seasons, gods, or capital). Today, we are in the era of a hyper-industrial temporality based on a unit of measure of time with a symbolic correlative that cannot be experienced. The temporal dissonance that results from this state of symbolic misery affects the embodied, spiritual, technical, and collective grounding of the individual. The posthuman experience of consciousness, much like the informational ontology which construct their reality, is based on pattern / randomness, instead of presence / absence. (Hayles 27)
Particularization is the tool of market segmentation (Stiegler 6) which creates a false sense of control for the user through customized and customizable content, but is a veiled means to make calculable the behaviour of the individual as consumer to further offload the excesses of production. The consumption of targeted, on-demand, and algorithmically-generated media gives an “illusion of distinction” but is “identically-structured material” (Crowley 124). The danger is that hyper-synchronization of consumption to match production reduces unpredictability of behaviour (randomness) which creates quantifiable data (pattern) that leave the individual more vulnerable to political manipulation (Crowley 124).
Digital grammatization transforms singularization into particularization through the “‘personalization’ of the means of ensarement” (Stiegler 67). The individual cannot individuate because the serialized, personalized, and constantly changing media does not allow for the recognition of difference between encounters. The collective individuation of companies is at the expense of the individual: an algorithmically-generated and monitored digital temporal object conditioned by marketing, upon returning to a knowable, calculable consumer identifies the difference in engagement and learns something new about itself (the market), becoming more singular. Marketing-conditioned individuation is of “extreme fragility” (Stiegler 63) and substitutes for the “psychic and collective individuation of the state” (Stiegler 63).
But what if the psychic malleability that results from aesthetic conditioning of digital temporal objects can also be transformative in that it instills in the individual a sense of malleability in their reality? What if we were able to see everything as parts of a system, parts that could be swapped, modified, or restored? What if we understood everything to be as controllable, unfixed, unhinged, as we ourselves are? So what if we lack the imagination to construct a totally new political reality, what if we gain, through engagement with (digital) technical objects, the vision and the technical capacity/conditioning to learn how/adapt to modify the reality we are in now?
While we are subject to modification in the process of the collective individuation of “the market” what is to say that we cannot, through modification of the car, engage in another process of individuation nested within the larger process which creates the misery we are trapped in?
“Here, where it is not a matter of fearing or hoping, but of ‘finding new weapons,’ that is, of fighting, however cowardly we may be. Because such is ‘the shame of being a man’”. (57)
Youtube as Technopharmakon
To attempt to uncover the pharmacological capacity of Youtube tutorial videos, I will analyze them through a networked, phenomenological lens, that is not concerned with what is subject and what is object, but, applying Simondon’s informational ontology, recognizes the presence of the human in the technological object, and the technological object in the human as an ensemble (Illiadis 16). Simondon argued that “the dynamics of the image should be compared to that of the general dynamics of the living” (Alloa 9), describing the becoming of images as a genetic process.
In contrast to cybernetics, Simondon approaches the becoming of machines (and images) through phenomenology: instead of defining the image ontologically as information, the networked image is latent with potentiality activated through phenomenological experience. Its networked nature means that any modification to it effects all elements in the system which construct its meaning.
Simondon’s “individuative methodology’ doesn’t look at simply the transmission of meaning between defined, individuated entities, but rather examines “the instances of modulation of communicative processes themselves” (Iliadis 16-17). In our example of Youtube tutorial videos, how does the format of the platform, with view counts, comments, likes, subscriptions, playlists, and suggestions effect the communications reproduced on that platform? Does it only produce content that will be “liked” and be circulated more, or is there a way to also experience the love, the philia, experienced by the amateur through a collective knowledge sharing?
We will start with our most miserable example:
“Incredible Car Build Transformation!” by Devin Niemela (5,117,226 views)
This video, with over five million views, displays the characteristics of extreme market conditioning, but even in this state of aesthetic deprivation, can a portal to a transformative experience can be found?
The merchandise, the video, and the car operate as a triad in the cycle of self-reproduction. The higher production value and large number of views, comments, and subscribers situates Niemela, his channel and all its contents with the world of “Youtubers”, where views are monetized through sponsorships and advertisements. This links this video within a larger network of Youtubers, who depend on the social engagement of the structure of Youtube’s platform to remain in circulation.
A look at the pinned comment “One of my fave vids 😍” takes us to the account of another Youtuber, Bobbi Wallace. Her lifestyle channel, is mostly populated with videos of Bobbi and occasionally Devin (who turns out is her boyfriend) doing things like working out and trying clothes on. One video https://youtu.be/t2089lLEa9U shows Bobbi working on the very same Toyota FRS from Devin’s Niemela transformation video (5:20) slowed down. Spending some time here, we see Bobbi going through multiple transformations of her own. Her fitness videos chronicle her body transformations, as she exercises control through intense workouts and dieting. She invites her subscribers to her “First Tattoo Experience” and into the surgeon’s office for her in “My Boob Job Experience”. As she modifies her body, her subscriber count goes up, she quits her job to devote more time to her videos. A video of her apologizing for not making content for three weeks because of a sinus infection has over 69,000 views.
It is hard to view these videos the same after such an intimate view of Niemela on his girlfriend’s channel. At 0:50, between the frequent moments where he is plugs his merchandise and his channel, he says:
“The cool thing about this build every single thing was documented here on YouTube. You guys experienced every single moment as I went through the process and built this car myself. I don’t think there was any other hands that touched this car that I can recall, as of right now I did every single thing on this car myself which I take very great pride in. and it’s so amazing that I get to share everything with you. That’s just the passion and the love I have that burns deep inside me with cars, with automotives, with freaking anything with a motor, really.”
As his eyes dart off camera, I wonder whether this is because his dialogue is unscripted and he is looking into the depths of his soul to find the words to describe his joy at sharing this experience, as I initially thought, or if he is distracted, thinking about his girlfriend’s freshly augmented boobs. This example has been too contaminated to objectively analyze the affective content of the individuals in it.
Where this video is effective is in providing, through hyper-industrial means, entry points to technicity in an accessible way. The text in the description of the video lists every part used in the transformation of the car, and where to buy them (eBay or Amazon are the options) but also every piece of camera gear used to make the video. In a twisted way, this is the DIY spirit channeled through eBay and Amazon and Youtube. Being able to view things mechanically, as parts and steps, broadens the individual’s capacity to individuate through durational experiences with the car or the camera, but it is at the same time bound to hyper-industrial consumption of online shopping.
The video itself is edited in a highly consumable and engaging way, with generic royalty-free music and quick edits showing the linear transformation of the car, the video itself sped up multiple times. It shows every part of the process, but not the whole of any single part (which can be viewed in their entirety in separate videos). To know more one must engage more. Where this video fails is that the priority is to increase engagement with the content, not with the car, which is evident when Niemela assures his viewers at 11:19 not to worry, “there’s going to be so much more content to come with this car”.
Still, there is at least the possibility of a transformative experience through the introduction of the idea that feasibly, the viewer could do this themselves.
“..we affirm in hope that a new force lies concealed, as much in the extraordinary opening of possibility brought by science and technology as in the affect of suffering itself” (Stiegler 5)
S13 body kit and over fender install
9,525 views, 354 likes, 0 dislikes
This video lacks the gloss and production value of the previous video. There is no narration and the sound is completely diagetic. All shots are done from a single, stationary perspective with no zoom-ins or movement whatsoever. In contrast to the previous video, the personality and brand of the person in the video is of zero relevance; we barely see their face. Without the gloss and consumer packaging of the previous example, this one does not live in the network of Youtubers. The channel belongs to Aerowolf USA, a car accessory company based in Portland Oregon, so while it is still bound to the market, the content of the video brings us closer to a view of the amateur relationship that is born out of love.
Every step in the installation process is shown linearly, but with the static camera angle, parts of the process are hidden. We can imagine that the person modifying the car has set up the camera on a tripod; they are alone and doing everything themselves. But they are not alone, because “[a]n image never comes alone, it rests on a complex network that allows for it to come to being” (Alloa 10).
“… I am involved with the object I describe: I am engaged. The individuation in which I participate in this way is not therefore mine alone: according to Simondon’s theory it is always already that of a group to which I address myself – and to which I belong precisely through my address, through the fact that with this address I participate in its inidividuation.” (Stiegler 46)
The car, the videos, and the community at the intersection of cars enthusiasts and tutorial enthusiasts are individuating simultaneously in response to the assemblage, or as Simondon would say the associated milieu, in which they operate. They “exist thanks to the response their appearance elicits in their beholders” (Alloa 11).
In the comments, user Rozin writes: “Watching your videos after we talked about the "no voice/informative audio" is so rad. Your editing is the voice, no need to talk over anything... it does remind me of woodworking vids haha” to which AEROWOLF USA responds: “Thanks man! I'm just out here trying to make car version of @Ishitani Furnitures videos haha.”
We only hear the video creator’s voice at 13:50 when he says “Dang it, dang it to hell” after ripping another part of his body kit off. The editing is the voice. The information communicated is not only in the process shown in the video, but in the choices in the editing of what not to show. The video and audio are sped up at times, excluding frames and pitching the audio up in order to capture full sections of the modification. It is a gesture towards transparency, but only part of the whole.
We never see the whole car at once during the transformation process; it is always focused on the part that is being modified. Only at the end, after the car has been taken to multiple drift events and had the freshly installed body kit ripped off and re-attached, do we see the damaged car, ready for another transformation.
Through the frames and perspectives which are lacking in the video, a phenomenological mystery is activated in the viewer, which can, as we see in the case of Rozin, lead to a durational, intimate relationship beyond pure consumption. Looking at Rozin’s Youtube channel, we can see the development in his uploads from car racing video game montages to his own build tutorial videos, and even to community drifting events, including a beautifully race on Super 8 film. Psychic, collective, and technical individuations are facilitated through this miserable platform.
Building a Honda DEL SOL In 10 Minutes *AMAZING TRANSFORMATION*
39,105 views May 6, 2020
This video is comprised of mostly still photos (except for a video clip of a remote controlled retractable front license plate at 7:55) of the vehicle and its parts at various stages of installation and modification, including documentation of the boxes the parts are shipped in. These images are coupled with more royalty-free music, which is in line with other transformation videos of this style in which multiple complete transformations of a vehicle are compressed into a ten-minute video. In this process of compression, large parts of the process remain completely enigmatic. At times, the images need to be deciphered to identify the part or the purpose of the part, especially when they are not shown in the process of installation. At 1:50, the vehicle paint colour jumps from red to green, with only a single image of the process – no instructions on how to prepare the car or use the paint gun. Very little additional information is provided in the video description. This video reads as an archive of a transformation, and less as an informative demonstration. The time intervals between the images are inconsistent, but the progression appears linearly, so much so that a narrative can be strung together as we see the car transform from a “stock” car to a show car, winning the car owner awards and gaining the attention of beautiful young women.
What is lacking in this video is what makes it have so much agency as operative images, which Christina Varvia distinguishes from Haroun Farocki’s operational images in that they are not only part of the process (like operational images), but rather they “instigate, expand, amplify, and organize processes” (Varvia 212). The incomplete image instills a desire to know the rest of it, which lies beyond the frame and is only understood through practice.
Thu’s 1994 del Sol Restoration Project Journal
PROJECT JOURNAL ENTRIES (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
Our final case study presents the least toxic manifestation of individuation through hyper-industrial objects. It is not a video, but rather a blog consisting of chronological journal entries depicting the transformation of a 1994 Honda del Sol, presumably bought by Darryl, the namesake of the blog, for his girlfriend Thu. The images depict the tools, parts and process as informatively as possible, with the supplementation of text on the images and accompanied by meticulous blog posts. These posts are a personal recounting of the process of modification, rather than as a set of universal instructions. The process of learning is also logged here, with Google searches and errors being included in the posts. We follow as Darryl returns to the vehicle over the course of six months, learning from the car and sharing that knowledge. After following the manufacturer’s installation instructions for a new transparent Saratoga Top for Thu’s convertible, he reflects:
Entry: 12/16/14: “Installation of the top latch and trim went extremely easily and quickly, my only modification to the instructions was that I left the latch fastening nuts finger tight until the top was latched to the car and then I tightened them and by doing it that way eliminated any trial-and-error fitting.
Something happens to Darryl in the process of modifying this car. His love grows.
On 11/18/24, he writes “it's just fun to share the excitement of a project and my talents doing this kind of work with someone very special and making sure it's perfect for her makes both of us happy.” He bought this car to share his love with Thu. He made this blog to share his love with the rest of the community of Honda del Sol owners. We can see both his love for Thu and his love for the car in this image of him painting the worn-out lettering on the automatic window and mirror switch:
As the car becomes more singular, so does he.
There is a three-month gap between his last two posts. His last entry reads:
Entry: 5/13/16: “I drilled one hole at a time and used the spoiler mounting studs to verify my locating marks before drilling each subsequent hole just as a "gut check" to make absolute certainty everyting (sic) was lining up as intended. The result is a really sweet addition to my WIFE'S car! Yes, we got married on April 30, 2016 and so now the car is half mine and all the other cars in the collection are half hers! :)”
This is the mystery of experience that lies between the images: what transformations can happen when you engage in the durational practice of repetition, returning to, known to the amateur as love.
It is interesting to note that Darryl never states that the transformation is over.
Stiegler says that a process of individuation based on marketing is “of an extreme fragility” that is short-lived and disposable, “like everything [marketing] produce” (Stiegler 63). I argue that even though the process of individuation is trapped in the prison of marketing, the technicity demonstrated in the videos, the DIY approach to investigation and creation, the joy and affect visible in the people engaged in the transformation, and the collective knowledge-sharing conditions the viewer towards individuation in spite of and against the market conditioning. These videos show the good repetition of the amateur, and “through such repetition, they continually become who they are, in relation to and distinct from the collective inheritance they are engaging with, perpetuating, and modifying” (Crowley 128-129). The mystery of the experience of technicity shown in these videos is what instigates action in the viewer to engage with technical objects in a durational, material way.
This paper takes up Stiegler’s call to artists to alleviate the misery of aesthetic experience through the careful examination of the pharmalogical capacities of Youtube videos and amateur instructional media. The measure of the affect of these videos is always against the privileged experiences of contemporary art. I believe, in general, contemporary art would have greater transformative power if the symbolic language used was not needlessly inaccessible, or not only inaccessible. Bound within the neoliberal economy of precarity, artists (sub-consciously) develop their work with the goal of producing more work in the future, and the vocabulary used to construct affectual relationships in their work is the structurally geared towards agents / actors / situations / structures / assemblages that will help that goal. That is where the work is most valuable, and that is why those without access to that symbolic language, who live in misery, are neglected. Artists must take the effort to reproduce these privileged affectual experiences for situations which do not immediately benefit them, in order to alleviate some of that misery.
My paper does not have a research question that is in itself innovative or unique, as the conditions which drive the particularization of academia solicit from the institutional system in order to produce and reproduce new academic research, but rather returns to a concept, and through practice and repetition, attempts to perform the theories I am working with.
It is a modification rather than an innovation. Similar to Darryl, I am reading from the instruction manual left by Stiegler, applying it through practice, and sharing my modifications.
The non-toxic masculinity of mansplaining as a process of epigenetic coding
It is glaringly obvious upon investigation that car modification tutorial videos are predominately produced and consumed by men. While these videos are rich in content for a feminist reading of the misogyny peppered casually throughout the narration, I would like to focus on the element of non-toxic masculinity which takes the form of knowledge-sharing with authority and expertise, also known as “mansplaining”. As products of a lifetime of aesthetic conditioning geared towards the market segment at the intersection of man and car, as a homogenized group they have adopted a mode of communication that fits within the customs of that community. Being assertive, assured, and knowledgeable are traits the market which conditions them frames as the traits of a manly man (https://www.muscleandfitness.com/women/dating-advice/20-things-20-real-women-say-make-you-manly/) but I (want to) believe that this desire is actually a masked paternal instinct of nurturing through knowledge-sharing as a means of epigenetic coding.
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