Friday, April 2, 2021

That's Dr. ZVS to you

I've just passed my doctoral dissertation defense at The New School for Social Research.

Monday, March 29, 2021

How does one introduce a life in progress?

I ask myself this question because launching this website presumes that, from this point on, new developments in my life will be represented here.

But I'm just two days short of turning 38. What about the nearly 40 years I've already lived so far? Shall I try to reconstruct them here, post an update for every significant thing that happened in my past?

This may seem like an unimportant question, but to me it's huge. I was born early enough to have reached adulthood before the era of hyperrepresentation began, with all of our lives and formerly private experiences suddenly becoming goods for public consumption. It's been a destabilizing transition, adjusting to this new world in which we are all mediated all the time. It's split my life in two, rendering my earlier life, in all its intensity and significance, a murky "before-time." Where now the most mundane moments of daily life can become part of historical record, even the greatest moments of my earlier existence can seem like phantom memories of someone else's life.

The represented thing is "more real" than it would have been otherwise. The most malignant form of this, of course, is the false representation, the "deep fake," the unreal that becomes more real than the real. But this is true of everything. That which is documented, preserved, solidified, confirmed by others, feels differently than that which isn't.

And so I must admit that who you get here is Zack in his late thirties, who he is after being a teenage punk and an initiated Hare Krishna; after an epic litany of loves, losses, and friendships; after reading Camus for the first time; after discovering experimental music and jazz; after an entire unrecognized musical career; after the days of playing video games alone and with friends; after high school; after college; after grad school; on the cusp of becoming a Doctor of Philosophy, the current (but not final) result of decades of things unseen. And all I can do is try not to forget that when I make the choice to represent something, I implicitly make the claim that it's at least as important as any of the important things that came before, which I couldn't share with you in their time.

That's Dr. ZVS to you

I've just passed my doctoral dissertation defense at The New School for Social Research.