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This report is taken from PN Review 258, Volume 47 Number 4, March - April 2021.

Analog Sea and the Pixelated Madness Horatio Morpurgo
‘Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it’, wrote Max Frisch in 1957. In an essay published only after his death in 2015, Oliver Sacks reflected on the ubiquitous use of smartphones in his New York neighbourhood. He foresaw ‘a neurological catastrophe’ as the reflexes of a generation with ‘no immunity to the seductions of digital life’ are conditioned in this way. Two Norwegian reports, recently cited by Will Self, studied the effect of social media use on the ability to ‘lose oneself’ in long-form prose narrative. They suggested that Homo virtualis is already with us: ‘I can see’, wrote Self, ‘no future for words printed on paper… if our civilisation continues on this digital trajectory’.

The Analog Sea Review, founded in 2018 by the poet Jonathan Simons, is part of an ‘offline publishing house and institute’. It offers ‘life-sustaining counter-measures to the pixelated madness’. The above quotations all come from work that has appeared in its pages. It is published in English but in Freiburg. The Central European atmosphere of its content extends also to its elegant hardback design. ‘When you express yourself, use the things around you’, wrote Rilke, in his Letters to a Young Poet. ‘If your everyday life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself; tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.’

Analog Sea faces the worst about the likely prospect of ‘downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc ...

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