Embodied Software Tools

| July 12, 2011

I spend half of my time at work using Final Cut, a video editing software program, and while I still have new things to learn I sometimes feel like it is an external organ of mine. In Final Cut my hand is represented by the mouse cursor but it can mutate at any moment like a comic book character into a blade that slices, a droplet that color corrects, a pen that can alter audio and opacity levels. Through Final Cut I am able to dissect, pulverize, and surgically rearrange video footage, as well as scan and manipulate the audio wave forms. My audio, visual, and haptic (tactile) channels are engaged in the process of editing; the body is extended into this software portal.

My brain is augmented through the Internet, with instant access to databases such as Wikipedia, my cognitive capabilities enhanced by harnessing the thinking of millions of other people. My memory is outsourced to Google, which allows me to retrieve previous emails and documents, or to search for a song or book I can’t remember. The physical is represented virtually through profile pictures, pixellated images uploaded to Facebook where social interactions are anchored and mediated around digitized photo files. My spatial and navigational awareness is channeled through Internet-connected maps on a mobile device.