Saturday, December 26, 2009

Up in the Air

Interesting reflection on non-places and hyperreality. In some ways, we could read George Clooney’s character’s (Ryan Bingham) life as the condition of postmodernity: living in the in-between, in non-spaces which are all shiny surface, desire collecting around rewards points and mileage levels, ephemeral signs of status. In this way, given the films critique of Bingham’s life, could this be a parable of the end of the postmodern?

There is a parallel of the airworld nonspace with another one: cyberspace. The plot revolves around a scheme to fire people online rather than face to face (and someone breaks up with their fiancée via text message). It seems the same shallow, friction-free space as the postmodern world of airports and chain hotels. The next generation, embodied in the up and coming Natalie Keener (played by Anna Kendrick), seems heading towards the same disconnect as Bingham.

The film offers no simple solutions (for which I was grateful), though it being a Hollywood film it makes some predictable conclusions (triumph of humanity over technology—that shouldn’t be a spoiler, by the way), though it does leave things, for some, up in the air.

[new post coming up on the Clickable World blog, too]