Thursday, February 10, 2005

Liquid Love

Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human...
I've been looking up information on the writings of Zygmunt Bauman and came across some info on his 2003 book, Liquid Love (click image for details). In an article Bauman wrote in June of 2003, he describes his concept of liquid love:
The uncanny frailty of human bonds, the feeling of insecurity that frailty inspires, and the conflicting desires to tighten bonds yet keep them loose is what I seek to unravel and grasp...In our world of rampant "individualism", relationships are mixed blessings. They vacillate between a sweet dream and a nightmare...
He goes on to describe the shift from commitment to network, as it relates to a modern shift in how we conceive and maintain relationships.

I have been involved in projects that investigate personal relationships for a number of years, particularly as it applies to online love affairs and cybersex. I am also questioning notions such as this one posited by Bauman in the above mentioned article:
Unlike "real relationsips", "virtual relationships" are easy to enter and to exit. They look smart and clean, feel easy to use, when compared with the heavy, slow-moving, messy real stuff.
I think online relationships (I choose, purposely, not to use the term virtual in this argument) can be just as messy and difficult to move on from than their "real" counterparts. The online relationship often creates a forum for communication which encourages the participant to reveal deeply hidden aspects of the self. Once uncovered, these revelations expose vulnerabilities in the same way that physical exposure can irl and, while it's true that online communications can be effectively blocked, online relationships often migrate from one form of communication to another, or many others (email, mail, phone, cam, f2f etc) Also to be considered is how a specific online relationship relates to a participant's total online persona.

Bauman raises some interesting questions for me concerning both my inability to pair bond irl, and my attachment to online communication. I do believe that I shall have to buy it.

I want to be liquid.
I want to have the ability to seep,
to be displaced by weight,
to magnify,
to reflect.
Anne Walk, 2000


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