Globalization, Information and Relationships
Technological advances have linked people all over the world in numerous ways. Kovarik describes the revolution in media technology as “destroying barriers of time and space, creating major shifts in media structures and sparking dramatic social change”. Caryl Churchill examines the effects of this media revolution on a personal level. Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information is a series of vignettes that are unified by an overarching theme. All of the scenes deal with the subject of information and knowledge and their influence on relationships. The scenes are notable because there is no continuity of characters. There is no character development and no repeated characters between scenes. This focuses attention in each scene on the present interaction, and how it is shaped by information and technology.
A technology that has dramatically altered social interactions is social media. People from all over the world can connect through the internet. Social media profiles allow users to learn facts about others without any personal connection. In Fan, two individuals are debating who loves a boy more. They begin by saying what they would do to show their affection but then transition into stating facts about the boy. Instead of pointing to a deeper personal connection, the facts stated are those that could plausibly be found on an online profile such as “His favorite color’s blue” and “favorite holiday was in Bermuda”. The two in the scene are judging their compatibility by what information they know rather than any sort of emotion connection. When they come across a fact that neither of them knows, his favorite smell, the first instinct is to look it up. When they can’t find they are at a complete loss stating “what are we going to do?”. Their connection to the boy is completely based on media. Once they have exhausted all possible online searches, they do not think to reach out and ask the boy in person. The media has completely replaced any direct personal connection.
Another revolutionary technology that Kovaric points to is Wikipedia. The platform has allowed an immense amount of knowledge to be compiled in a searchable online archive. The final scene in Love and Information is a series of facts exchanged between two people. Technology allows questions such as “How many diamonds were mined in 1957?” to be readily answered. However, when “Do you love me?” is asked the response is “Don’t do that”. No matter how much information is uploaded on to Wikipedia it can still not answer one of the most basic questions in life, “Do you love me?”. That’s a question no technology can help with.
Caryl Churchill makes a note that the individual scenes with in each section may be reordered but the sections are written in order. Why?
Is Caryl Churchill’s view of technology’s impact ultimately positive or negative?