Sleep, hibernate, restart.
Reboot is the process of restarting a running and loaded computer system. It can be both intentional and completely unexpected, when a Blue Screen of Death appears, a result of a crash or a malware attack. Such a Reboot unfreezes the system, restores the errorless state, often erasing all unsaved progress in text files, graphics programs, and other very important projects on which the computer user is working at the moment. All at the cost of fixing bugs and improving system-wide performance. Like electronic time travel, more effective but also more severe than the Ctrl+z combination.
Reboot is also a pop culture tool for reconstructing fictional narratives – writing known stories from scratch, fixing failed screen adaptations, and keeping franchises alive. And while a published Reboot can’t erase the original, it has a pretty strong potential to replace it in the minds of an unhappy and unsatisfied fandom.
Although their origins are quite different, the semantic joint between the two Reboots is the desire to restore some state of affairs, programmed or made-up to improve overall efficiency. Following the tracks of fantastic fiction, Reboot has the potential to create stories based on imagining what would happen if the world had a special button to restore the system after a climate or social blue screen. Though, the button-pusher doesn’t have to be human at all. A Giant Swarm is indeed a speculative vision of a techno-utopia in which the titular swarm holds full control of the emergency switch. Yet, the world that humans will leave behind is a technology-filtered dystopia composed of places pulled from the fantastic fictions of human memories hibernated in the places that have left us.
As in the malware-simulated Reboot, we look at digitization designed through the lens of non-human subjectivities and the consequences of using new technologies. Including #artificialintelligence, which in the works Models for Environmental Literacy or It’s Not Our Duty is still just a tool – incompatible, automated, lacking the ability to think abstractly and thus full of dangerous generalizations, despite its enormous generative potential.
Relying on “smart” tools brought a revolution in the distribution of information and shaped a whole new structure of reality, a whole new concept of “truth” that is full of deepfake traps. Ariane leads the user through the digital maze not to the exit, but to the depths of reflection on the schizophrenic nature of online reality. Thanks to machine learning, everyone can have their simulated multiple online Reboot.