Working Title: Emperor’s New Architecture

The tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes is a story about collective compliance to an imaginary. It exposes a consensual group illusion of people in a small town facing the risk of questioning their competence, intelligence and position in the community. The emperor is clearly naked, and people can see it with their own eyes. Yet, they wrongly assume that others can see the clothes, and go along with the myth. Thus, the phrase “emperor has no clothes” became a byword for human vanity and pluralistic ignorance (Tatar, 2008). The phrase has been used in numerous works of writing and poetry, ranging from popular culture to scientific books like the sceptical examination of artificial intelligence by Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind.
Similar to the town situation in the tale, Natalie Jeremijenko observed in 1997 how Cyberspace became a “collective hallucination of immateriality” (Jeremijenko, 1997). Disregarding the machinery that it runs on Cyberspace was often referred to as spiritual, transcendental and immaterial, for the sake of maintaining its novel character. Jeremijenko’s observation was incorporated into the discourse on media materiality, currently pursued in contemporary media minded circles (Parikka, 2012). It also sets the ground for a discussion on wireless networks through the “emperor’s new…” metaphor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *