Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

Nodes in Sleep Dealer

An idea formed in Marx’s article that, “The sum total of the labor of all these private individuals form the aggregate labor of society” (Marx 2). Basically, Marx is trying to say that the men that do the labor, aka Memo, is exactly what helps societies turn objects like a table into a commodity; because now it is being socialized as something we need to have in our communities. It is a necessity. Commodities are objects that turn into a necessity, like Memo getting nodes forced into his body. But we can also look at nodes as a social connectivity.

By using the modern technology known as nodes in “Sleep Dealer,” we follow it as a way through technology, a connector, L. L. Thaver said,

“that awareness of such a technological clearing in which our social being is understood has the double-sided nature of pointing both to the danger posited as well as the saving grace which such awareness endows. The danger is that in an information and knowledge age our expression of everydayness, or the quotidian, is no longer defined by its expression of sociality, or social connectivity as forms of social ‘outreach’, and the ‘sociability’ that involves the practices we enact in effecting such social connectivity” (Thaver 2).

Basically, Thaver is saying that the nodes we see in “Sleep Dealer” are a social connectivity in the expression of everydayness because there is no other way around labor. Connecting in a social way is an expression of the practices that Memo does with others as a way of communication. When Memo and Luz are in the bar people are connecting with each other and they are drinking and eating, but socially, they are using their connections as a way to deposit a saving grace. They want the connection to give them knowledge and information of the other, so they are in a dangerous atmosphere, but the saving grace part of it makes them aware of what they should do when they connect.
  They use nodes to express a connection with a machine or another person, like Memo and Luz, to give their body a way to communicate with a dream-scape. The nodes use a form of communication through the neurotransmitters of the mind to provide the other with a connection to the other person's thoughts or past dreams. Nodes are dangerous because they connect to the human’s body through their nervous system. If a node were to go into the body wrong, and/or miss where it was supposed to be inserted, it could kill the person. That’s right kill them. When hooked up to the machine in “Sleep Dealer” the body is creating this electric mode of information and knowledge to a system, that runs these robotic machines in a building. But the location is never direct. The workers running this company never know where they are working virtually.  What’s even more dangerous is the system could glitch or spark in some way, shape, or form, and the body that is connected to the nodes. Memo has to wear contacts that help him transport his visual mind into another reality for working on work. These contacts are dangerous because during the glitch they are in a virtual reality and if electrocuted, they become stuck and could instantly be blind. Social connectivity in this case is more for the ‘outreach’ of practices that affect the connectivity to technology. But another way nodes are a form of saving grace with the knowledge they carry.

When social connectivity is involved with knowledge, like when Luz and Memo connecting together, it becomes more of the saving grace effect. It can be seen as the double-sided nature of pointing to an awareness of life by connections. Mark Poster suggests that, “Individuals are now connected to one another, to the events and places around the world with an effective, instantaneous apparatus of information machines” (Poster 1). By Luz and Memo connecting themselves in ways that transport them to other places we are able to see that the nodes are the machine that brings them to reality, things that have happened, whether it is recent or not. Yes, we see a computer being involved in the knowledge that Luz has, but the nodes are what connect her to a place where no other person can go. Dreams and memories are a very special form of interaction and not many people are okay with letting their special moments be shared. But when the nodes connecting Luz and Memo together in such an intimate moment, the connection they take is to understand a memory of each other. It dives into the deepest parts of our mind that we have to bring to light a happy or sad time, whether it is chosen or not be don’t know, but it could be that is what the mind is thinking about and the result of connecting a memory is exactly the result. In a way, the body is not resisting to this form of connectivity in a social form, but its resisting the connection physically because their bodies are disconnected. It’s only the mind that connects them intellectually into one another's memories or dream-scapes.  


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