chapter  1
14 Pages

Love Materialism

Technologies of Feeling in the ‘Post-Material’ World (An Interview)
ByDominic Pettman

The temptation is to think of love as an intrinsically organic occasion, which only then becomes complicated or supplemented by technology. For millennia, lovers have communicated through surreptitious media, across physical and social distances. But the instantaneity of communication- its relentless 24/7 real-time aspect- has changed the game. This can make relationships more fragile, since according to Luhmann, the great enemy of love is explicit communication. Love is supposed to be simply understood, elliptically or implicitly, through the subtle manipulation of signs. But new media technologies can also make relationships more enduring, since even the estranged person is just a tap or a click away. The thing about working with a rubric like love is that it is so vast as to become ethereal; complicated by different linguistic and cultural traditions.