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The Museum of Vestigial Desire

The @surfatial University

tags: catharsis published on:

How does our University operate? What are its founding principles? What is its structure and how can you join it? Why is this the perfect time for us to introduce this programme?

The Surfatial University operates through twitter. What is twitter? Twitter is a short messaging service on the Internet. As opposed to the structure of other websites, twitter is in the public domain and is not a walled garden. It is more similar to a blog than a social network. It is a micro-blogging service, although the description has gone defunct lately.

It is a carrier for byte-sized messages and a delivery mechanism almost as rudimentary and functional as the postal system.

The postal system enabled distance education. Twitter can enable another kind of experience. It can grow beyond a news service and publicity mechanism. We are interested in twitter for two reasons.

One, for the very brevity which it stands for. There is an artificial anxiety that the system creates by placing a seemingly arbitrary limit on the number of characters per message (tweet). The limit is not arbitrary. The limit is arrived at via a study of the flow of attention between different media surfaces. The desired velocity of response loops also has a say in the matters for a system as fast as twitter, the speed of communication is directly derived from the short format of the tweet.

Two, the compression in the message and the development of surface tension both emerge - and these are the properties that we want to invest in. The surface of the message folds inwards many times over. They become layered and intense as surfaces to be quickly recycled and shuffled about in the system. To be shuffled around, these surfaces have a unique ability to be both content in themselves as well as the containers (with handles) carrying the content, at the same time. Handles help containers hide themselves in a maze and then they are retrieved by the means of a handle-based meta-data database. The signal here is the code as well. There are no levels of magnification that need to be managed. There is no depth to zoom into. The flatness intimidates the producer into making connections within the peer network at multiple levels.

The deflection that occurs because of the concentration of the surface creates a whole off-space of possibilities. Why does the deflection occur? What does the off-space contain? The deflection occurs because the incidence of expectation that is offered to the concentrated surface of tweets is widespread. Not all the expectations are accepted and agreed upon. Concentrated Surfatial content only accepts the expectations of inventiveness seeking a spark and description of a frequency that might hold the answer. All other expectations are deflected. On deflection, the seeded off-spaces embed within them all the expectations for shallow and diluted content. All the incidences that wanted to connect with pop and surfaces of entirety and not links and incomplete bridges, reside there. The off-spaces and their frustrated contents intermingle together and do produce dreamworlds which contain bigger questions and deeper struggles, but they vegetate in these dreams.

At the Surfatial university, we manage to percolate into the off-spaces as well; we use the wasted and expired incidences as manure for raising a bed of material that seeps through the expectations of pop and then bloats and expands into a concrete mass of content.

We have managed to establish, for the first time in the world, a tweet to credit ratio. Credits are university parlance for an equation that states a relation between time spent in learning (that is knowledge) and a representational unit for measuring the same. This number is to be earned by competing courses that deliver specific packets of knowledge based on some prior knowledge and some pathway. So, credits are building blocks to complete an educational experience. In the commercial educational system, the cost of education is essentially bundled as a cost per credit. We state the truth. The only true cost per credit is the cost of cognitive investment. We seek and secure a higher investment from our students by offering a surface of knowledge that requires a more elaborate process to parse it. We offer a higher surface tension to essentially ensnare minds that even attempt to skim knowledge. There is no possibility for casual scanning. Either you are stuck inside a thought modelled by us that helps you figure out a volume of knowledge in itself, or you are not even in our universe. We equate three tweets with one credit. Mere retweeting of three tweets is enough. For completing a bachelor’s level program of a hundred and thirty credits, three hundred and ninety tweets have to be engaged with.

At this point, we are offering a BA programme in Selfhood. This programme is delivered on twitter. We envision a kind of learning that places the responsibility for the efficacy of our content on our own shoulders precluding the students from bearing the onus. Would the pharmaceutical industry ever have been successful if there were a million steps to prepare and consume each medicine? It is because of the fact that we can swallow a pill down with a glass of water that medicines are even popular. Many people would have died owing to lack of a lack of intelligence, exhaustion or disinterest if tablets never existed; instead a million-step manual for preventing illness would have served the norm. We offer tablets, lozenges and such surfaces of knowledge that offer instant gratification for the desperate hunger of knowledge. We require no effort or intelligence on the part of the student for enabling our medicines to work. We offer a reliable product.

Our confidence in our product is very strong because we offer a surface solely motivated to percolate knowledge into the system. This percolation evens out the ability to decompress messages amongst the masses so that we can broadcast more material without fearing severance of the synapses of accessibility and reach that we have with the world. We are making access to knowledge universal because making access a question of privilege and capacity sets a very low bar for conversations and de-compression ability. We do not like to do this. After Surfatial has been able to offer access to everyone, the nature of our social engagement will change dramatically. From awkwardness and discomfort as the minimum level of experience, we are moving to anger, disinterest and boredom. Anger is a mode of communication that rejects existing content in the pipeline and allows a relentless push mode of transmission. Disinterest is a lack of empathy that we are privileged to employ, while, at the same time, displacing and dismantling existing systems of falsehood and decay that are populating the system. Boredom is disengagement that comes from an immunity to words that don't mean anything - floating in the air, timed to music or masquerading as knowledge.

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