Book Review: 'What You See Is What You Feel'

A fellow MoM'er already wrote a good review on the PhD thesis What You See Is What You Feel by Koert van Mensvoort. Read the MoM review here and download the full book here. I would like to give an extension to this review with my own thoughts.

Although the thesis is done at the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e) the thesis provides a "social-cultural context" which provides the reader a lightweight but still refreshing introduction to media theories in relation to simulation, virtuality and reality in the era of the homo desktopus (p. 20) - though I think the homo desktopus is increasingly less suitable due to ubiquitous computing (more on that later). When I read the prologue, Baudrillards concepts of Simulacra and Simulations and McLuhan's technological determinism in The Medium Is The Message were the two main lines of thought. Mcluhan's views could be found in where Van Mensvoort states we increasingly do not perceive media as media anymore but part of our experience interaction; media is the message. We have become passive to media, as we are not actively breaking down mediation as it has become inherent. But I thought it was strange they were not mentioned anywhere. It was when reading the epilogue when it became clear that Van Mensvoort actually shares McLuhan's definition of media (p. 123). Overall the theory provides an interesting read for everyone as simulation and reality is very interesting indeed, and provides a superb example of combining media theory with technical research and application.[....]

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Svetlana Wants To Meet

This summer I was sitting with a friend on a nice terrace in the city center of L'viv, Urkraine (I marked it on Google Maps, for your interest). The terrace was overlooking the city's promenade where the local folk - i.e. the well-known Ukrainian girls - were gallivanting, hoping to catch an eye, or for others to get invited by the elderly to play a game of cards on their bench. Time passed quickly, as you may believe. It was already evening so we tried to make up our minds on some nice dishes from the quite extensive menu. I settled on a fine Caesar salad and another cheap-ass pint. But then it happened. Just when my friend left the table to go to toilet a fine looking lady came to me and caught me off guard with Ukrainian gibberish. As it is quite common that people do not speak English in Ukraine, I thought the words "Sorry, English?" would suffice. However, to my surprise the lady responded in English asking what kind of salad I had?! A gander at her table after she went away was enough to understand the situation. There was a not-so-fine-looking British guy (obviously not generalizing) sitting at her table, making his way through several meals while she was making a bored impression the whole evening as the conversation between the two halted early on.

It seems quite common for western men to pick up their wives in Ukraine and Russia. There are websites dedicated for this exact purpose such as and including a nice estimate on the expenses to get one. We met an American guy who was staying in Ukraine for a couple of months already and expected to have a friend over from New York in the coming days. He showed us a 'business' card of the friend which outlined the friend's purpose of visit; he was coming over to find his wife. The card had a photo, his job, and his mission to find a wife written down on it. It is still guessing if this 'friend' and potential others are the actual agenda of the American for being in Ukraine.[....]

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