Microtemporality: At The Time When Loading-in-progress


Session Title:

  • Theories of New Media and Society

Presentation Title:

  • Microtemporality: At The Time When Loading-in-progress




  • Abstract (long paper)

    Loading images and webpages, waiting for social media feeds and streaming videos and multimedia contents have become a mundane activity in contemporary culture. In many situations nowadays, users encounter a distinctive spinning icon during the loading, waiting and streaming of data content. A graphically animated logo called throbber tells users something is loading-in-progress, but nothing more. This article investigates the process of data buffering that takes place behind a running throbber. Through artistic practice, an experimental project calls The Spinning Wheel of Life explores the temporal and computational complexity of buffering. The article draws upon Wolfgang Ernst’s concept of “microtemporality,” in which microscopic temporality is expressed through operational micro events. [1] Microtemporality relates to the nature of signals and communications, mathematics, digital computation and dynamic network within these deep internal and operational structures. [2] Through the lens of microtemporality, this article offers a new understanding of a throbber icon beyond its symbolic form and human sensory reception. It opens up the cultural and computational logics that are constantly rendering the pervasive and networked conditions of now.

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