Intimacy & Technology: So connected, yet so lonely

Introducing Q2’s theme: Intimacy and Technology 


So connected, yet so alone 

Isn’t this one of the greatest paradoxes of modern society? What are we really connecting to with all our advanced technology if more than 50% of the population feels lonely or depressed? 

We’ve got ubiquitous gadgets, 24/7 streaming services, climate controlled interiors, and everything from dinner to fresh underwear delivered to our doorstep. If the covid pandemic lockdowns showed us anything, it’s that our technological advancement has brought us to the point where we can live in almost complete isolation from the world. Safely locked away in our little apartments, but connected through our digital interface. (And, more importantly, through a vast network of underpaid and overworked people in retail, transport, delivery, food services, etc. The “essential” jobs, remember?).  

Sometimes, it felt eerily similar to the massive hive in The Matrix movies that humanity lives in, fully sustained and imprisoned by machines :S  

Apologies for bringing this dark perspective to Delft, where technological progress is sacred. But if you look back far enough, which my training in anthropology sort of forces me to do, you tend to get a cynical perspective on technological advancement. From mastering fire eons ago, to building walls and screen doors, we’ve made life easier, and we’ve put ever more barriers between ourselves and the nasty bits of nature. Like (corona)viruses, the rain, mosquitoes, the cold, and predators. But these barriers also block so much of life. So much of ourselves, of society, and of the world ‘out there.’ 

But of course, technology isn’t all bad. Of course. And where there are barriers, there are also bridges. The increasing connectivity of the world can bring us closer to people and events around the globe. The diverse infrastructure of services and devices can support and enable life for those who would be limited without them. And all this new technology introduces new forms of intimacy. 

But the question is, closer to what? To the world, to each other, to ourselves? Or to the world of machines? That’s what we want to explore in this quarter’s theme on intimacy and technology. Join us and share your thoughts. And bring a little (smartphone camera flash-)light to balance the darkness of this Matrix fan’s perspective. 

Klaas P van der Tempel, program maker SG 

Check out SG’s related events this quarter on the theme: Intimacy and Technology

This quarter at SG, we’re taking a deeper look at the connections we have with and through technology. Technology is becoming ever more intimately involved in our lives and has enormous potential to bring us closer together. But can technology truly offer an intimate experience?

This theme is part of the series For Love of the World, in which we explore alternative stories and forgotten knowledge that can (re)connect us to our world.

7 Nov – 21 Dec                Art Exhibition & survey                                                                                                            The Nook/Theater de Veste
14 Nov                                  Existential Tuesday: How Do You Know You’re Not a Robot?                                                  The Nook
14 Nov                                  Art & Tech Cafe: Can Technology Bring Us Closer Together?                                                   Theater de Veste
15 Nov                                  VOX Book Club: The Epic of Gilgamesh, book distribution                                                        The Nook
28 Nov                                  Existential Tuesday: Could you love a machine, and could it ever love you back?         The Nook
28 Nov                                  VOX Movie Night: Ghost in the Shell (1995)                                                                                       TBA
14 Dec                                  VOX Book Club: The Epic of Gilgamesh, book discussion                                                            The Nook