'Far Away in My Living Room When We Have Real 3d Television' by Suki Spangles is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week
The new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Far Away In My Living Room When We Have Real 3d Television’ by Suki Spangles, a futuristic poem – although not too futuristic – about watching “real people in awful situations in real time” in the viewer’s lounge. In detailed and thoughtful answers to Write Out Loud’s questions, Suki said of this “dark sci-fi satire” poem: “How real is real? Where will this take us? What kind of moral and ethical questions should this raise?” It is the second time that Suki Spangles has won Poem of the Week.
How did you come to write this poem?
I watched an item on what TV viewing in the near future might appear like, and feel like. One possibility – 3D television would project "real life images ... as if you are really there”. This already exists in gaming to a certain level via head-sets, and soon we could all be sitting in our so-called living room/lounge, watching anything from entertainment to the news “as if we are there”? I used this as the jumping-off point for this poem. How real is real? Where will this take us? What kind of moral and ethical questions should this raise? It's fascinating yet also a little frightening and disconcerting. I didn't ask/answer any of the questions head-on, but instead attempted to paint a picture of one viewer's experience and reactions of the real people in awful situations filmed from another part of the world, now bi-located, floating above the viewer's lounge floor in real time. I suppose you could call it dark sci-fi satire: the horror of reality as "immersive" 3D entertainment.
It suggests a fairly bleak view of the future, of progress, the media, and consumerism. Do you agree?
Yes. But it is only one set of possibilities, although very real. Let's go back 15 years, or even 10 years - how much has changed since then? The various applications of Blockchain technology are changing the game again. Then there is AI [artificial intelligence], which is no longer a dystopian sci-fi fantasy, but a reality. Where the heck will we be in another 10 years, or even five? The surveillance state is already a reality, and when 5G arrives we will be living in what might seem a multi-layered panopticon. Called "the Internet of things", soon our toilet, our fridge, our sofa, our bed, will be collecting data on us, and sending it to corporations or government departments deemed fit to monitor our most intimate behaviour. All for our own good, of course. I recall it was only two years ago when Samsung warned viewers who bought their smart TVs that their conversations are being recorded. Whoops, sorry! Wow! I thought. And we are told if we are doing nothing wrong then we have nothing to be fearful about. Privacy? Bah humbug! It reminds me somewhat of the novel that inspired Orwell and Huxley to write 1984/ Brave New World: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Recommended.
This is the second time you have won Poem of the Week. In your answers to our previous questions, you said you don’t perform your poetry live, but you do have a YouTube channel. So technology does have its uses?!
You're not kidding. Technology can be used for good or ill, I know. I suppose the darker aspects do concern and interest me, but there's no denying what a wonderful thing technology can be. After all, without the interweb we wouldn't be able to communicate with each other this way or enjoy one another's poetry here. And where would I be without my favourite poetry site!? Or my favourite YouTube channels? I'd be a lost man!
Do you feel that online poetry communities like Write Out Loud are enough – that there is no need to perform in public, to go out and meet other poets? Do you ever attend live poetry events as a spectator?
It's a fair question, and I don't think there is one answer to this because poetry is written and appeals to us for very different reasons. Write Out Loud is a wonderful resource and is more than enough for me. Typically, I only submit one or two poems a month here. My main activity is reading and leaving feedback on fellow Write Out Loud poets' submissions, so I would describe myself more as an active spectator. For some of us this is more than enough, but I know that for more serious poets live performance is what it's all about. I also have my blog which has been up and running since 2009 and has gained a small following. With work and other commitments, especially for the time-poor like myself, the internet and blogging are a real and wonderful blessing. Thank you so much Write Out Loud! I just wish I had more time to read and write poetry.
Which poets have influenced your poetic style, would you say?
I don't even know if I have a style! I feel a little like a poetry equivalent of a pub football player. Imagine if a pub footballer said: “Oh yeah, I'm influenced by Messi, Ronaldo, Salah and Suarez, but you probably guessed that already …” I suppose I could say: "Oh yeah, I'm a bit Poe, Baudelaire, Brian Turner, Neruda, and various lyricists, but you probably guessed that already …” Except, I'm not like any of them, and would never compare myself to anyone. I just write this stuff. Goodness only knows where it comes from, maybe the post-rock/satirical/sci-fi poetry goddess! Answers on a postcard.
FAR AWAY IN MY LIVING ROOM WHEN WE HAVE REAL 3D TELEVISION
by Suki Spangles
far away in my living room
when we have real 3d television
will starving huddled children
project on our carpet
will they baffle pets
realistic in every way
until you run to the kitchen
to try to feed the visitors..
i will stand there
perhaps walk around them
in the middle of my living room
cup of tea in my hand
with magical goggles i will be able to reach
and touch them all
the gloves will have sensors
connected to my visor
the children won't be able to touch me
they will be floating..
if i am watching the real 3d news
and a building has just been hit by a fighter jet
and screaming people run towards the cameraman
if i keep my visor on
will they run into my living room
and as long as i don't take my helmet off
will they be safe
and if i do take my helmet off..
perhaps if i could just throw a first aid kit
through the screen
but what if i am pulled through the screen
and trapped on the other side..
perhaps when real 3d television arrives
we can provide goggles and visors
for the children war refugees
so they can join in the fun
they can watch us watch them
run towards the cameraman
run through the camera lens
run to the viewer who has premium subscription..