The Smartphone

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‘Are you in a serious relationship with your smartphone?’ The question headlines long-form news articles warning of the dour effects of incessant usage and screen addiction. Yet, for Nadine Botha, the intimacy we share with our handheld devices may be far more peculiar than we think. After all, it serves us both the overstimulation of the 24-7 office and the delicious jolts of adrenaline from text messages sent by lovers. In such exchanges, the vibrancy of electric connection transcends planetary locations and timezones. Scrolling, searching and seducing one another, constant connectivity permeates every aspect of our daily existence, from the way we find love to navigating unfamiliar city streets. Evoking philosophers, artists and designers, Nadine delivers an intoxicating account of the smartphone as a fetish object; a techno-sexual prosthetic, extending our bodies and selves in unfathomable ways.

This episode includes interviews with Chen Yu Wang, Jan Schulz and Ginevra Petrozzi, who also shared a recording of her project Digital Esotericism (2021). Great thanks to Kluster5 for contributing passages of Perceived Reality (2022) – a record exploring the construction of identity. The first half of the visual album – Elevation of Self-Validation – is about a young woman who loses herself to social media. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team