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Coaxial

Jay Orff

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Everyone in Coaxial has a video camera, held out in front of them, as they go about their daily business (and it’s comforting for a tourist to blend in so easily here). Your waiter will point to his camera as he takes your order. He wants you to look into the lens, not at him, and he will not take your order until you comply. In Coaxial, everything is for the camera. The video from all citizen camera persons is beamed to Coaxial Town Hall where it’s edited together to create a series of television shows that, those not out taping, are home watching. Because the people of Coaxial are so accustomed to a televised world, many events in town are now video projections rather than in person. If you go to a performance of the Coaxial Orchestra you are likely to find a projection of the orchestra and that, in fact, many of the audience members are on television monitors as well, their life-size heads watching the event, attempting to discreetly suppress a cough. Some of the audience members are, more or less, truly “attending,” sitting at home with a camera pointed at themselves as they watch the event on TV, but some are, indeed, “rebroadcasts” (a practice frowned upon but nonetheless employed, since it makes possible being many places at once (you can spot the rebroadcasts; they’re the ones that don’t clap at the end)). And if you should happen to go to a Coaxial High School sporting event, you will see, at the center of the arena or field of play, the giant projected image of a game. Everyone in the stands will be watching through their cameras, pointed at the projection, one hand raised in celebration, eyes staring at their camera’s view screen, trying to steady the image of the projection of their child scoring a goal.

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