‘Walled gardens’ are mentioned halfway through this weeks lecture. It’s a term which refers how social media apps and sites like amazon develop an internal hierarchical method of gathering and storing information. They control the information, giving it an internal value within a waled garden, making having people to produce information essential.
This may be what a walled garden is, but when I first heard the term my mind went to one of my all time favourite TV shows: Over the Garden Wall.
In Over the Garden Wall, brother Wirt and Gregory find themselves in the Unknown. The Unknown is the fictional equivilent of a walled garden, it’s a mystical land, seperated from the real world, and filled with strange objects which only have value to the creatures that live there. I enjoyed my revist of the Unknown, and then I returned to the lecture.
I got past where i had jumped off from the lecture and learnt about ‘stacks’. Stacks are vertically integrated walled gardens. Information is shared between a series of walled garders, think how google integrates gmail with youtube, as a way of increasing the value of the data they collect, and therefore the desire for people to enter their walled garden.
However, this means that these companies own our information, and it raises concerns over what they can then do with that information.
In the finale of Over the Garden Wall Wirt and Patrick complete their quest, they return home. Their triumph is laced with melancholy, they’re home but the Unknown is a walled garden and they are forever seperated from their new friends, like we are seperated from information we provide.
But in the last moments of the show we see all their actions have had long lasting consequences. Wirt and Patrick, throughout the course of the show, improved the lives of every creature they met, every friend they made. They may be seperated forever, but their impact on these creatures can’t be taken away.
People worry about whether their information in walled gardens and stacks is even theirs, and who then owns it.
I say that information is meaningless without connection to the human experience.
And only we control that.
Now for a completely unhinged remediation (featuring the stacked musical stylings of Over the Garden Wall):