Overnight or Night is Over — F.lux and the Absolute Temporality of the Internet

From f.lux Facebook page

Created in 2009 by two former Google employees, f.lux is an application that aims to solve these problems by automatically adjusting the color temperature of the light emitted by the screen according to the local time and the illumination of the surrounding environment: when the sun goes down, f.lux makes sure that the screen gradually becomes yellowish. Nowadays, seven years later, the solution — only apparently simple — offered by f.lux has become an option available by default on many mobile devices. Generally, this function goes by the name of “night mode” or “read mode”.

F.lux is revolutionary because it injects a local temporality within the homogeneous flow produced by the digital experience. In this sense, f.lux allows us to customize its rhythm. However, it does little to dent the pervasive culture of overnight work. Rather than actually pushing users to turn off their computer, the notifications about the remaining hours of sleep sent by f.lux can only fuel their sense of guilt. It is no coincidence that college students, for whom sleepless nights are often a default, represent one of the main user group of the app. As it often happens, f.lux offers a technological solution to a broader social issue: it makes us work better at night but, while doing so, it invites us to spend even more time in front of the computer. F.lux brings the night inside the screen because nowadays there is no night without a screen.

Before going to sleep we seek some relaxation between a comment on Facebook and a series on Netflix. So, our devices offer opportunities for leisure as well. But can we really speak of free time? When an increasing number of activities involves the continuous production, consumption and recombination of information mediated by a screen, the boundary between work and non-work, long since blurred, tends to dissolve. When work becomes primarily cognitive, fooling around online makes no exception. Whenever there is a screen, a genuine subtraction from the operational logic of digital media is equivocal. Nevertheless, f.lux brings a bit of humanity in this production mode.

From f.lux twitter account

Published in Italian on Little John Magazine II — 24/7.

Originally published at THE ENTREPRECARIAT.

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