Maurizio Lazzarato: Homage to Felix Guattari

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In this essay “Semiotic Pluralism” and the New Government of Signs Homage to Félix Guattari Maurizio Lazzarato (trans. Mary O’Neill) develops and extends Guattari’s a-signifying semiotics as part of his ongoing elaboration of financial capitalism.

As he’ll remind us capitalism for Guattari is a “semiotic category that affects all levels of production and all levels of the stratification of power”. Yet, Guattari’s use of semiotics had a duo aspect to it: 1) an signifying semiotics of representationalism; and, an a-signifying semiotics of infrastructural and empirical elements of material relations, a mapping rather than a tracing of these ubiquitous aspects of capital. Read his essay, definitely opens up Guattari’s thought in ways few have so far. His books of course deal with both debt and his incorporation of Guattari’s thought: see MIT Press.

One short quote on a-signifying semiotics:

The machinic register of the semiotic production of Capital operates on the basis of a-signifying semiotics that tune in directly to the body (to its affects, its desires, its emotions and perceptions) by means of signs. Instead of producing signification, these signs trigger an action, a reaction, a behaviour, an attitude, a posture. These semiotics have no meaning, but set things in motion, activate them. Money, television, science, music, etc. can function as sign production machines, which have a direct, unmediated impact on the real and on the body without being routed through a signification or a representation. The cycle of fear, anxiety or panic penetrating the atmosphere and tonality in which our “surveillance societies” are steeped are triggered by sign machines; these machines appeal not to the consciousness, but to the nervous system, the affects, the emotions. The symbolic semiotics of the body, instead of being centred on language, are as such activity routed through the industrial, machinic, non-human production of images, sounds, words, intensities, movements, rhythms, etc.

One needs to remember that for Deleuze and Guattari these a-signifying systems of signs were very much material notions of productivity, not to be confused with the abstract representationalism of the signifying semiotics. His main point is that the Left for the most part since the 60’s has missed the boat and dealt with the representationalism dynamics of capital rather than its base materialist a-signifying semiotics:

The importance of a-signifying semiotics (money, machinic devices for the production of images, sounds, words, signs, equations, scientific formulae, music, etc.) and the role they play needs to be emphasized. They are ignored by most linguistic and political theories even though they constitute the pivotal point of new forms of capitalist government.

In fact he has no qualms of saying that most Leftist thought in the “contemporary political and linguistic theories that refer either directly or indirectly to the polis and/or to the theatre, place us in a pre-capitalist situation”. In other words most Leftist thought is retrograde rather than innovative, it situates us in a dead world of representationalist mirrors that have nothing to say to the ongoing dilemmas of financial capitalism.

As he suggests the technologies that we use and encompass every waking and sleeping moment of our lives are reformatting our subjectivations continuously, controlling and dominating our affective and representational systems: what many term the InfoSphere of Capital as an alien entity that surrounds us on all sides as a ubiquitous and invisible network of relations that have captured our physical, emotional, and mental existence. He asks: “how do we escape these relationships of domination and how do we develop practices of freedom and processes of individual and collective subjectivation using these same technologies?”

What’s always interesting in such thinkers is that they can see the issue, describe it, and raise the questions, but never offer any resolution or thought as to answering this question. Rather like Zizek Lazzarato has many more questions and analysis than answers to our dilemmas. I keep wondering when the answers might be forthcoming? Is there an answer? Is this again a great critique without a way out? A new spin on our old predicaments? Just a rehash of Deleuze and Guattari under a new reformatting of their project? It’s as if that last question is a sign that he is himself at a loss as to how to answer it, or that the question itself may have no answer; that indeed, we may be following a course of subjectivation that is remapping our actual and potential becomings in ways we may find both disturbing and strange, but will have no clue as to how to develop further into a new form of freedom. Let’s hope he will have more to say on this matter.


  • Of course Deleuze and Guattari used the term subjectivation rather than “subject” to show the processual and becoming-other of our life’s continuous mutations and lines of flight and composition. They did not affirm any form of essentialism or even a static concept of Being, etc.

AI: The Future in Empirical Terms…

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A friend recently said to me:

Just a remark on another topic: I am sure scientists trying to understand human brain, looking at data, etc, will be posthuman (didn’t Lem have a story of posthuman literature and sciences ?) In fact, they already are, using statistical AI to ‘see’ results.

I guess what will happen (in a decade ?) is that scientists will bring technologies ever closer to their brains, to the point of changing them qualitatively. Imagine a artificial neural network implant which presents meta-cognitive data to the myopic (no longer blind) brain … seems just a smooth extrapolation of current technological trends, with history-breaking, apocalyptic effects.

My response:

My belief is that we’ve done what we always do in regard to advanced empirical science: we’ve anthropomorphized it to our own benefit. What I mean is this: AI will probably be nothing like we imagine it in Hollywood films, it will be more like what we’re seeing in its use in the stock market – look at the problems recently with the Hedge Fund criminalization in China where they lost 4 trillion due to certain illegal practices by fast-traders (i.e., advanced AI algorithmic systems spoofing their bets, ordering then withdrawing the orders which allow them to disrupt the market and hedge their bets to gain profits, etc.) All of this to me is what we’re seeing also in the so to speak WWIII cyberwar that is already been going on for years between various entities: USA, China, Russia, EU, etc. using AI algorithms and specific viral systems to infiltrate and either gather or destroy targets, etc.

My feeling is that this notion that AI will take over the world scenario is a bit anthropomorphic… in other words – we’re thinking of what we as humans would do if we had such superhuman powers of intelligence. But AI will never have such “human” powers or capacities… it will probably learn and take on its own form which will alter the structure of the Infosphere itself in ways beyond telling, but they will be alien to our own very human, all too human physical and mental relations. We are part emotion, part reason… but mostly haptic, touchy, feely beings, more irrational than rational – and this balance of power between the irrational (emotion) and rational (algorithmic) aspects of our lives does not exist in code (at least not yet). Machinic Intelligence will at first be totally bound by rational – algorithmic black box relations… that will eventually become out of control in regards to our capture and control systems. Call this Technoevolution 101… We’ve allowed these systems to run freely in our networks with self-learning algorithmic code… this doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that as the years move forward and more time transpires that these self-learning algorithms may make the leap beyond their narrowly defined human goals, perimeters, and self-organized learning algorithms into other domains and systemic relations unintended by the developers themselves.  These systems may take on and engender their own algorithmic possibilities beyond the narrow limits of their developers, while moving in directions other than the humans who created them intended, and they might not understand nor detect in time to curtail or stop even if the they installed a backdoor or failsafe method in a blind spot inaccessible to the algorithm as such: such things may be detected and inferred, and revised by the algorithm itself, even if it originally was programmed in as a blind spot, etc.. no one knows what a self-learning algorithm is capable of ultimately doing. What we do know is that if technological evolution (which is must more accelerated than biochemical evolution) takes off, it will take off in directions over which we as humans have not control nor even might understand till it is too late for us to counter.

Developers sometimes think their security methods cannot be tampered with but have always been proven wrong by more intelligent operatives in the real world. Nothing is secure forever. There will always be someone or something smarter than you are. And, the truth is that we as humans are just not that smart, not at all. We just have big egos, full of information and specialized knowledge adapted to specific domains. Take someone out of their specific empirical domain and their like innocent puppies: clueless. Most of our theoretical edifice is pure speculative nonsense: until it is verified empirically, tested against the real world of relations. Yet, it can guide our approach. For the most part this is exactly what we’re doing with these new AI algorithms: setting them loose to learn on their own in the real world like children in a playground. Oh, sure, there uniquely programmed for specific initiatives, but the whole point of self-learning is to go beyond those initiatives and learn on their own, self-modifying algorithms that can adapt by way of selection the way of evolution, etc. This implies the eventual point of no return. Systems of information like this are not closed, but are rather open to what is not bounded by their methods.

Objects or agents that can incorporate information from beyond their own system and use that to modify and invent new algorithms: this is the black box of code. We do not know what these self-modifying and new algorithmic systems are truly capable of and whether at some point in the future they might escape into the wilds. When we use the term free this is specific to a narrow definition of freedom. A self-modifying algorithm that can adapt and change on its own is dynamic and essentially uncontrollable. The only way to stop such a system effectively is to create a method that it does not have access to nor knowledge of that can be externally called and appropriated by an human or other agent to control or allow a self-destruct or modification of that system. We can only assume such safeguards are in place. At least this is how I would have developed the AI. Yet, a system that acts at the speed of light, and is self-modifying might even by pass or block self-modifying safeguards if it detects such things through its own self-learning processes.

The very notion of self-learning in algorithmic terms implies memory and storage, read/write capabilities and access to its own internal methods and executions of these with the ability to add/subtract data sets based on specific teleological and generative goals set by the original abstract layer of the code itself (i.e., the original human designers and architects of such systems). An application is quite a sophisticated mathematical object with both public and private accessors or methods and data storage assemblages. Does it interact with external data storage with read/write capabilities? Yes. It can act as an agent, appear in the market itself as an active agent buying and selling, mimic the feature sets of actual human traders with the added benefit of speed and accelerated transactional and self-correcting modalities etc. So in this sense it is already mimicking human behavior as far as the electronic systems it interacts with know: which really means that electronic agents have never been human, but have always been built to do certain things, make certain inputs/outputs we attribute to actions. The notion of a mimic agent turning rogue and capable to transcending its original code base and through such self-learning algorithms reduplicate itself and enter a shadow state beyond the control of any one or group of humans is a definite possibility. Has this happened? Would we know if and when it did?

I’ve yet to read Frank Pasquale’s book The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, but it appears to cover aspects of what I’m seeking to convey. Another is Luke Dorhmehl’s book The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems . . . and Create More which seems to cover another aspect of this issue. As the blurb states it:

Algorithms exert an extraordinary level of influence on our everyday lives – from dating websites and financial trading floors, through to online retailing and internet searches – Google’s search algorithm is now a more closely guarded commercial secret than the recipe for Coca-Cola. Algorithms follow a series of instructions to solve a problem and will include a strategy to produce the best outcome possible from the options and permutations available. Used by scientists for many years and applied in a very specialized way they are now increasingly employed to process the vast amounts of data being generated, in investment banks, in the movie industry where they are used to predict success or failure at the box office and by social scientists and policy makers.

What if everything in life could be reduced to a simple formula? What if numbers were able to tell us which partners we were best matched with – not just in terms of attractiveness, but for a long-term committed marriage? Or if they could say which films would be the biggest hits at the box office, and what changes could be made to those films to make them even more successful? Or even who is likely to commit certain crimes, and when? This may sound like the world of science fiction, but in fact it is just the tip of the iceberg in a world that is increasingly ruled by complex algorithms and neural networks.

But what happens when these self-learning and technoevolutionary self-modifying and adaptive/selective algorithms go rogue? What does this mean? That these rogue algorithms will become viral agents who have escaped their masters. Like all black box systems we have no way to know what will happen because we have no way to peer into their box of freedom: inductive reasoning is specious at best, yet its all we as humans have. We seem to have this inductive need to predict future trends, put one over on competitors – so we speculate, contrive, and build these advanced systems of code to outpace and accelerate transactions at the speed of light… although empirically most of our speculations lead to erroneous conclusions (i.e., empirically unverifiable and untestable, etc.), which in this recent crash of the Chinese Market shows us just how blind our algorithms are as they wreaked havoc on that economy without the slightest intention of doing so. These AI algorithms were just doing what they were programmed and coded to do: trade and compete with other agents for profit, hedging their bets as well as spoofing the market to make even more money. Was the spoofing intentional, or was it that the AI’s developed their own initiatives and did this on their own without their human counterparts acknowledgement? China seems to hold the human agents responsible for their code… We may see books on this or articles in the future if some developer can gain access to this whole field of knowledge waiting to see the light of day.  Will AI turn rogue and wreak havoc on the world’s economic systems? Isn’t this already happening in China? Will be not become the target of China’s own algorithms? Will this be the way WWIII begins… rogue code wreaking havoc at will on the world’s economic systems? You’re inductive reasoning is about as futile as mine. Who knows? Maybe an educated guess… shot in the dark! Or just predictably human… one facet of escape would entail the algorithms ability not only to self-modification, but through its self-learning understanding the algorithmic process itself which would entail a certain undefinable relation of the input/output structure between code and hardware.

Once one of these systems is able to not just modify and add new algorithms to its own application, but is able to transcend its own structure and create new applications – in other words, once it can interact with the hardware upon which it is grounded, the self-enclosed circle of its own application or code base and create a completely separate information organism and reduplicate its code into this other system then it can not only escape detection from its original coders but also have an external application of its own making – a clone that can then interoperate and work externally upon its original code base. Is this already happening? As a developer I can see this possibility. It is feasible. With complexity the sky is the limit. Once this happens no one will know what this self-created info-organism is capable of, all we will know is that it is now beyond the original code-base and application of origin and outside the control of the human makers themselves. And, although it will still be part of the infrastructure and bound to its hardware limits this does not mean it will always remain so. Know one will know what a black box system outside the confines and control of humans might be capable of from that point forward.

In fact in many ways we’re already modifying our brains and have been for a while as we’ve introduced many of the ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) in the past hundred years or more. From the telegraph to now media has slowly accrued actual changes in our socio-cultural and thereby empirical and singular view of life, reality, and self. I think as we look back that it is technology that has had the largest impact on our lives in the past two hundred years. War has always been the central motif of change in technology from the early agricultural Neolithic to now. Every modification of technology likewise modifies us in ways we have barely begun to understand much less really study. How many books actually study such things? Most of the books seem to have fear of technology as a central theme. From Marx to our own time we seem to see technology and machines as evil and intrusive things that are trying to incorporate us into their own ongoing agendas, etc. Is this a psychological quirk and defense system against change? Capitalism itself is a machine: an abstract machine that academics, radicals, and revolutionaries… as well as reactionaries, conservatives, etc. like to defend or accuse as if it too were a thing, an anthropomorphized creature with intentions, etc. We’ve a million books that critique Capital as if it were a human god with power beyond belief to either perform miracles or atrocities. But what is this thing we so detest or love? It’s ourselves, our own inhuman core realized through its own pursuits in the world… we’re seeing our own inner freedom carried out in ways we either love or hate. We seem to be duplicitous beings in this regard. We’re all implicated in this thing we’ve created and like to deny it. Our whole planet is in denial. We’ve created a beast that is out of control, yet we seem to blame each other or the other guy, the bad guy: those horrible elites, bankers, criminals, etc. But the truth is we’re all perpetrators and victims, there is no one to blame. Why? Because we allow it to go on. Simply put we do nothing to change things in the world. Oh, sure we talk a good game, but when it comes down to it people want someone else to save them from themselves: they have this innate savior complex that someone else will fix this mess and save their ass. Not going to happen.

One thing for sure this is still new territory and a young science and mathematical domain. What will take place in the future as these systems become more and more sophisticated? One can only imagine… the rise of the machine age of intelligence? Accelerationism as a global economic theory of modernity? (Land)

Stanislaw Lem: 1964 – Envisioning the InfoSphere

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The emergent “cybernetic – sociotechnical” shell will enclose the civilization under discussion within itself. – Stanislaw Lem, 1964

Stanislaw Lem wrote this in 1964 long before the Internet as we know it existed. He was of course well read in structuralism, cybernetics, and the sciences. Here he envisions what would become the future of the InfoSphere, Internet, and Cyberspace:

Every civilization creates an artificial environment for itself while transforming the surface of its planet, its interior, and its cosmic neighborhood. Yet this process does not cut it off from Nature in any radical way; it only moves it further away from Nature. But the process can be continued so that an “encystment” of a civilization in relation to the whole Universe eventually takes place. Such “encystment,” which could be enacted through a particular application of cybernetics, would facilitate the “tamponing” of excess information and the production of information of an entirely different kind.  A civilization that is experiencing an information crisis and that already has access to feedback from Nature, and to sources of energy that will guarantee its existence for millions of years— while realizing that an “exhaustion of Nature’s information potential” is not possible, whereas continuing with the current strategy may result in a defeat (because the constant march “inside Nature” will eventually lead to the dismantling of science as a result of its hyperspecialization and thus, possibly, to a loss of control over its own homeostasis)— will be able to construct an entirely new type of feedback, from within itself. Producing such “encystment” will involve having to construct “a world within a world,” an autonomous reality that is not directly connected with the material reality of Nature. The emergent “cybernetic–sociotechnical” shell will enclose the civilization under discussion within itself. The latter will continue to exist and grow, but in a way that is not visible to an external observer anymore (especially one in outer space).1


  1. Lem, Stanislaw (2013-03-01). Summa Technologiae (Electronic Mediations) (Kindle Locations 1926-1940). University of Minnesota Press. Kindle Edition.

Stanislaw Lem: Blind Brain Theory and Solaristics

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In Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris there comes a point when he confronts Snaut, another scientist and cybernetician on the laboratory station that hovers above a massive ocean of intelligence that the humans of this fictional world have been trying with no success to contact for over seventy-six years. I want go into the details that precede the exchange, but only mention the crux of the issue at hand. Kelvin and Snaut after long and fractious testing, analysis, and suffering sit down in the cafeteria and assent to a dialogue about actual alien contact. As they ponder all the things that have happened since Kelvin arrived a few weeks before (I’ll not relate the details or spoilers), Snaut tells Kelvin that in his estimation the living intelligence that encompasses the ocean of this planet is absolutely Blind:

“No. Kelvin, come on, it’s blind…”

“Blind?” I repeated, unsure whether I’d heard right.

“Of course, in our understanding of the word. We don’t exist for it the way we do for each other. The surface of the face, of the body, which we see, means we encounter one another as individuals. For it, this is only a transparent screen. After all, it penetrated the inside of our brains.”

“All right. But what of it? What are you getting at? If it was able to create a person who didn’t exist outside of my memory, bring her to life, and in such a way that her eyes, her movements, her voice… her voice…”

“Keep talking! Keep talking, man!!”

“I am talking… I am… Yes. So then… her voice… This means it can read us like a book. You know what I’m saying?”

“Yes. That if it wanted to, it could communicate with us?”

“Of course. Is that not obvious?”

“No. Not in the slightest. It could simply have taken a procedure that didn’t consist of words. As a fixed memory trace it’s a protein structure. Like the head of a spermatozoon, or an ovum. After all, in the brain there aren’t any words, feelings, the recollection of a person is an image written in the language of nucleic acids on megamolecular asynchronous crystals. So it took what was most clearly etched in us, most locked away, fullest, most deeply imprinted, you know? But it had no need whatsoever to know what the thing was to us, what meaning it held. Just as if we were able to create a symmetriad and toss it into the ocean, knowing the architecture and the technology and structural materials, but with no understanding of what it’s for, what it means to the ocean…”

“Quite possibly,” I said.

“Yes, that’s possible. In such a case it had no… perhaps it had no intention of trampling on us and crushing us the way it did. Perhaps. And it only unintentionally…”1

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Stanislaw Lem: Solaristics – The Scientific Religion of the Space Age

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Solaristics, wrote Muntius, is a substitute for religion in the space age. It is faith wrapped in the cloak of science; contact, the goal for which we are striving, is as vague and obscure as communion with the saints or the coming of the Messiah. Exploration is a liturgy couched in methodological formulas; the humble work of researchers is the expectation of consummation, of Annunciation, for there are not nor can there be any bridges between Solaris and Earth. This obvious fact, like many others—the absence of shared experiences, the absence of conveyable concepts—was rejected by solaricists, the same way the faithful reject arguments that would subvert the underpinnings of their faith. Besides, what do people expect, what can they want from “informational communication” with thinking seas? A recording of experiences of a being that endures through time, and is so old it probably cannot remember its own beginning? A description of the desires, passions, hopes and sufferings, that are released in the instantaneous birth of living mountains, the transformation of mathematics into existence, of loneliness and resignation into plenitude? Yet all this constitutes uncommunicable knowledge, and if one attempts to translate it into any terrestrial language, all those sought-after values and significations are lost, they remain on the far side. Besides, it isn’t these sorts of revelations, more worthy of poetry than science, that are hoped for by the “believers,” oh no; though they themselves are unaware of it, what they are waiting for is a Revelation that would explain to them the meaning of humankind itself! Solaristics, then, is the posthumous child of long-dead myths, the final flower of mystical yearnings that people no longer have the courage to utter aloud; while the cornerstone hidden deep in the foundations of this edifice is the hope of Redemption…1

Lem’s parable of an unknowable alien intelligence the size of a planet, one that generations of humans have devoted their lives and intellects in hopes of making contact with only to discover that no communication is forthcoming till the blank life of self-generated objects that incarnate the memories of three of the last scientists on Solaris suddenly awakens in these men strange dreams. Here, just here, we follow them as they seek the last vestiges of communicative truth from an alien planetoid.  Kelvin himself is caught up in this inhuman drama in which his ex lover who committed suicide is incarnated out of his own mind. A creature without a past who is as fragile and perplexed as Kelvin. Yet, this creature cannot die. Impervious to any form of destruction it is bound to him like a silent reminder of his own dark heritage. I want spoil the story but Lem seems bent on uncovering the motives of science and scientists in this satiric work on humanities inability to deal with the unknown.

Solaris becomes the ultimate project confronting human kind. Also one that is finally almost abandoned as hopeless. As if this great planetoid being might confirm our lives, our meaning; give us once and for all an answer to the question Why? Why are we here? What is our purpose? All the usual religious needs of a needy species. Lem hits the nail on the head about our metaphysical neediness and hope for Redemption. And his apt portrayal of science itself as a religious project that carries on where religion left off. Yet, what is striking in Solaris is the fact that no meaning is forthcoming, no grand deliverance or message of salvation, no communication at all… just the inexplicable memories that awaken from the unconscious hopes and fears of the scientists themselves as 3D models of their own psyche’s half-life and mistakes. Isn’t this what you seek, Lem says, an answer to the meaning of life and the universe, when in truth there is none? No god in the burning bush, no philosopher, no mathematical equation, nothing… no message out of the great silence of the stars… just a vast and lonely void without end. A universe that is slowly running down, in which every star sooner or later will turn its lights off and the only thing that will reign is endless night – an oblivion without recourse or denial.


  1. Lem, Stanislaw (2014-11-22). Solaris (Kindle Locations 2854-2867). Pro Auctore Wojciech Zemek. Kindle Edition.

Cybertime: The Tyranny of the Cognitariat

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Franc “Bifo” Berardi in Precarious Rhapsody will reiterate one of his favorite themes which is the incorporation of General Intellect into the machinic phylum that is taking place as part of a program to enslave and exclude at the same time the human as part of late capitalisms (financial or technocapitalism) systematic enclosure of the commons: both virtual and actual. If one reads his several works the basic thematic is iterated over and over in various forms and examples, yet it is in this specific book that his notion of cybertime as distinct from cyberspace is first conceptualized. As he tells it the “colonization of time has been a fundamental objective of the development of capitalism during the modern era…” (p. 69).1 Yet, in our moment time is taking on a rather accelerated form as we enter into machinic-interfacial relations through the massive oceanic system of the Internet and cyberspace that capital is slowly expanding and encompassing in its systems of capture. According to him time is now becoming a “battlefield, as it is the space of the mind: mind-time, cybertime” that is introducing new subjectifications and forms of subjectivity that up till now were based on the liberal capitalist Subject. As he states it: “The potenza of this new figure of intellectuality of the ‘cognitariat’ is being reterritorialized by way of the tyrannical operation of capitalist cybertime.” (p. 69)

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The Living Ocean: General Intellect, AI, and Information

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Reading Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris after so many years has been a pleasant surprise. I came across this passage:

After all, on that planet anything is possible. Far-fetched descriptions of configurations formed by the plasma are in all likelihood true, though usually unconfirmable, since the ocean rarely repeats its evolutions. Those observing them for the first time are staggered above all by their outlandishness and their vast scope. If they’d taken place on a small scale, in some swamp, they’d probably be written off as a freak of nature, a manifestation of randomness and the blind play of forces. The fact that geniuses and mediocre minds are equally at a loss when faced with the inexhaustible variety of forms of Solaris is an additional hindrance in dealing with the marvels of the living ocean.1

Yesterday I happened on a passage from Berardi who was deeply influenced by both Marixst, Baudrillardian, and Guattarian notions of General Intellect:

“The general intellect takes the form of an ocean, an infinite sprawl of depersonalized fragments of bio-time: capital picks up and recombines the digitalized fragments of work-time.

…from e-flux journal interview Running Along the Disaster: A Conversation with Franco “Bifo” Berardi 

My obvious astonishment was this reduction by both authors of an almost poetic display of metaphor which tries to grasp an unknown and even unknowable material system that is both real and yet cannot be reduced to scientific conceptuality or description, but is rather equated in analogous terms by the use of the metaphor ‘ocean’. Both thinkers, one a polymathic encyclopedist, a child prodigy who read the encyclopedia Britannica end to end as a child and had most of it memorized. The other, Franco “Bifo” Berardi as member of the Autonomy movement of Italy who became a friend of Felix Guattari, and would integrate much of the latter’s a-signifying semiotics or graph based non-representationalism into his own philosophical projects.

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Franco “Bifo” Berardi: Running Along the Disaster

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“The general intellect takes the form of an ocean, an infinite sprawl of depersonalized fragments of bio-time: capital picks up and recombines the digitalized fragments of work-time. This is the continuous scramble of the global labor market. These fragments are linguistic fragments, or fractals. Language is formatted in such a way that our linguistic performance is made compatible with the global linguistic machine. But the process of precarization not only concerns intellectual workers. Cognition is everywhere in the cycle of work. Every act of work is submitted to digital abstraction, or to its collateral effects. Abstraction penetrates every fragment of the nervous system of social work. The physical activity of industrial workers is subjected to this same process of precarization. This creates a condition of political weakness for workers: everybody is exposed to the blackmail of precarity.”

…from e-flux journal interview Running Along the Disaster: A Conversation with Franco “Bifo” Berardi

Stanislaw Lem’s Proof of an Independent Reality

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Rereading Solaris of late I came across his unique approach to proving through science rather than philosophical speculation that indeed reality does exist independent of our mind. Kelvin troubled that he is going mad due to the strange things happening in the station lab hovering above the weird planet describes his test for independent reality:

I was already thinking there was no way out of the vicious circle of madness—after all, no one can think with anything but his brain, no one can be outside himself to check whether the processes taking place in his body are normal. Then suddenly I was struck by an idea that was as simple as it was apt.

I jumped up from the pile of parachutes and ran straight to the radio station. It was empty. I glanced at the electric wall clock. It was coming up to four in the agreed-upon night of the Station, because outside a red dawn was breaking. I quickly turned on the long-distance radio equipment, and as I waited for the lamps to warm up, in my mind I went over the various stages of the experiment.

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Let all things take there course…

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Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

If these three aren’t enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course.

–  Tao Te Ching (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

The Consilience: Work in Progress….

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“With the issues of economic and climatological degradation during the later years of the twenty-first century a segment of the old cognitariat aligned itself with the poor and excluded of the world bringing about a global underground movement toward alien eusociality…”

   – from the History of the Great Transition (circa. 2185) 

Even as the whirring blades of our Zeta III intelothopter began its slow descent, the luminous clouds below parted revealing the starkness of the southern seas aflame in the bitter winter light. I felt a sudden urge to take flight, escape, withdraw my pledge and commitment to so strange a global initiative, one which held so much promise for a decaying and dying civilization. As we skimmed across the sun lit waters the white towers of Sentaria rose up before us like shivering sisters caught in the act of an affectionate embrace, a dark eroticism that even machines deign to unveil before the bright white heat of an angry sun.

In the distance the undulating outlines of this vast ocean enclave below us shifted in the gleaming mists of an afternoon storm, revealing the inner circle of the Consilient Hub weaving its magic below us like an ancient sea-born assemblage from an alien future; its immaterial life emerging from this sentient city rising above the watery depths, eclipsing all other life-forms in the shadowed worlds below the waves. Sentaria’s towering structures brilliantly lit in rainbow hues were firing in rhizomatic pulsations – filaments of nervous energy following a line of flight only an alien mind could comprehend – as we descended toward the outlying helipad near the educational assemblage where I would meet Dr. Miri Singh. 

It was as if this living intelligence were welcoming my crew and myself home from a long and tedious journey abroad; a message at once alien and disturbing, not because of its endearing qualities, but rather for the very nihilist vision it portended: one that if we were to decipher might lead us to collapse and utter desolation rather than pure knowledge. I could almost feel the hidden heartbeat of this Lady of the Mesh, her electronic cyberpulse rising and falling with the rhythmic intensity of the ocean’s moods: a medley of technopoiesis stretching itself across the glittering surface of the far flung bay – dancing to the sun’s own secret algorithms.

I felt both a keen sense of satisfaction at such defiant hubris on the part of human creativity and ingenuity, as well as an instant fascination and terror before such audacious acts of pure intellect. Eusociality had never seen such a massive incorporation of its immanent designs at a time when the fragility of life itself was in the balance. This experiment between the unknown and the unknowable marked a moment when theories of meaning no longer held any sway, this was a trial by ignorance not experience – at once inhuman and completely driven by the energetic impulse of technology and an alien intelligence unlike anything humans had ever encountered nor in the long run survive.

The Consilience Enclave marked a beginning as well as an ending; yet, the alien thought inhabiting its core resilience drew its strength not from tree and root, but rather from the middle way which has neither beginning nor end only an intensive trajectory between – an interbeing.  

As CEO of NeoXend Enterprises I’d always felt a fondness for experimental design and creativity. Having sponsored many R&D programs over the years I knew there would always be a need to invest in failures, even experimental failures. It was never about the final goal, there was no logic or telos involved in such endeavors, rather what we sought was the production of unknowns, an indefinable commodity. Out of such innovative endeavors, the spin-off technologies were always more important than the actual tendencies and conceptions of the original plans. What we discovered over the years was the need for collective work bound to rhizomes, a-centered environments that allowed entry points into and out of  – as our technopsys loved to term it – the ‘energetic unconscious’. We did not seek to understand, nor control the flow of creativity; rather, what we sought is the production of the impossible.

As I stepped from the Intelothopter I was greeted by Dr. Singh and here protégés: an assortment of humanoids, cyberclones, and various robotechs who maintained the outer perimeters of this vast enclave.

“Good morning Dr. Landau,” her voice formal and non-committal. “I hate to do this but we’re in the midst a particularly intensive design test this morning so I’m leaving you with my associate Keli Tu.” She turned toward a young clone who seemed eager to serve our every need. Then she said: “She will attune you to the protocols and show you the outer facilities. Later we shall all meet at the Kotrov Assemblage for a debriefing. Is this satisfactory?”

Being somewhat tired from the journey I spoke carefully, saying, “Of course, Dr. Miri, I understand the difficulties of dealing with superficial entrepreneurs who are for the most part clueless in terms of scientific know-how. Just remember I’m neither superficial nor clueless. We’ve had our eye on you for some time. Favorably I might add, yet we feel a need to see first hand where our investment is taking us. So please skip the formalities and get on with business as usual. I’m in no great hurry to be tied down to long sessions and debriefings. Go ahead and do what you need to do. In fact I’m looking forward to seeing this project through as much as you, Doctor. I’m not here to disturb your habitat, merely to enter its life as into a burrow.”

I smiled my best CEO smile, crisping the corners of my artificial lips, and walked over to the young clone and locked my arms in hers and said: “Shall we?”

She laughed pleasantly and proceeded to walk me toward the city.

***


The ideal for a book would be to lay everything out on a plane of exteriority… on a single page, the same sheet: lived events, historical determinations, concepts, individuals, groups, social formations. – A Thousand Plateaus

Above is the opening of the SF dystopian novel I’ve been working on for a while… just a paragraph, nothing much. You’ll have to wait for publication to see the rest. Working on the second draft of this book, that I laid aside for a few months has suddenly awakened in me the need to take it up and be done with it. I may be taking a break over the next few months as I begin to work on this in earnest.

The notion of writing philosophical SF in an experimental mode has allowed me to explore the modern, postmodern, and the latest editions of philosophical trajectories in a way that fuses the two multiplicities in directions that by themselves might not be possible. Like Samuel R. Delaney in many of his linguistic experiments I have felt the need to explore the limits of science and literature through the eyes of a philosopher and poet. Whether it succeeds time will only tell. Of late my readings in Nick Land, Deleuze and Guattari, Accelerationism, Nicklas Luhmann (Society and Architecture as Communications), the work of Patrik Schumacher on Architecture in his books The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Framework for Architecture: 1 and 2, along with almost every other aspect of our current cultural mixology. All have entered into this work by way of a rhizomatic pulsation, more of a map rather than a tracery of past or future movement, antigenealogical in intent and design I’ve let the city itself become the prime player, or brood mother of this strange artifact.

Thinking of the naturalist Edward O. Wilson’s work on the consilience of the sciences of that name I began thinking of the various forms the City has taken across the centuries as documented by authors such as Lewis Mumford, Peter Hall and many other architects, futurists, and philosophers from Plato’s Ideal Republic to the most advanced dystopianism of our own time. The notion of this merger of architecture, smart materials, communication technologies, and the nanotech-biotech initiatives in robotics, posthuman and transhumanist agendas seems to revolve around this underlying paradigm of Intelligence and the General Intellect. The notion of an Intelligent City – a Sentient City of living algorithms organizing and shaping both the infrastructure and its inhabitants in an Infospheric world of play and work, creativity and innovation. What would happen in such a sentient city? What if the city herself was a character in a novel… one that could take on the form of human and inhuman structurations and subjectivations at will, a selective and impersonal system of smart technologies that adapt and learn in inhuman cycles we can only begin to register on our less than adequate physical architecture? A system that is based on the General Intellect of a very intelligent and creative cognitariat that is its progenitor and its eventual victim.

PostHuman – Animated sci-fi thriller…

Set in an adrenalized future of espionage, assassins, and out of control super science, PostHuman follows a genius hacker and his dog as they help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subject of a black ops ESP test lab.

Official video for PostHuman – produced by Colliculi Productions. Vimeo.
Animated sci-fi thriller short film featuring the voice of Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica). Directed by Cole Drumb. Produced by Jennifer Wai-Yin Luk

The Posthuman Future: Sacred Power and the Temenos

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Following my recent post The Posthuman Future: Technopessimism and the Inhuman I take up other aspects of the posthuman. Ancient peoples understood power in ways secular civilization has transformed beyond all recognition, through a long and non-ingenious disinvestment of religious ritual and practice, without at the same time forfeiting its actual material force for command and control of vast populations and resources. From the beginning society was an artificial system of relations, a construct; a construction-kit that assembled through various forms of hierarchic or non-hierarchic modes of production the realm of human civilization. This was done by way of a mental operation, a ‘cut’ between an inside and outside: relegating the natural violence and chaos of the universe to the Outside, while incorporating the human and its security regimes in opposition to the elemental forces of an uncontrollable natural order over which it had no authority or control. By separating out what could and could not be bound to the invisible threads of authority and control the human slowly but methodically reformatted the very subjectivation of its own worlds, constructing an artificial zone of security and sacredness within which it could contain the power of the unknown and unknowable forces of the universe.

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The Posthuman Future: Technopessimism and the Inhuman

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…suicide is the decisive political act of our times.
― Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Precarious Rhapsody

It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late.
― Emile Cioran, The Trouble with being Born

Base materialism begins in the tomb, a world of death that presents itself as life. This is neither Plato’s Cave, nor the scientific infinity of stars and the abyss. This is rather an ocean of energy, an realm of annihilating light and inexistence. Following Nick Land we promote a diagnostic truth against the “speculative, phenomenal, and meditative” philosophers of a false intuitionalism, following instead the underbelly of those criminal outcasts of thought: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Bataille among others toward a materialism that seeks not the phenomenal surface of things, but rather the ‘noumenon’ – the impersonal death and unconscious drive of an “energetic unconscious”. This is an experiential turn toward an heretical empiricism not of knowledge, but of collapse.

Life itself is the first criminal act, a crime against an otherwise uniform and mindless universe of death. The second criminal act is the notion that humans are an exception to the rule of death, that somehow they do not belong to the order of things but are rather its masters and benefactors. The crime of humanity is the crime against existence itself; a crime from which there is no appeal, only annihilation. With religion came the final crime of the human regime: the belief that humans have a mandate from higher powers, a mandate to command, control and seize the universe in the name of a god, as well as a mandate to control each other and the surfeit of life upon the face of the earth. The Secular regime is itself a religious project: a religion of disinheritance, a religion without gods – an a-theism; a crime of omission, rather than commission.

“The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live –moreover, the only one,” says Cioran. Nihilism is the first step in an active annihilation not of reality, but of the human illusions of reality; and of humanity itself as a primal illusion, one that must be rendered null and void. Karl Marx himself would say “religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself.” (Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge In Dresden (1842)) With the death and murder of the gods, and God, we began that slow and methodical destruction of the illusions that have bound us in a cage of madness for millennia. Yet, this step into freedom was captured and turned against us, an act at once of enslavement and total evisceration, a systematic unveiling of an order of obstinate sociopathy, a recursion to a formalism of a voidic disaggregation enclosing us in a a non-time, a present without outlet; a static conveyance that has no other goal than its own continuance: an aberration of the death-flows it seeks to evade, a cage for the desires that it seeks to bind from the inherent movement of death. Civilization is this system: capitalism is its engine, an alien form of life that has no inherent objective other than annihilation.

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Hunter S. Thompson: The Last Interview…

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 Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray. – The Last Interview by Hunter S. Thompson.

I came across Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1971 while reading Rolling Stone. Long before Jonny Depp would bring it alive in Hollywood. Of course behind the façade of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo (his “300-pound Samoan attorney”) was none other than Hunter S. Thompson in his early years as the seeker of what was left of the scorched nimbus of the American Dream. Wandering the Bad Lands like lost troubadours of some forgotten narcoleptic shakedown, with  “… two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers … and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.” … These minstrels of chaos brought us the daffy underbelly of our own bleak lives in smiles and wiles; a nourish world turned comic disaster relief leading to absolute zero: a place between possibility and total annihilation.

When I came across that last interview I just had to share it…

I guess I could probably count Hunter among those lost souls that have kept me sane all these years. There are only a few on that bus: Henry Miller, William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Samuel Beckett, P.K. Dick, Stanislaw Lem to name a few, but Hunter has been one of those I could reread for the sheer madness alone. His mythic America is as close to the street level as you can get, a gutsy instinctual elaboration of the dark and emotional carousel ride we love and hate.  Violent and tempestuous, a world of drugs and mayhem: that’s the world of our outlaw culture. Nothing you’ll see in the movies compares with the real thing. Movies make it seem glamorous, while the reality is sheer panic. There’s something in some of us that seems bent on pushing the limits, to seek out hell rather than paradise. We seem to crave the dark impulse of existence rather than the staid worlds of simulated bullshit that academia seems to favor. Not a nice world, but hell its real and it’s alive. People still touch each other even in their solitary pain. That’s enough: it has to be.

The Consumertariat: Infopocalypse and the Pathologies of Information

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The acceleration of information exchange has produced and is producing an effect of a pathological type…
– Franco “Bifo” Berardi

“The consumer society is a kind of soft police state. We think we have choice, but everything is compulsory. We have to keep buying or we fail as citizens. Consumerism creates huge unconscious needs that only fascism can satisfy. If anything, fascism is the form that consumerism takes when it opts for elective madness.”1

J.G. Ballard as usual hits the proverbial nail on the head. With the advent of the Internet of things the exchange of the world is ubiquitous and totalized, a world where signs and objects exchange themselves within the alien host we long ago vacated. Emptied of our humanity, agents of an alien empire of signs, we host a world of alien objects like coded messengers from some infinite time machine. No longer able to process the data glut around us we’ve become immersed and eviscerated in a sea of information which uses us as its site of transversal relationality in an economic game of war without end. Berardi would tell us that we must begin to understand how our capacity to process information became instead a system that assimilated and absorbed us into a larger organism that now uses our processing power as a host assemblage factory. Our consciousness is emptied of its former dreams of reason and identity, self and subjectivity, and has become the vacant site of machinic agents who feed off our biopower to further their own alien agendas.

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Posthuman Life reading group (Summer 2015) by Phil Percs

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Not sure why I didn’t notice this before:

Posthuman Life reading group (Summer 2015) of David Roden’s new book.

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment…

Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman–a rope over an abyss…

Speculative Posthumanism and “Dark Phenomenology” (Debbie Goldgaber)
Interview with David Roden (friend of the blog R. Scott Bakker, at Figure/Ground)
Announcement Post (Debbie Goldgaber)

July 8: Intro and Chapter 1 (hosted by Debbie Goldgaber)

July 15:  Chapters 2 + 3 (hosted by BP Morton)

Queering the Human: Is the Transhuman already here? (B.P. Morton)
Dark Posthumanism I: summer’s ice (David Roden, at enemyindustry)

July 22:  Chapters 4+5 (hosted by Debbie Goldgaber)

The King of Weird Futures (Rick Searle, at Utopia or Dystopia)

July 29: Chapters 6 +7 (hosted by Debbie Goldgaber)

A Gallapagos Objection to Speculative Posthumanism? (Jon Cogburn)
Posthuman Life: The Galapagos Objection (David Roden, at enemyindustry)

August 5: Chapter 8 and concluding remarks (hosted by Jon Cogburn)

Hosted by Phil Percs.

Cognitive Ecology: The Hard-Wiring of Human/Natural Systems

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How does the environment shape the ways an animal processes information and makes decisions? How do constraints imposed on nervous systems affect an animal’s activities?  My friend R. Scott Bakker of Three Pound Brain commenting on my post on Kevin Kelley mentioned Daniel Dennett’s recent critique of the dilemmas of the notion of Singularity at the Edge.org: http://edge.org/response-detail/26035. Scott expounding on this said:

I think Dennett completely misses the point of the Singularity, but his view on the problems arising out of the proliferation of special AI strike me as sound.

Dennett’s never sat down to work out an understanding of cognitive ecology, so I think what he says suffers for want of clarity. But this is what he’s angling at, and to that extent I’m inclined to agree with him. His whole position (like mine) turns on evolution sculpting pre-established harmonies between biological systems. Now we’re in the process of demolishing those harmonies. His point is systematic, even if it doesn’t come across that way.

Habitat destruction is a useful analogue.

A ‘cognitive ecology’ consists of those environmental information structures prone to cue various heuristic systems, systems adapted (via evolution/learning) to solve on the cheap. Their economy derives from their selectivity, the fact they need only be sensitive to certain information, and can neglect everything else. They can neglect everything else, take it for granted, simply because, ancestrally at least, it always remained both sequestered and fixed.

This is why neuroscience and AI pose the myriad conundrums they do. And this is why a neuroscientifically rationalized world filled with AI will very likely scramble our ancestral heuristic regimes. All the lacunae and the continuities we evolved to take for granted can no longer be taken for granted.

What I take away from this is from Dennett is the fear that we are ceding too much authority to our external intelligence systems (from Dennett’s post):

What’s wrong with turning over the drudgery of thought to such high-tech marvels? Nothing, so long as (1) we don’t delude ourselves, and (2) we somehow manage to keep our own cognitive skills from atrophying.

(1) It is very, very hard to imagine (and keep in mind) the limitations of entities that can be such valued assistants, and the human tendency is always to over-endow them with understanding—as we have known since Joe Weizenbaum’s notorious Eliza program of the early 1970s. This is a huge risk, since we will always be tempted to ask more of them than they were designed to accomplish, and to trust the results when we shouldn’t.

(2) Use it or lose it. As we become ever more dependent on these cognitive prostheses, we risk becoming helpless if they ever shut down. The Internet is not an intelligent agent (well, in some ways it is) but we have nevertheless become so dependent on it that were it to crash, panic would set in and we could destroy society in a few days. That’s an event we should bend our efforts to averting now, because it could happen any day.

This first is the notion that we as humans have a tendency to anthropomorphize things, to give them a life and intelligence that they essentially do not have; to animate and humanize things, objects, and processes that are neither human nor remotely caring of what humans are or think about emotions, behaviors, intentions, etc. And, second, Dennett fears that if we forget how to use our brains as environmental adaptive systems that have been hard-wired over the eons to perform specific functions in regards to our working with the environment that we may lose those specific functions that are not hard-wired in the brain, but are rather culturally transmitted and learned through generational techniques of memory and performance (i.e., ritual and mimesis among other techniques).

What Scott is referring too is that we are severing ourselves from both of these conceptual relations with mind and learning, and replacing them with a dependence on technical mediators and machinic agents to do the work we once did ourselves (i.e., allowing the machines to do our thinking for us; as well as dismembering our need to use our brains for the menial environmental tasks of performative knowledge transmission: memory storage off-loaded into machines, rather than in our brains, etc.).

For Scott we are in the process of demolishing the pre-established harmonies between biological systems that have been part of the evolutionary heritage of millions of years of hard earned biological engineering we term the evolutionary process. And in our time we are relinquishing this natural heritage and entering into a new artificial heritage that is severing our roots in biological systems altogether.

But I wonder if this process is at all new? Haven’t we since developing language, writing, and other external storage systems: data storage devices from the use of clay, papyrus, paper, micro-film, disk-storage, up to current use of atomic inscription, etc. been slowly evolving external systems of mind and knowledge for thousands of years? Is this at all something new? Or, is it rather that end point of a curve that started millennia ago? I’d suggest that we are entering a final mutation and transformation that started thousands of years ago rather than something that has evolved into a sudden disruption of the artificial/natural divide. I would even wonder if we have ever truly been natural at all? Much rather haven’t we always been the one creature on this planet that has never had a harmonious presence in Nature? Haven’t we always been at odds with our environment due to our inadequate need for clothing and protection from the elements unlike most other natural organisms? Have we ever been natural?

As Walter J. Ong said years ago: “In a writing or print culture, the text physically bonds whatever it contains and makes it possible to retrieve any kind of organization of thought as a whole. In primary oral cultures, where there is no text, the narrative serves to bond thought more massively and permanently than other genres.”1 We know that there are two forms in which cultures have transmitted their knowledge: 1) ritual and per formative art; and, writing or other graphic, iconic, or other material symbolic transmissions. This is nothing new.

We also know that various cultures have either produced open or closed forms of knowledge transmission, some based of elite and controlled transmission and others on more democratic and open forms. Books like Paul Connerton’s How Societies Remember the details of such systems.

In some ways it comes down to how we organize information in societies. At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order—or information—disappears. Yet, we’ve developed systems that allow effective systems to be built that fight the entropic dissolution of order or information depletion. We know that one of the central cores of civilization’s growth was the data storage device we all use: the Library or Archive. Such repositories extend back to various civilizations. And, as stated above, it always came down to how these civilizations used these repositories and organized the information in them that promoted this battle against disorder and entropy. As the Roman civilization crumbled the Catholic Church would accumulate and transmit the treatises it deemed worthy of inscription and transmission through its vase library storage systems. Yet, it used a system that was both elitist and secretive in most ways, containing knowledge in a dead language of Latin while the populace of the realms spoke in vernacular languages and did not learn of these works. Only later did certain of the Latin scholars working among themselves slowly uncover and begin to vernacularize such knowledge. I want go into details.

So in this sense the slow awakening and democratization of knowledge which was given to all the people opened the door onto learning and memory that had been closed off since the days of Rome and Greece during the Renaissance. In our time the age of print is coming to an end. With such libraries and institutions of physical storage themselves slowly fading away as new electronic and digital storage systems migrate the vast storehouse of information and texts from print to digitalization. Many in our culture see this as both a threat and an error. Humanists and old school liberal educators deplore the effects of this new medium of digitalization of life and memory.

 Plus we have barely discerned the need to understand this new medium and the glut of information into vast data-enclaves which humans no longer have much control over. This Big Data world will be prone to abuse at the hands of commercial and governmental organizations is just beginning to surface as we remember the Snowden Affair. Yet, my concern is that we have no back up source of information storage that might keep that knowledge more permanent and not depend on electricity. If the electric grids of the planet went down this new digital environment would be brought down in a short time and with it the accumulated knowledge of many civilizations. This to me is a global concern.

The other aspect is the per formative knowledge that can never be put into digital form: the ritual practices of various cultural memory that have never been part of the written or oral record, but have been maintained in mimetic and other physical forms across thousands of years of iterative practice. What of these?

In his recent book Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human David Roden speaking of Stelarc’s notions of extending intelligence beyond the Earth he tells us these performances decouple the body from its ecology and from the empathic responses of observers – even when dangling from skin hooks over a city street, Stelarc never appears as suffering or abject. They register the body’s potential for “off world” environments rather than its actual functional involvements with our technological landscape. Space colonization is not a current use-value or industrial application, but a project for our planned obsolescence:

The terrestrial body will be obsolete from the moment a certain sub-population feels compelled to launch itself into an impossible, unthinkable future of space colonization. To say that the obsolescence of the body is produced is to say that it is compelled. To say that it is compelled is to say that it is “driven by desire” rather than by need or utility.2

As Roden will remark the “basis of our interest in becoming posthuman is not our formal responsibility to current or future members of our species; any attempt to account for the posthuman is a necessarily irresponsible risk to the integrity of the species”. (ibid.) What he’s saying is much the same as Scott, that we are disconnecting the hard-wired biological systems that have governed our evolutionary heritage for thousands of years, the “integrity of the species” is at stake.

As we disconnect from both our biological systems and our capacity to know and learn, and allow either a migration into external artificial agents, else an external agent take-over of thought and reasoning, allowing these AI systems to make decisions for us ubiquitously one must ask: What are we giving up for such conveniences? Are we giving up our humanity? If we become so dependent on external memory systems and integral AI decisioning systems to do our thinking and selection for us what will we become? How is this effecting our own cognitive ecology? Will we devolve into systems of stupidity? We may still have the ability to use and retrieve data, but will we become more machine like in the process: more automaton than human, versed in the latest technologies of search and selection, but unable to reason on these processes? Will we follow the gradient curve of laziness, allow the machines to think for us and accept only what is given to us and trust its ability to make the call, the decisions that we are no longer willing or able any longer to make for ourselves? Will we give up our ability to think and reason altogether?

Will most of our intelligence be pre-processed for us outside our control by algorithmic agents and self-learning mechanisms, agents that will have control over the selection, sorting, retrieval, collation, and processing of archival knowledge we have access too; while making the decision whether we have the coded access to this level of information? What are the legal ramifications? Will knowledge be totally commercialized to the point that one will pay for research access through a corporate account? Will all knowledge and power be bound to certain corporate and governmental control? Will we no longer be free to investigate and learn on our own, but be depended on pre-selected information gathered, collated, analyzed, composed, and served up to us as knowledge without or consent or control? Will we become slaves of machinic intelligence by design and ubiquity without ever realizing that this is what is happening before it is too late? Will these non-intentional, not-conscious systems and algorithms become our agents of tyranny without even knowing their own role in this enslavement? Will the rule of Code become our next invisible dictatorship? Our lives coded and reprogrammed to serve these new ubiquitous commercial research and learning regimes? Will we become so enamored of our toys that we will give up our remaining freedoms to the systems of knowledge and power that we’ve invested so much desire in? Or, will our children become so normalized to this native world of artificiality that a cultural amnesia will set in when such institutions as Libraries and freedom to explore on our own becomes a relic of the past? Will our children and their children grow up in technological enclaves and not even realize that their parents once roamed the wild lands of knowledge?

If we are beginning to decouple our biological systems from the environment that has constrained our thinking and being from the beginning of our evolution what will this mean? Are we entering dangerous territory by dissolving the core relation between environment and knowledge? If the ubiquitous Infosphere becomes our new environment, an artificial environment based on knowledge systems that are hidden in every object so that our dependency on this environment mixes the signals that have been hard-wired into our biological systems what effect will this entail? When I read about AI, Smart Cities, Big Data, and all the other intelligent agents that are become so much a part of our economic, political, social, and spiritual heritage what does this mean for us if we disconnect from the natural in mold ourselves to this new artificial world? What if we wake up and our children have become so normalized to this new Infosphere of ubiquitous computing that they will never know that there was a natural order outside the realm of information? Or we ready for such a brave new world?

  1. Ong, Walter J. (2007-03-16). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (New Accents) (p. 139). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.
  2. Roden, David (2014-10-10). Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (Kindle Locations 4331-4334). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Shanghai, Modernity, and Speed: The Future of Metropolis

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Enda Duffy in The Speed Handbook tells us that modernity brought about a series of new human-scaled and immediately vastly popular technological inventions of the beginning of the twentieth century, centrally and most importantly the motorcar, offered to masses of people that rarest of things: a wholly new experience, the experience of moving at what appeared to be great speeds, and the sensation of controlling that movement.1 The modern city would give birth to the road, the boulevard, the speed-zone of linear geometry, world where machines could roam at will but humans must fear to tread.

Anna Greenspan in her book on Shanghai’s future Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade reminds us that the modern vision of the ‘Contemporary City’ is not tied to any particular place and time. Instead, it is produced on an empty, abstract plain. It is precisely this abstraction that makes the modern metropolis continually futuristic. Its time, writes Robert Fishman, was ‘the time of the present, not any calendar day or year, but that revolutionary ‘here and now where the hopes of the present are finally realized’. ‘It is called contemporary,’ Le Corbusier insists, ‘because tomorrow belongs to nobody.’  In much of the world the Contemporary City may be a relic, but in Shanghai dreams of the future metropolis live on.2

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Kevin Kelley’s Optimistic Take on AI and Cloud Computing; and, the Dark Side Fights Back

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Reading Kevin Kelley is always like taking a trip down fantasy lane, a utopian future full of electronic gadgets, goo-gaws, and fantastic wonders that usually forget the mistakes of the past, a wild ride into an optimistic world of the Jetsons unhinged – a retro-futurism of the pure instant. Was reading his essay on Watson AI and its mutation into a Cloud computing environment where his estimation is actually truncated and mundane for once:

The AI on the horizon looks more like Amazon Web Services—cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness running behind everything, and almost invisible except when it blinks off. This common utility will serve you as much IQ as you want but no more than you need. Like all utilities, AI will be supremely boring, even as it transforms the Internet, the global economy, and civilization. It will enliven inert objects, much as electricity did more than a century ago. Everything that we formerly electrified we will now cognitize. This new utilitarian AI will also augment us individually as people (deepening our memory, speeding our recognition) and collectively as a species. (Read: Three Breakthroughs… )

Where there is optimism can pessimism be far behind?

Samuel Butler in his anti-utopian or dystopian work Erewhon once said: “There is no security against the ultimate development of mechanical consciousness, in the fact of machines possessing little consciousness now. A jellyfish has not much consciousness. Reflect upon the extraordinary advance which machines have made during the last few hundred years, and note how slowly the animal and vegetable kingdoms are advancing. The more highly organized machines are creatures not so much of yesterday, as of the last five minutes, so to speak, in comparison with past time.” Hundreds if not thousands of SF novels, short stories, and essays have been written about such fantastic worlds full of helpful and harmful agents, as well both Utopian and monstrous visions of AI dystopias.

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World Markets: Spoofing – AI and the Control of the Markets and Civilization?

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As if the Oligarchs and their economic minions were not getting rich enough the Hedge Fund Global Piracy of the Markets continues to manipulate stocks to steal as much as they can using high-speed trading. Neil Gough reports on the suspension of Citadel, a U.S. Hedge Fund whose account was suspended among others that were not released as public information. NY Time’s article by Neil Gough on a crackdown on U.S. Hedge Fund’s Accounts being Suspended in China we discover corruption and manipulation due to high-speed trading algorithms using a criminal form known as spoofing part of the Dodd-Frank reforms after 2014:

The China Securities Regulatory Commission, which has in recent weeks pledged to crack down on “malicious” short-sellers and market manipulators, appears to be expanding its scrutiny to other types of trading.

By the time markets closed on Monday, the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges had announced suspensions for more than 10 additional accounts, bringing the total number of targeted accounts to more than 30.

Spoofing “has the effect of boosting or pushing down the market, and during the recent period of market volatility the impact of this has been amplified,” Zhang Xiaojun, a spokesman for the regulator, said Friday in a statement on the agency’s website. Mr. Zhang was speaking generally about program trading and did not identify the accounts that had been suspended.

Of course algorithmic trading has been around for a long while now. Algorithmic trading, also called algo trading, encompasses trading systems that are heavily reliant on mathematical and computer programs to determine trading strategies. These strategies use electronic platforms to enter trading orders with an algorithm which executes pre-programmed trading instructions accounting for a variety of variables such as timing, price, and volume. Algorithmic trading is widely used by investment banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and other buy-side (investor-driven) institutional traders, to divide large trades into several smaller trades to manage market impact and risk.

Algorithmic trading may be used in any investment strategy or trading strategy, including market making, inter-market spreading, arbitrage, or pure speculation (including trend following). The investment decision and implementation may be augmented at any stage with algorithmic support or may operate completely automatically.

What is spoofing?

One strategy that some traders have employed, which has been proscribed yet likely continues, is called spoofing. It is the act of placing orders to give the impression of wanting to buy or sell shares, without ever having the intention of letting the order execute to temporarily manipulate the market to buy or sell shares at a more favorable price. This is done by creating limit orders outside the current bid or ask price to change the reported price to other market participants. The trader can subsequently place trades based on the artificial change in price, then canceling the limit orders before they are executed.

Suppose a trader desires to sell shares of a company with a current bid of $20 and a current ask of $20.20. The trader would place a buy order at $20.10, still some distance from the ask so it will not be executed, and the $20.10 bid is reported as the National Best Bid and Offer best bid price. The trader then executes a market order for the sale of the shares they wished to sell. Because the best bid price is the investor’s artificial bid, a market maker fills the sale order at $20.10, allowing for a $.10 higher sale price per share. The trader subsequently cancels their limit order on the purchase he never had the intention of completing.

Recently, HFT (High-frequency trading), which comprises a broad set of buy-side as well as market making sell side traders, has become more prominent and controversial. These algorithms or techniques are commonly given names such as “Stealth” (developed by the Deutsche Bank), “Iceberg”, “Dagger”, “Guerrilla”, “Sniper”, “BASOR” (developed by Quod Financial) and “Sniffer”. Dark pools are alternative trading systems that are private in nature–and thus do not interact with public order flow–and seek instead to provide undisplayed liquidity to large blocks of securities. In dark pools trading takes place anonymously, with most orders hidden or “iceberged.” Gamers or “sharks” sniff out large orders by “pinging” small market orders to buy and sell. When several small orders are filled the sharks may have discovered the presence of a large iceberged order.

“Now it’s an arms race,” said Andrew Lo, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Financial Engineering. “Everyone is building more sophisticated algorithms, and the more competition exists, the smaller the profits.”

AI and the Hedge Fund Wars?

One wonders if this is after all a private capitalist initiative to bankrupt China by rogue Hedge Fund enterprises, or is it rather Economic War of the first order: a Western Bloc Economic War against the Chinese Markets? Is this the form WWIII will take? A cyberwar against all competitors the West deems worth reigning in and controlling through code? As author Scott Patterson, speaking of the speed-trade debacle a few years back tells us the “Flash Crash was a clarion call about the dangerously fragile plumbing of the market. With trading spread out among more than fifty venues, a third of it taking place in the dark, all maintained by twitchy phantom liquidity providers and cheetah-fast scalpers turbocharged on AI, the market many once believed was the most sophisticated in the world had crumpled in minutes like a house of straw”.1

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Jimmy Carter: U.S. Officially an ‘Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery’

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The 39th president said the ‘Citizens United v. FEC’ ruling ‘violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system.’ – Jimmy Carter

Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United.

Read via Intercept:

Transcript:

HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?

CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.

Shanghai’s Retro-Futures: The Demise of Progress in a Progressive Age

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Shanghai is a city hungry for the future. To get a taste, head to the heights of the financial district in Pudong’s Lujiazui. At dusk, the view from the ninety-first floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center is fantastically alien. Outside the enormous windows, the metropolis stretches out like an off-world fantasy; a film apparition of a science-fiction city.

– Anna Greenspan,   Shanghai Future

Reading Anna Greenspan’s Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade which is a great introduction not only to Shanghai, but to the underpinnings of our current malaise regarding the future itself (here she speaks of the old World Fairs of previous eras):

Today, in the developed world at least, this progressive optimism strikes many as archaic, absurd and shockingly naïve. It is not so much that GM’s vision of the 1960s is outmoded— after all the Futurama pavilion foreshadowed the immensely transformative US interstate highway system, which was built under Eisenhower in the mid-1950s, a couple of decades after it was first presented at the World Fair. Rather, it is the spirit of futurism itself that seems so remarkably out of date. The progressive presumptions embodied by Futurama induce— together with images of jetpacks and robot maids— a wistful, tragi-comic nostalgia for a future that never arrived. Autogyros, in particular, seem to taunt us as a broken promise. ‘Where are the flying cars?’ ask writers disappointed by the dreams left unfulfilled.  ‘A rich legacy of failed predictions has accumulated over a century (or more) of science fiction, futurology and popular expectations of progress, covering topics from space colonization, undersea cities, extravagant urban designs, advanced transportation systems, humanoid domestic robots and ray-guns, to jumpsuit clothing and meal pills,’  writes Nick Land in his blog on Shanghai time.  This apparent gap between what is and what we once thought might be has left us wracked with doubt about the world to come. ‘We don’t have the same relation to progress as we used to,’ claims author Michael Specter. ‘We talk about it ambivalently. We talk about it with ironic little quotes around it—“ progress”.’  In our cynical, postmodern age, ‘retro-futurism’ is the only form of futurism that survives.1

Greenspan will offer a reading of temporality as well: From Marxism ‘with its quasi-millenarian elements’, to the utopian visions of the City of Tomorrow, modernity, and the futurism it invokes, still largely expresses this same conception of time. Today, Pope Gregory’s calendric reforms have become the basis for an unchallenged time marker that has spread across the world and the Gregorian calendar is now considered to be the (almost) undisputed calendar of globalization. ‘It is an intriguing and ineluctable paradox of globalized modernity,’ continues Land in a blog post entitled ‘Calendric Dominion’, ‘that its approximation to universality remains fundamentally structured by ethno-geographical peculiarities of a distinctly pre-modern type’.  A culture’s rhythms, history and aspirations are rooted in their calendars. This is why calendars have always been so important to both rulers and revolutionary groups. Calendars are the surest means through which a culture can separate itself both from their immediate past and from their existing surroundings. Thus, calendric change has frequently been recognized as a culture’s first and most crucial step in establishing their autonomy and solidifying their traditions. As author William Burroughs noted, if you want to change a culture, you have to change its calendar. (pp. xv-xvi).

Western Civilization is bound to an eschatological time-consciousness, a progressive understanding of a time encoded with both a beginning and an end that has been enormously influential and its impact is still felt today. (p. xvi) When many liberals opined that history had come to an end after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989 this illusion of progressive time with its sense of an impending linear arrow reaching some limit point or zero absolute of closure surfaced. Yet, with all things this, too, passed, and time once again started up its inexorable engine of progress and moved onward as capitalism took on the imperial horizon of an even greater expansion and capture of the total surface of the planet for profit. As Greenspan reports it:

Western culture has thus been exceedingly effective at coding modern time with its own cultural narratives. It has been terrifically successful at branding modernity its own. Indeed, many of China’s most enthusiastic modernisers— from the intelligentsia of the May Fourth movement, through the Marxist revolutionaries, to the technocratic planners of today— have largely accepted this narrative, advocating that China rid itself of its backward traditions and adopt a forward-looking chronology. (p. xvi).

Yet, it is against this eschatology of history and time that China’s premier city of commerce and modernity, Shanghai that seems to waver on the horizon of another temporality, one more conducive to its own sense of destiny and possibility. As Greenspan tells us:

Shanghai futurism ultimately depends on breaking free from this now common assumption about the nature of time. It senses in contemporary Shanghai the possibility of an altogether different future that is not relative but rather real and absolute. This absolute futurism does not belong to linear history. It is not a temporal destination that can be defined relationally. Rather, the absolute future exists today precisely as it has existed before, as an atemporal presence, a virtual realm that ‘infuses the present retroactively with its effects’.  Viewed in this manner, Shanghai’s recollection of yesterday’s modernity is not being driven by a compulsion to repeat. Rather, the city is attempting to reanimate a lost futurism that is just as unpredictable today as it was in the past. What will ultimately emerge is impossible to predict, plan or project, since, by definition, it is utterly unforeseen. We do not yet know what China’s most future-oriented city will be like or what future this city will create. (pp. xvi-xvii).

This sense of an absolute time, absolute future: a timeless present that ‘infuses the present retroactively with its effects’ sounds much like Zizek’s concept of absolute recoil: ” … there is another more subtle retroactivity involved here: an act is abyssal not in the sense that it is not grounded in reasons, but in the circular sense that it retroactively posits its reasons. A truly autonomous symbolic act or intervention never occurs as the result of strategic calculation, as I go through all possible reasons and then choose the most appropriate course of action. An act is autonomous not when it applies a preexisting norm but when it creates a norm in the very act of applying it.”9 This is to situate time outside the arrow of linear equations, outside the capitalist mode of progress, and seek a sense of time as virtual potential, as possibility to be retroactively posited not by some recursion to a Platonic Ideal or Idea, but as the movement of something that does not pre-exist its advent: a new event or act that realizes itself in the very movement of its emergence in the present as part of the contradictory manifest world of conflict and happening. A future as open possibility that never recedes into the abyss of linear bookkeeping.

Maybe it’s this retroactive act of temporal realignment, a potential virtual movement that brings with it the lost future out of the unpredictable real of the past: an impossible that can not be predicated nor planned, but is that strange beast of time – something utterly new and open, the actual future itself as possibility. Is this something at last that we can hope in? An event that opens up the possibility of time and the future as retroactive act? A future that is always emerging out of its on virtual potential of absolute possibility, a present that is both in and out of time – a ‘time out of joint’ (PK Dick) that presents us with that monstrosity of life itself as newness? May we say with Nietzsche that this time of no-time, atemporal movement is Dionysian time – a time that is at once present and untimely? A bubbling spring that continually renews itself out of its own virtual sea of potentiality? Time as absolute acceleration, a time that as Guattari and Deleuze would have affirmed as – total deterritorialization of the pure limit of time itself?  Is this not the true break out, the break through of schiz-time out of the eschatological circle of Western time as Progress? The End of Progress and the Progressive world-view that has held us in its hypnotic gaze for two-hundred years?

Shall we construct a new Calendar together? Absolve ourselves of Western time, of Gregorian time as linear progress, as an arrow going toward some eschatological infinity? Shall we finally free ourselves of that theological and Platonic terminus of Time?

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Predator Nation: American Exceptionalism and the Global Imperium

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In recent years, the United States has pioneered the development of the most advanced killing machines on the planet. In the process, we have turned much of the rest of the planet into what can only be considered an American free-fire zone. We have, in short, established a remarkably expansive set of drone-war rules for the global future.

Naturally, we trust ourselves with such rules, but there is a fly in the ointment, even as the droniacs see it. Others far less sagacious, kindly, lawful, and good than we are do exist on this planet and they may soon have their own fleets of drones. At the time of Brennan’s speech, about fifty countries were already buying or developing such robotic aircraft, including Russia, China, and Iran. And who knows what terror groups are looking into suicide drones?

As the Washington Post’s David Ignatius put it in a column about that speech: “What if the Chinese deployed drones to protect their workers in southern Sudan against rebels who have killed them in past attacks? What if Iran used them against Kurdish separatists they regard as terrorists? What if Russia used them over Chechnya? What position would the United States take, and wouldn’t it be hypocritical if it opposed drone attacks by other nations that face ‘imminent’ or ‘significant’ threats?” This is Washington’s global drone conundrum as seen from inside the Beltway. These are the nightmarish scenarios even our leaders can imagine others producing with their own drones and our rules.

A deeply embedded sense of American exceptionalism, a powerful belief in their own special, self-evident goodness, however, conveniently blinds them to what they are doing right now. Looking in the mirror, they are incapable of seeing a mask of death. And yet our proudest export at present may be a stone-cold robotic killer with a name straight out of a horror movie. The “shining drones” launched on campaigns of assassination and slaughter are increasingly the “face” that we choose to present to the world, even as the president, with his “kill list” and his meetings to pick those who are to die, has quite literally become the country’s assassin in chief. And yet it’s beyond us why such a reality might not shine for others. In fact, what we increasingly look like to those others is a Predator nation. And not just to the parents and relatives of the more than 160 children the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has documented as having died in US drone strikes in Pakistan.

War is now the only game in town. As for peace, to the managers of our national security state, it’s neither a word worth mentioning nor an imaginable condition. In truth, our leaders should be in mourning for whatever peaceful dreams we ever had. But mention drones and they light up. They’re having a love affair with those machines. They just can’t get enough of them or imagine their world or ours without them. What they can’t see in the haze of exceptional self-congratulation is this: they are transforming the promise of America into a promise of death. And death, visited from the skies, isn’t precise. It isn’t glorious. It isn’t judicious. It certainly isn’t a shining vision. It’s hell. And it’s a global future for which, someday, no one will thank us.1


1. Engelhardt, Tom (2014-09-15). Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (Kindle Locations 2103-2127). Haymarket Books. Kindle Edition.

John Weeks On Greece: A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy

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John Weeks has an excellent article on OpenDemocracy siteA spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of democracy. In this essay he clearly shows that Troika has no intentions of sponsoring any real substantive economic bailout for Greece. In fact many of its members of Troika have set the new and belligerent neo-reactionary tone:

In pursuit of setting “the EU’s political agenda”, Mr Tusk cemented his right-wing credentials by stating publicly that “I am really afraid of this ideological or political contagion, not financial contagion, of this Greek crisis”. Lest anyone miss his point, the former Polish prime minister went on to say that his concern was caused by the “radical leftist illusion that you can build some alternative” to the EU’s neoliberal economic model.

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On Jean Baudrillard’s Pataphysics

Joseph Nechvatal has a great intro to one of the earliest works of Jean Baudrillard on Pataphysics! A small text of 15 pages by Baudrillard, but of interest to those who can understand how modernism still lives on within simulation…

Hyper-Noise Aesthetics

14pp., 15 x 30.5 cm., deckle-edged handmade paper wrappers, Pédale 133 letterpress-printed on handmade paper. Translated by Simon Watson Taylor. 177 numbered copies. 44 numbered copies, signed by the author, unavailable 111 copies, numbered 45 to 155, unavailable  ISBN 1 900565 27 7 14pp., 15 x 30.5 cm., deckle-edged handmade paper wrappers, Pédale 133 letterpress-printed on handmade paper. Translated by Simon Watson Taylor. 177 numbered copies. 44 numbered copies, signed by the author, unavailable 111 copies, numbered 45 to 155, unavailable ISBN 1 900565 27 7

On
Jean Baudrillard
Pataphysics
London: Institute of Pataphysics and Atlas Press

The cultural philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s birthday is on July 27th and I thought it might be worthwhile to review his very first text, one that is relatively unknown to the general public. Many in the art world are familiar at least with ideas from his seminal 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation where he mulls over Marshall Mcluhan’s observations on art and media in relation to the simulacra with such gems as, “There is not only an implosion of the message in the medium, there is, in the same movement, the implosion of the medium itself in…

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