Category: Culture


Wired Magazine just published an article on social media, assembly, and dissidence. Way late to the game but a nice read none the less. We should be thinking about what comes next.

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In the first 18-month phase of the program, the Pentagon wants researchers to study how stories infiltrate social networks and alter our brain circuits. One of the stipulated research goals: to “explore the function narratives serve in the process of political radicalization and how they can influence a person or group’s choice of means (such as indiscriminate violence) to achieve political ends.”

H+ article Propaganda 2.0 and the rise of ‘narrative networks’ highlights new DARPA concept of narrative network control.  By manipulating flows and feeds of information, DARPA is attempting to influence the force of news narratives in ways which  designate thematic and semantic influence to precisely control reader responses–to achieve political ends.

Narratives and meanings which constitute our quotidian world view (reality) are now under threat of neurological stimuli/response management.  In this scenario, information narratives (of the world around us) become paired with neurological and technological reorientations of meaning as seen fit by control society, thus opening up new ways of managing behavioral outcomes and perceptions of (information) society.  Our narrative reflexivity with the world around us is sectioned off and stretched into spaces of predetermined outcome.  Baudrillard talks about this already occurring, but now neurology of perception is employed as a new legitimizing force of narrative/info feed control.

“The greater part of the world’s troubles are due to questions of grammar.” (Montaigne)

 

Protocol. Perhaps one dimension of the aesthetic appeal of the mechanical is in the ‘purity’ of the interleaving of dynamisms — the quality of being a kind of ‘moving’ and even ‘living’ diagram that excites certain sensitivities. Each machine is already a manifold network of various configuration-spaces (involving significant mechanical, environmental, logical factors, etc.) — its singular and intricate behavior produced ‘simply’ by becoming activated and operated. I ask: how was it possible to lay out a common plane where signs and objects, code and data and things and people could all participate ‘democratically”?

 

Everything unfolds as though some master plan were pre-existent, as though the very organization of society, language and thought itself implicitly support a certain orientation, a certain set of virtual borderlines and existential territories establishing a kind of plane of consistency. The capitalist mode of production engenders the conditions for a radical destruction of the consistency of classical plans in place of a generalized decoding of flows; that is to say, flows of words, devices, actions, passions, people, all swept up into a decoded ‘polyvocity’, a collective elocution of a machinic assemblage complete with black holes and lines of flight, bursting with fractal islands of knowledge and complexity. The network illuminates.

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The New Age Demanded

The age demanded an image

Of its accelerated grimace,

Something for the modern stage,

Not, at any rate, an Attic grace

 . . .

The “age demanded” chiefly a mould in plaster,

Made with no loss of time,

A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster

Or the “sculpture” of rhyme.

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This second Video Vortex Reader marks the transition of online video into the mainstream. Staggering statistics of hypergrowth no longer impress us. Discussing a possible online video project for the first time in late 2006 in Melbourne with Seth Keen, the topic was still a matter of ‘becoming’. One collaborative research project, six conferences and two anthologies later, the Video Vortex project seems at a crossroads. Massive usage is not an indication of relevance. Heavy use does not automatically translate into well-funded research or critical art practices. Is the study of online video, like most new media topics, doomed to remain a niche activity – or will we see a conceptual quantum leap, in line with the billions of clips watched daily? So far, there is no evidence of a dialectical turn from quantity into quality. It is remarkable how quickly both pundits and cultural elites became used to online video libraries containing millions of mini-films. In our ‘whatever’ culture nothing seems to surprise us. Who cares about the internet? Continuous technological revolution, from social networking to smartphones, seems to have numbed us down. B-S-B: Boredom-Surprise-Boredom. Instead of an explosion of the collective imaginary we witness digital disillusion – a possible reason why online theory has had a somewhat unspectacular start. The low quality of YouTube’s most popular videos certainly indicates that this platform is not a hotbed of innovative aesthetics.

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Seth Price’s Dispersion

Dispersion by Seth Prince

“Distributed media can be defined as social information circulatingin theoretically unlimited quantities in the common market,stored or accessed via portable devices such as booksand magazines, records and compact discs, videotapes andDVDs, personal computers and data diskettes. Duchamp’squestion has new life in this space, which has greatlyexpanded during the last few decades of global corporatesprawl. It’s space into which the work of art must projectitself lest it be outdistanced entirely by these corporate interests.New strategies are needed to keep up with commercialdistribution, decentralization, and dispersion. You must fightsomething in order to understand it.”

 

sourced for the New Museum’s exhibit Free

 


 

The Network Architecture Lab is an experimental unit at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation that embraces the studio and the seminar as venues for architectural analysis and speculation, exploring new forms of research through architecture, text, new media design, film production and environment design. Specifically, the Network Architecture Lab investigates the impact of telecommunications, digital technology, and changing social demographics on architecture and urbanism.

Netlab’s Network Culture project explores networks not merely as a technology with social ramifications, but as a cultural dominant that unites change in society, economy, aesthetics, and ideology.  Just as the machine made modern industrialization possible and also acted as a model for a rationalized, compartmentalized modern society while the programmable computer served the same role for the flexible socioeconomic milieu of postmodernism, today the network not only connects the world, it reconfigures our relationship to it. We argue that many of the key tenets of culture since the Enlightenment: the subject, the novel, the public sphere, are being radically reshaped.

An important dynamic of a Network Culture within a metropolitan space is the transportation of bodies–particularly the commute.  In dense urban life involves with (mobile) technology in efficient and smooth integrations.  As Alexis Madrigal points out, “car time is wasted time, but commuting time doesn’t have to be. Look at well-heeled Silicon Valley companies. They offer their employees cushy, WiFi-enabled buses for commuting. That first hour of the day, Apple and Google employees are banging out emails and getting ready for the day, not sitting in traffic carrying out a set of repetitive, low-level, and occasionally dangerous tasks to maneuver their exoskeletons southward.”  This implies a new sort of movement that will simultaneously nurture and create the new type of human possible in a network culture.  I am not speaking on the use or dangers of this quite yet.  The latest network to overspread our country — the wireless electromagnetic one — is just not fully compatible with driving, at least for human brains.  We cannot pilot a vehicle and text with our fingers–the brain becomes unfocused.  “You can listen to Howard Stern in a car [on your commute]; you can run your business from a train or bus’s wi-fi network.  What new sort of human is possible?

The physical displacement performed by an individual on a reoccurring basis; commute, occupies the blurred territories of home and transportation. A transition of not only body but mind. Each mode of transportation in the urban environment is connected to a specific set of displacement criteria, offering its own unique environment through which one moves.  Variability of speed, flexibility, and exposure generate different scales of connectivity to these environments and the occupants within. Experiential connectivity calibrates the different moments of motion, pause, and stop in order to expand connection to one another at a multiplicity of scales from the intimate routine to the urban commute.

Netlab seems to investigate how space is reconfigured by/reconfiguring our relationship between technology and bodies.  As the contemporary city evolves, the ways in which it stimulates the human pysche and body transforms as well.

The program Simultaneous Environments experiments with representation and the real.  Our public presence becomes increasing augmented as we assimilate into technology–reshaping and reveling new relationships with material objects, places, and people we encounter while “jacked in” to a screen amidst a wireless landscape.  The real and th virtual begin to merge and transform into a new concept of space.  Simultaneous Environments “documents the invisible structures produced by data exposes moments of individual absurdity, public anonymity, false security, and collective behaviors of isolation while also underscoring the ethereal environments that increasingly surround us.”

Netlab’s program Core iii situates information (network) society into practacle navigations of space and living.

 

Video Lectures:

Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know as decided by NetLingo, the internet dictionary.

Four loko has received more attention from its recent ban than it has in the five years its been sold.  With this new publicity sales have paradoxically increased.  Four Loko is flourishing from its demise.

I’ve collected images from social networking sites that demonstrate how american culture is dealing with the loss of Loko by making it a commodity fetish (object) and communal phenomenon.  Loko is receiving particular hype/mourning on the internet.

blue rasberry triangles

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