Sublimity, Scale, Smallness

“But what if we were to combine such ideas by giving control over to the residents and surrounding communities. Well then I believe that the ideas of developing resilient, utopian communities becomes a very real possibility. Big is sublime, but those within can construct the small is beautiful ethos that shapes truly resilient communities”[1]. Maybe, maybe not. My earlier ruminations on the combinatory potential of brutalist planning with decentralised localised control suggested a premonitory ability for grand visions to mix (rather than collide) with residential or municipal ambitions. To create spontaneity from planning. Of course this is entirely possible in the built environment but then what isn’t. The problems that were faced by housing developments built in 1950s/60s Britain are no fault of the architectural principles (no matter how utopian they were) but instead a consequence of governmental mismanagement that, in a similar way to my quasi-utopian advocacy, advocated that if you built it everybody would be happy to self-regulate. Continue reading

Postscript on Libertarian Subject Users

While posthuman diagrammatic fields certainly a-centre the individual as the primary vector for socio-economic intercursive flows, it does not necessarily destroy the individual or eliminate the importance of individual articulation. While logistical logics presuppose an omnipolitan “hyperconcentration”[1] of circumferential users and institutions that do not cohere on a centre, but instead exist along a continuum of complex adaptation and entropic decay, logisticality[2] suggests a combinatory form of individual that can cohere dividual parts into differential structures depending on context and position, producing coping mechanisms for this entropic decay. While intercursive flows cut through with increasing speed, to such an extent that their perception is blurred at best and almost hostile at worst, there are potentials to resituate the individual subject users in areas of context. Continue reading

Fields of Potentiality: Part 3 – Patchwork and Institutional Oceanography

We can see through 5th generation warfare and meta-perspectival lenses, the human as central actor may well be subsumed to alternative ontological frameworks that emphasise alternative users. As I’ve argued with regards to institutions attempting to map the conversational nexuses of modernity[1], the increasing levels of linguistic output and by extension linguistic heat create clinamenetic stirrings that go beyond modern institution’s boundaries, thereby increasing the informational complexity beyond their capability to manage. And in cohering new institutions, these may move beyond the human subject-user as its central focus, going into new technological and posthuman perspectival worlds that are below and beyond human comprehension. In mapping this, it would not be cartographic, mapping geography and landscape, but rather an oceanography of alternative codes and semiotics, where the new lifeworlds are below the surface of our view, deep in the inky black of posthuman nexuses. Continue reading

Fields of Potentiality: Part 2 – Posthuman Developments and Flows

The evolutions of capitalist organisation have been along dividual lines, as both market developments and corporate forms become singular and combinatory in their nature and relations. New addresses have formed that constitute different methods of organisation beyond current institutional methods of measurement. The initial organisation of capitalism and markets was premised initially upon the centrality of private property and individual ownership. Individuals traded wares in markets and exchanged ownership of goods for money or some other equivalent. They would occasionally form firms so as to better organise their resources and increase their efficiency and productivity by limiting the market’s effects through internal transfers and contracts that organised production with the aim of producing whole products from initially fragmented parts. Continue reading

Fields of Potentiality: Part 1 – Posthuman Subjects and Dividual Lines

The development of institutional and conversational maps to understand the prevailing discourses and powers in societies tend to produce themselves around a human subject and its collective scales. It is centred around the individual as the indivisible being, that which is unique and dissimilar from its combinations of emotional, cultural and institutional shaping that form a persona. However new configurations and concatenations are developing that resituate being and the individual in new contexts, a-centring them and introducing new users and entities. They are neither “individual parts nor…an imagined whole…community”[1], but rather heterogeneous collections of addressable elements and flows of intercursive knowledge and resources. This then goes beyond a simple cartography of institutions and sovereign claims, going instead to deeper, darker recesses of posthuman existences that bring into question human centrality, and develop methods of alterity and potentiality beyond existing maps. Continue reading

Electoral Fragmentation: A European Village

An interesting article published in Zeit Online presents a full map of European electoral decisions analysing the most recent European election results across EU member states, ranging from municipal to national elections[1]. This map presents the full gamut of European fragmentation, split not just regionally but also non-contiguously as populist political parties that come from multiple ideological angles are able to win in different electoral swaths. The transformation of Lega Nord from a separatist party to a generic Italian populist party that is able to (partially) govern Italy and from there question EU edicts and attempt to create new European factions is a primary example of this European fragmentation brought about by populist parties. Continue reading

Conversational Maps

The hardening of modern political discourse and its dichotomous elements (establishment vs the people, remain vs leave, left vs right) suggest that our modern political institutions are unable to map the conversational nexus that increasingly fragments and recombines before it. The arenas of political discourse are discohered as their foundational axioms are themselves brought to question, turned upside down as alien norms that no longer structure our social institutions. “The rules are now part of the divisions themselves and thus no longer represent a structured, binding worldview. Axioms are being liquefied and institutions don’t have an answer to it”[1]. Continue reading

Amazon as a Vector

“Platforms act as both springboards for alterity and the means for monopolisation. They increase exit amongst the platform owners in some senses, and amongst the users in others”[1]. They are hubs for communication and vectors for different forms of socio-economic organisation. If we view history as a series of Kondratiev waves (50-60 year developments of techno-social evolution) or epochal sequences (as defined by Mumford as the period of technics), our current period can be described as the “Age of Informations and Telecommunication”[2] or the intertechnic period[3] respectively. Much as the neotechnic phase of production that Mumford identified sat between the eotechnic and paleotechnic forms, in the intertechnic the power of e-commerce, internet communicatory networks and social media sit between monopolistic tendencies and decentralist modes, with Amazon as a particular vector of this intertechnic phase. This phase is not some cliff-edge, but rather a representation of the ambiguity of internet structures (platforms, marketplaces, multimedia, etc.) that both have decentralising means and tendencies and have individual organisations in this ecology that attempt to control the flows and methods of these tendencies. Thus questions of antitrust, economic organisation and what our institutions should do and will be come to be primary. Continue reading

Battlegrounds of Axioms and Totalities

The realities and codes of modern politics as a series of negotiations and compromises between political actors over distributional, international and regulatory affairs are giving way to something more viscous and difficult to map. The codifications of politics as a delineation of ideological variation between competing but generally set groups whose ideas were known through manifestos and negotiated through shared axioms are now being de-codified as situations are becoming more and more complex, eating away at these institutional capacities to cope. The axioms that were before set in place through loose constitutional frameworks and arenas for debate (parliaments, congresses and ballot boxes) are now becoming battlegrounds and fissures where difference gives way to disconnection and insularity, and where the totality of politics that was previously found in negotiated strategies is now found in singular issues and neo-tribal forms. Continue reading

Patchwork as Real World Vectors

This is the transcript of the talk I gave for the Wyrd Patchworkshop Quattro –

I define patchwork as the adaptation and fragmentation of institutional structures through the processes of exit and voice. In this sense patchwork can be seen in multiple real-world vectors where developments are creating institutional complexification and blurring the lines of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Spontaneous disorder, the overload of socio-economic information, is accelerating financial and logistical matters beyond direct control and thus altering and de-codifying the decentralised plans that Hayek described as integral to markets. These restructuring dynamics are part of what I would call our intertechnic period of socio-economic-technological capacities and apparatuses which gives precedence to communication, inter-operability and speed. Continue reading