Interpassive User: Complicity and the Returns of Cybernetics – Fibreculture Journal 25 (2015)
The essay explores the notions of “extension” and “prosthesis” as two different logics of being with technology. I trace the distinction between them to the work of McLuhan influenced by both Norbert Wiener and Buckminster Fuller. I argue that the logic of softwarization (Manovich, 2013) is similar to the logic of extension; while the logic of appification (IDC, 2010) is similar to that of prosthesis. The former is the logic of metonymy, while the latter is the logic of metaphor. I explain why such distinction is useful for reading mobile / social apps and the new practices they enable. I conclude by raising the questions about users’ enthusiasm and complicity within the bio-technological cybernetic assemblage.
On Governance, Blackboxing, Measure, Body, Affect and Apps. A conversation with Patricia Clough and Alexander R. Galloway – Fibreculture Journal 25 (2015)
The work of Patricia Ticineto Clough and Alexander Galloway is well known to anyone whose research concerns matters of affect and biopolitics, software, networks and gaming, interface culture and communication, political economy of media and information, the systems of measure and control addressed in the contexts of French theory, feminist and speculative thought, Marxism or psychoanalysis. We were lucky to have them among the keynotes for our Apps and Affect conference, where their talks sparked an interesting exchange that impacted a number of the conference conversations. Afterwards, I suggested to Patricia and Alex that they elaborate on aspects of their discussion, this invitation resulted in the following conversation, which took place via email between April and December 2014.
Cinema for A Missing People: Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal Image and Alexander Dovzhenko’s Zvenyhora – Harvard Ukrainian Studies 32-33, no. 1-4 (2015)
The essay discusses Dovzhenko’s 1928 film Zvenyhora, which Deleuze uses in a second book of Cinema to illustrate his notion of the crystal-image of time, the only film made before the WW2 among many examples of the time-image that Deleuze generously offers in this volume. I also read Zvenyhora as an instance of minor cinema, with all the potential of the minor attributed to it by Deleuze and Guattari in their work Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature and others text written separately and together.
The essay looks at the project “The Exceptional & The Everyday: 144 Hours in Kyiv” (2014) created by Lev Manovich and Software Studies Initiative team who collected and analyzed the Instagram data (images, location, tags) shared during the outbreak of extreme violence in the midst of the protests in Kyiv, better known as “Maidan,” in the end of February 2014. As Lisa Gitelman reminds us, “raw data is an oxymoron,” at least because it has “to be imagined as data to exist and function as such, and the imagination of data entails an interpretive base.” The researchers produced a series of image clusters, graphs and diagrams that visualize the topological relation between visual and non-visual data of a dataset. This essay reviews the findings of the project team by reading them alongside the reports and testimonies of the participants of the protest since the events on the ground are never disconnected from the user-generated stream of data—for better or worse. Online activity left material traces, generated and transmitted affects, messages, and noise; it enabled continuity but also produced disruptions of the communication flow and exchanges between protesters. The intensive use of social networks for coordination and information exchange makes a case for calling the revolution in Ukraine augmented. As Nathan Jurgenson defines the notion, an “augmented revolution” is part of “a larger conceptual perspective that views our reality as the byproduct of the enmeshing of the on and offline.” My goal is not to test the accuracy of representation of events by a dataset (which would be a wrong approach!); but rather, to think of data as an acting entity that contributes to the complex composition of the protest.