[-empyre-] RE: noiseless art (from Johannes Birringer)

Message from Johannes:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@brunel.ac.uk>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 01:16:16 -0000
Subject: RE: [-empyre-] noiseless art
Good morning.

My images were not allowed to be sent to you. i Iwas asked by the Empyre to build a website and send you there, i shall, instead, seek to steal an island in Second Life and upload various still and moving images and some sounds and voices there, and perhaps you will find them.

In fact, that's precisely one important point that is beeing examined
in the current debate, the confrontation of the impact of technology
(mechanical) on culture as Benjamin  described it in the 1930's, and
the impact of technology (digital) on culture as we are all
experiencing in contemporary cyberdreaming societies.>>

I will return to the dream (of a better life) and to Hamed's first
questions later.

Regarding the impact of technology on culture and behavior, i shall refer to conversations I had with a composer friend, as we were working on a small opera about blindness. We could not quite agree on the function or the place of the digital materials and interactive processes in the composition, but later we had all sorts of debates on interactivity which still resonate with me.

The main critique against the discourse of "digital interactivity" was
the lack of "content". Interactivity doesn't emerge from the use of a
particurlar technology, Chagas argued, but as an embodiment of the
creation process. The paradigm of "interactivity", in his opinion, is
the "chamber music".  Vilem Flusser talks about it in his book "Ins
Universum der Technischen Bilder (1985)." From the point of view of
the system, philosophers like Niklas Luhmann have argued, there is no
"interactivity" between humans and there cannot exist any
interactivity between humans and machines, because they operate in
different domains, which are operationally closed for each other.
Interactivity is a Being-in-the-World and not an ensemble of devices
or patches that we put together. Interactivity is a form of
synchronization of systems, which cannot distinguish between
perception and communication, and therefore they cannot communicate.
There is no possible communication between a human being and a
computer; only the system can communicate.  The main issue of current
artistic creation, Chagas suggests, is how to shape a dialogue process
between different kinds of systems; processes in which the different
systems operate as partners and not in a hierarchical structure.

This may indicate the need for political and ethical reflection in the
new theories of digital phenomenology and data flow environments, the
new ideals of "noiseless art", as Sérgio has called the cybernetic
paradigm aiming at a world of perfect informational flux (world
without noise). "Interactivity" is mostly interpreted as a synonym of
computer calculation and justified as projection for the future of
user-machine interfaces.

I think that power structures these days are rather obsessed with containing hacker noise. I can't find the quote but I think CAE wrote something to effect that hacking in "research" settings is essential to technological progress but that if that activity becomes threatening (hence loud) to the established order, it is made illegal.

Rather than hacker noise, I was thinking of the artists in Beirut who were hearing the sound of war again (see last post). That sound of the missiles and rockets hitting buildings and human bodies is what is not heard in the digital future that Noiseless implies?

"I might project scenarios which contradict my anticipation of a
telematic society, for example a nuclear war or a rebellion in the
Third World; or, somewhat more subtle, the dissolution of a very
complex and therefore fragile system as a dialogical society must be;
and I can also project a scenario in which the repressed physicality
in a telematic society rises up against its cybernetic disembodiment,
leading to a bestiality never before imagined" (Flusser 1985: 174).

I have not read Flusser much.  My composer friend thought that F. was
prophetic. "Since the 9/11 attacks against the Empire, technology
development has been focused on security against the global threat of
terrorism. As it turns out, it doesn't protect us at all. Worse than
that, it accelerates the capability of self-destruction. One just has
to look at the powerful disintegration of the US social system after
the natural catastrophe of the hurricane Katrina. This was only a
small partial disintegration, but it shows very clearly how fast the
system can collapse. We also notice the development of robots and
uninhabited vehicles for replacing bodies in military conflicts."

[insert: picture: mars,jpeg (courtesy of satellite) of Mars landscape unpopulated, but showing traces of Exploration Rover]

"There is a strong tendency to make the body invisible through the development of technologies that are supposed to protect us from physical destruction. The suicide bombers from Baghdad and Gaza Strip also create a dimension of "invisibility" when their bodies are used as weapons for life destruction and material damage. This kind of invisibility is justified by the belief in the superiority of a particular religion or divine revelation. The former is justified by the belief in the superiority of the technology that can make our bodies unattainable for our enemies, because the body disappears behind the computer systems. Both invisibilities are motivated by the same kind of operations. And this is our problem." [Paulo Chagas, http://interaktionslabor.de/lab/vis.htm]

Postscript (from the news, Oct. 26, 2006) Mars Rover Beginning To Hate Mars : Unmanned Vehicle 'Bored Out Of Its Mind'

PASADENA, CA?NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists overseeing the
ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission said Monday that the Spirit's
latest transmissions could indicate a growing resentment of the Red

"Spirit has been displaying some anomalous behavior," said Project
Manager John Callas, who noted the rover's unsuccessful attempts to
flip itself over and otherwise damage its scientific instruments. "And
the thousand or so daily messages of 'STILL NO WATER' really point to
a crisis of purpose."   [...]

Johannes Birringer
dap lab, london

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.