[-empyre-] rehearsal of a network - [week 2]

Ricardo Rene Dominguez rrd54 at cornell.edu
Tue Jun 12 23:37:51 AEST 2018

Hola Tod at xs,

I have been learning a great deal from the gestures and conversations this month. And thanks Shulea for inviting me to participate.

Rehearsing Networks of E-contagion (the Shrooms Next Door), or from Cold War Universities to War on Terror Universities

rehearse (v.)

c. 1300, "to give an account of," from Anglo-French rehearser, Old French rehercier (12c.) "to go over again, repeat," literally "to rake over, turn over" (soil, ground), from re- "again" (see re-<https://www.etymonline.com/word/re-?ref=etymonline_crossreference>) + hercier "to drag, trail (on the ground), be dragged along the ground; rake, harrow (land); rip, tear, wound; repeat, rehearse;" from herse "a harrow" (see hearse<https://www.etymonline.com/word/hearse?ref=etymonline_crossreference> (n.)). Meaning "to say over again, repeat what has already been said or written" is from mid-14c. in English; sense of "practice a play, part, etc." is from 1570s. Related: Rehearsed; rehearsing.

#Repeat #ToKnow

Electronic Disturbance Theater has always already been rehearsing the re-harrowing of the digital grounds towards a practice of coming to know. Then repeat. This process is one of networks being on repeat cycles that are unbound and rebound to networks that prepare the soil and wounds for something that will always be a rehearsal. A post-mycelium production that is never fully known and can never be fully staged and presented.

Rehearsals build on rehearsals that are not strategic (the gaining of fully structured performances that no longer need rehearsing) vs. tactical gestures that seed networks for more rehearsals to come without any final performance on the horizon.


About a month ago I was invited to do a “Tactical Poetics” workshop for a wide area academic and research communities at Cornell University, where I am a Society for the Humanities fellow this year and the theme for the groups general research was on “corruption.” In order to prepare for the workshop I sent out email asking those who would attending what were the current concerns they would like to focus on? The majority sent back notes saying they wanted to consider what could be done to stop networks like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica from data scrapping and using the data for the micro-management of elections and its use of emotion contagion or affective political channeling.

As I started to think about what tactical gestures could be staged or what past tactical actions could be touched on to help the gathered communities rehearse the question, “What is to be done or could be done to counter these data-capturing networks” After a bit of counter-toiling the question. I did some ungrounding the local soil and to find the wounds at home.

The concerns of those network-things beyond was residing and were being rehearsed right at here at home. Cornell was part of the DOD (Department of Defense) research trajectory named Minerva since 2009 that used Facebook as a testing ground and collected the data:

“The DoD’s initiative is currently funding another study at Cornell, called Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions. This study will examine the “tipping point” in social media conversations surrounding four recent global events — the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests.

Cornell’s role in the 2012 mood manipulation study is still unclear, though a statement released by the University Monday said neither Hancock nor then-university affiliated researcher Jamie Guillory, who was involved in the study, had direct access to the collection of private data.” (Or did they?)



Cornell stated in 2014 that because of ethical breaches the studies would stop and so would the DOD funding. But of course it has not. Minerva is still listed here:

Research - Cornell University<http://sdl.soc.cornell.edu/research.php>


We study the interplay between network topology and the dynamics of social interaction, using computational models, data from on-line networks, and laboratory experiments with human participants.

Rehearsing networks of e-contagion marks a shift in the networks of knowledge production from Cold War Universities to War on Terror Universities. Just as the Cold War university was constructed in what was named a ‘strategic alliance’ between scientists and the military after World War Two, today universities are being re-militarized and re-integrated into the national security state in order to serve the US government’s perpetual and unbounded ‘War on Terror.’ The War on Terror university is characterized by military and defense-contractor funding of research, the orientation of research and teaching to serving military, intelligence agency, and corporate goals surveillance of faculty and students, and repressive policing of campuses:

“The problem, then, was not whether some sub agent of massive government funding espoused problematic political designs. The danger lay in the monolithic source of funding — always federal, despite its different channels. The autonomy of science hinged upon the existence of multiple non-governmental funders and sponsors. Academia, much like the mythical market place, thrived when guided by an invisible hand.”

>From the “Minerva Controversy”:


Multiple networks are always being rehearsed and it is always good to not only eat local but see what poison shrooms are also being grown next door.

Next rehearsal network MAVEN.

From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Aviva Rahmani <ghostnets at ghostnets.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 8:53:14 AM
To: soft_skinned_space; shu lea cheang
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] rehearsal of a network - [week 2]

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