[-empyre-] Tactical Intervention or digital revolution?

Simon SWHTaylor at zoho.com
Sat Feb 6 10:22:03 AEDT 2021

It was a link from last month's readinglists led me to Shoshana Zuboff's 
opinion piece in the NY Times: You can have surveillance society or you 
can have democracy but you can't have both ... [sorry, that's we] 

and I think she's right about the scale of change, that it's epistemic 
(if we think of episteme after Foucault). That it's a coup, or takeover, 
and whether it's really about surveillance, I'm not so sure.

I like that she calls it an information civilization we're heading 
toward, and her linking of post 9/11 (politicoaesthetic or imaginary) 
desire for absolute information transparency to the unregulated and 
unaccountable rise of ... what? Arturo Ui? ... A--automatic, automated 
and animate I-intelligence? (the three A's are from Greg Flaxman's work 
on the spiritual automaton of the cinematic eye)

She makes the link of knowledge to power, which is Foucault's; and that 
of capital to data: she also says data is agnostic to meaning or 
information--in this sense it is a raw material, like capital. But its 
power is as capital. Just as the power of science is from the 
aggregation of data. And I suppose this is the confusing bit, the bit 
about confusion.

It is the confusion of knowledge, information, technology and science. 
This goes as far as the episteme, then. Meaning, it goes further than a 
description or a change, or the description of a change, or the question 
of democracy, or the answer given by corpocracy. (which is the wishful 
takedown of democracy, given in the formula: Trump exists to discredit 
democracy. COVID-19 exists to discredit democracy)

... I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the thinking has already 
been done, objectively speaking, by the /science/ (in its confusion with 
technology, knowledge and information). The data does not lie. So just 
as capital /thinks/ the ISSO (Intra-Species Social Organisation 
problem--Eugene Holland) or the /elemental imperative/ (to which it is 
/answerable/ (Lingis)). Just as capital /thinks/ problems, including the 
problem of tactical intervention or digital revolution. How does /data/ 
think the problem?

Because this will be how power thinks the problem.
It will be how science thinks the problem.
It will be how technology and information think the problem.

How does /data/ think? the episteme?


On 6/02/21 9:57 am, Renate Ferro wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks to Alan, Tim, Domenico, Leo, Geert and Ben for sharing their posts thus far.  Our interrogation of tactics, strategies, utopias for immediate solutions and long-term utopias continues until Sunday when we introduce a new set of guests. I invite our guests and subscribers to post freely but it is clear we have the opposites of two extremes:  tactical intervention or digital revolution.
> Just to review where we are thus far, Ben pointed out that there are two important concerns to consider: surveillance systems built into online social platforms and the capitalistic profit algorithms that feed and grow social media companies. He proposed that many artists have used tactical media obfuscation interventions to challenge these conventions as well as general plug ins for consumer use like Go Rando and Not For You to name two.  Leo shared a net project from 2012, YouAreMe.net, and another URME Surveillance which seeks to manipulate the materials of identity.
> While Ben and Leo believe that obfuscation creates aesthetic/artistic information this alsoa allows the infestation of big data by proliferating noise which is likely to encourage critical discussion and engagement.
> Domenico responded: “The scale of what we are discussing is huge, considering the amount of people, billions, interested and influenced by our online day by day, everyday emotional scrollacoaster.”
> She posits a different approach: a call for emotional interrogation into vanity, ego and culture.  Is it not time to invest a bit into critical digital thinking? I think about this quite seriously myself especially with the recent news of US Senator Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rants of QAnon conspiracies that she learned about via Twitter and You Tube.  She consistently questioned school mass shootings and instead promoted the fact that they were staged by gun control activists, she openly endorsed Pelosi’s execution, among other outlandish beliefs.
> There is a never-ending spiral of this round robin of misinformation that reminds me of the kindergarten game we used to play called “telephone” where one person says something, whispers it to another, and as it goes around until the information gets shifted, expanded, blown out of proportion and context.  In the case of the current condition, lives are at stake, governments are in chaos, election systems are being questioned.
> Geert’s five-year proposition seems like the only alternative: abandon the past and start fresh, develop a culture of refusal, assert political pressure to break up the monopolies, build a public internet, ban the corporate, pave the way for the socialization of data centers and ocean cables, and subvert geo-political regions.
> This month we continue to consider algorithms, untruths, and insurrection and how an environment of cynicism, distrust, and distain has allowed communication and the network flows to organize, promulgate, and maneuver through the citizenry in real time.
> Looking forward,
> Renate
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
> -empyre- curatorial moderator
> https://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
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