Saturday, May 19, 2007

Against identity

In the post-spectacular regime of code, identity is no longer cultural, anchored to a place and to common memories of shared actions. Events, as Karl =Krauss once observed, no longer occur: the clichés operate spontaneously. Today we need to understand cliché as code, and perhaps more disturbingly as statistical aggregate and actuarial likelihood.

Nonetheless national, regional and local cultures persist, but ossified as institutions and institutional histories. Between the poles of indigenous and migrant, and consumer and producer, sits the citizen, who has today become a client, as the state, stripped of those infrastructural elements that might turn a profit, meanders towards the role of service industry for the immiserated. The new client is the aggregate person in whom the calculus of economic rationality has been superceded by the mathematics of probability.

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