The second post reporting on work undertaken in the first months of 2009 is from a chapter for the Urban Screens collection forthcoming from NAi publishers.
While there are certainly reasons to continue developing alternative technologies, there is no need to abandon those we already have to hand. Since the late 19th century, a surprising variety of thinkers from Peirce to Zizek have argued that human beings have a tendency to react to the chaos of perception by creating a world of order: intellectual, mathematical, linguistic, conceptual, symbolic. This tendency can be described as a drive towards order. Drives, however are dangerous things. Unconstrained, hunger and sex can make people mad; and the drive to order is no different. At a personal extreme it becomes obsessive, and at a social extreme fascistic. Like the sex drive, it can twist into its violent opposite and become a rage for formlessness and destruction. But like both sex and hunger, it can also be sublimated. Paolo Virno (2008) suggests, using the case of language, that an instinct that might become destructive can be contained or in some sense healed by the application of a homeopathic principle: a little of the poison to cure the disease. This might well be the function of art: to provide that grain of ordering which cures our instinctive drive of its most terrifying extremism.