Sunday, January 13, 2013

Theodicy of Communication

In a talk at the Digital Aesthetic 3 exhibition in Preston, Peter Campus, speaking of the emergence of what Lévi-Strauss would call pensée sauvage, suggested that the world of primal mediation is hell.

Underlying this perception is the principle that mediation is indeed primary, and that communication is a special case of mediation. Mediation belongs to the concept that everything mediates: that mediating one thing to another is the nature of reality, the essential connectivity of everything. Communication builds out of mediation the nodes which we then learn to see as subjects and objects, as senders, messages, channels and receivers.

Mediation, the intimate ecology of everything, had to be ripped apart to constitute communication. Communication is thus at a first moment the means by which domination and expropriation are secured. At the same time, however, communication makes explicit, precisely by separating, the interdependence of people, but to the exclusion of things, of the environing world (techné and physis.

As automation expands from the factory (organisation of humans and ancestral intelligence) to the internet of things, it strives to complete the universality of the commodity form and probabilistic management of populations. But the vast statistical warehouse of indifferent data begins to yield to the specificity – irreducible and im-mense (unmeasurable) – of the anecdote: the reconnection of the riven parts, the new mediation – peer-to-peer no longer as property of population but as crowd, as particles aligned in the magnetic field of their shared and mutual desire.

Against the immanence of primal mediation, the emergent mediation has learnt from the disconnect of communication the absence of the object of desire. It is now that something more which the commodity always evoked in its false promise of satisfaction, but freed from its bogus anchorage in commodity exchange.

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