Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vanishing Networks

From a talk I'll be giving in Cambridge (UK) later this month. Oddly enough I will be giving another talk in Cambridge at the Anglia Ruskin Fast/Slow event this week

Equally critical to visual culture is the invisibility of network architectures. Already in 1993, the year the Mosaic browser launched the Web as mass medium, Critical Art Ensemble were warning that corporations had adopted rhizomatic (and nomadic) constitutions. Heterotopia is the geography of Google and Nike. Precarious post-Fordist labour is only one of the prices we pay for this. The struggle for new network architectures is part of the sad story of standardisation which has become increasingly entrenched in the digital media. The panoply of engineering, governance and standards bodies engaged in electronic and telecommunications industries is a strange tangle, but it is both the oldest and arguably the only functioning model we have of global governance. Under their sway, the majority of machines can talk to other machines, at speeds that baffle human comprehension – we have only to think of the role of automated trading in the 2007/8 crash. We have moved from vanishing points to vanishing instants, and from there to vanishing networks, each of which falls under an increasingly ubiquitous and increasingly stable family of standards organised around the classic modernist figure of the grid. It seems rash to argue that we are 'post' anything.

1 comment:

Ive Skins said...

POST itself has become a method defined in the HTTP/1.1 standards. ;)