wade tillett on Wed, 6 Mar 2002 00:56:24 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The War Between the Two Technologies


> one odd thing in the juxtaposition of the mechanical and the
electronic/electrical is that they are not, as far as i know, mutually
exlusive. (bc (human@electronetwork.org))

-This sums up the crux of the crisis we are encountering. In fact, the
economies, laws, morals, etc. (the power structure) are based on this
binary. One is allowed free speech, not free action. One is allowed
freedom of belief, but not freedom to act on those beliefs. One is
encouraged to have an individual mind, but is prohibited from constructing
individual space.

Said another way, the old stratagem of containing actual mechanical action
by creating an electrical utopia of freedom (free speech, etc.- a utopia
that is in fact constructed within a mechanical structure in order to
subvert/delay/plan bodily power and action), is no longer tenable. As the
electrical/mechanical language/action converge, the binaries of the
structure come to look absurd, and whats worse, expose the real limits of
the mechanically-constructed electric utopia.

For example, look at the DeCSS case. With code, language becomes action.
There is suddenly a problem: is code language, free speech, belonging
within the confines of the electric utopia, or is code an action that
redefines the mechanical (political) bounds of the electric. Code has the
potential to self-configure an environment, individual and autonomous.
Code potentially escapes its own boundaries by redefining them. Language
is no longer purely electrical. Action is no longer purely mechanical.

And what really shakes the structure is that it is now possible to see
that the binary never was pure, it has ALWAYS been an enforced division.
What was relegated to exceptional grey areas becomes apparent as the norm.
This is the problem for the structure of power, no longer does language
operate within the mechanical confines. There is therefore an overwhelming
(political) desire to force it back within them: to control access, to
force identification, to require a finitude (via copyright/sssca/etc.).
But the problem is that the mechanical limits of the electric utopia are
apparent, and imploding.

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