brian carroll on Mon, 16 Aug 1999 01:43:30 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> ae fragments/mumford

Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:06:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <>
To: brian carroll <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> ae fragments/mumford

I really like this - it's exciting. I tend to differentiate between
electrical and electronic; years ago, like many other people, I worked on
vacuum tube circuity and I've always been aware that there were/are three
configurations of the electric -

The early-mechanical - look at any text from say 1880-1905 - the images of
rheostats, circuit breakers, transformers, motors - only the lightbulb
contained the vacuum that opens up into the second configuration. Space in
this first configuration is that of mechanism, euclidean, 'practical.'

The vacuum - say 1910-1950 - use of vacuum tube technology, television,
radar, etc. - electrons moving through empty internalized space - I think
of this as organism, 'atomic.'

The electronic - 1950-on out - transistors through ICs, LSICs, VLSICs,
etc. - here's where computation begins and the space is topology, not
geometric - it's a question of point-to-point connectivity, layers. 

All of these are qualitatively different; the 'electric' of 1900 was not
the 'electric' of 1930, nor that of 1999. On the other hand the power grid
moves through all of these states, but the _control_ begins with the first
configuration, moves through the last. With the telephone, control is even
hand-control (human operators, etc. making connects for even local calls) 
at first... the rest come later - (And I can imagine a fourth configura-
tion - nanotech in combination with organic membranes, give it another
decade or so.) 

Alan - partial mirror at co-moderator
Cyberculture, Cybermind, Fiction of Philosophy (fop-l) 

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