Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Response or Thoughts about Nick's post

One thing that I started to think about in regards to Nick’s blog post (one’s physical presence versus the virtual presence of an individual on the internet), was the role of the archive in the virtual. For me, there seems to be two distinction of processes that are happening – the act of ‘becoming’ versus the status of being-present. I make this particular distinction because of its relationship between past and present and the status of the two within the virtual.

If we think about our activity or participation on the internet and the virtual as continual moments of becoming or reproduction, where the present is never really actualized, but always becoming, then after each of these ‘becomings,’ it points to the openness of the virtual, in terms of its ability to “only irrupt and then recede, leaving only traces behind it, but traces that are virtually able to regenerate a reality gangrened by its reduction to a closed set of possibilities.”

The trace, especially its relation to the past, is particularly interesting to think about in the context of Nick’s post, where your Internet presence still remains, regardless if you do in the physical. The past has ceased to be active, but has not ceased to exist. The past is alongside the moments of presents, where the space beyond the possible lies in the virtual.

Can we think about Nick’s blog post in terms of the relationship between past and present and the openness of the virtual?

This leads me to question the role of these moments of becoming and its relation to the channel and code. Although Terranova seems to argue that there is no longer any "outside" to capital (that everything is always already subsumed into the capitalist network), what is the status of these moments? Although ‘becoming’ is not situated outside capital, in a way the potential or probability for each ‘becoming’ seems to relate to the opening up of virtuality with the potential for radically other codes and channels for expressing and giving expression to an undetermined potential for change” (26)

But again, it is important for Terranova that these politics of information are not radical alternatives that “springs out of a negativity to confront a monolithic social technology of power…[but] rather a positive feedback effect of informational cultures as such” (27).

So where do we go from here? I immediately make the connection to the language of tactical media, an infiltration of the mass media through tactics such as culture jamming or ‘hit-and-run techniques’. Can we begin to this of these possibilities in its deployment of tactical media?

The multitude-

Terranova somewhat briefly mentions the potential and influence of the ‘multitude’ in network societies. The formation of the multitude, which is defined by “fluidity of movement and by the formations that such fluidity leaves behind as a kind of after-effect” (similar to the traces left behind in the virtual?), functions within new modes of power and organization in relation to networks. For Terranova, free labor, including the labor associated with the emergence of a ‘multitude’ are not based on ‘the selfish’ gene, going against notions of free market competition or the logic of capitalist exchange, but something else. I wish that she had further discussed the relation between the multitude and the network.

An aside: I began thinking about the position that the virtual takes up in relation to the possible and real. The opposition of the virtual does not seem to be to the real, but rather to the possible (or the actual in a Deleuzian sense). Terranova argues that there is a shift from the real and the possible to the relation between the real and the virtual, something that Terranova seems as essential to the cultural politics of information.

I am still trying to work through a lot of the ideas that Terranova is presenting so I apologize for the scatter-brained nature of this post.


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