From technoscience and cyberculture edited by Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Martinsons, and Michael Menser. Routledge, New York and London. 1996.

On Cultural Studies, Science, and Technology by Michael Menser and Stanley Aronowitz.

Earth to Gore, Earth to Gore by Andrew Ross

Mapping Space: Imaging Technologies and the Planetary Body by Jody Berland

The Bomb's-Eye View by John Broughton

Markets and Antimarkets in the World Economy by Manuel De Landa

Technoscience and the Labor Process by William DiFazio

Boundary Violations by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Remarks on Narrative and Technology, or Poetry and Truth by Samuel R. Delany

The Question of Space by Lebbeus Woods

Becoming-Heterarch: On Technocultural Theory, Minor Science, and the Production of Space by Michael Menser




On Cultural Studies, Science, and Technology by Michael Menser and Stanley Aronowitz.

Technology shapes culture; science epistemologically grounds technology; science as an epistemology presupposes the technological; (techno)culture produces (techno)science; culture is always technological but not always scientific, and so on. (7)

We offer... an alternative to the binary of bio-physiological and cultural explanations of human events...(13)

For many in the U.S., the Internet and the building of the information superhighway may offer subversive, antihegemonic possibilities to computer users. This may allow a different sort of culture to emerge, one with values which are less commercial, antipanoptic, and procommunity. "hacker culture" has, to a degree, embodied this, and the relatively "free" flows of information generated by thte "Net" to date do offer some real possibilities for alternative social-informational arrangements not offered by other media (TV) or social institutions (schools). However, these countertendencies made possible by new technologies do not warrant the overly optimistic or utopian assessments offered by various technophiles. (14)

Technocultures do not employ technologies just for pragmatic reasons, but for social (or class) status and the "spectacular" effects that shape experience. (15)

Notions of community and "neighborhood" have drastically shifted such that what is physically near is -- in some contexts -- so easily overcome that it often bears no relation (is not a "neighbor") to us, or we bear less of a relation to it precisely or in spite of the fact (this is the complexity) that we are so (spatially) close. Thus, technology does not shrink all pace and time, but instead links-bypasses. The two are inseparable. Technological networks which establish new connections selectively accent or displace previous ones. (16)

Does paperlessness make reading a virtual experience? (20)


Citadels, Rhizomes, and String Figures by Emily Martin

[Comparing cybercommunities to rhizomic shapes] "Any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be. This is very different from the tree or root, which plots a point, fixes an order." (Deleuze, 103)

Rhizomic things "evolve by subterranean stems and flows, along river valleys or train tracks; [they] spread like a patch of oil." (Deleuze) This image might do well to capture the kind of discontinuous, fractured, and non-linear relationships between science and the rest of culture that Donna Haraway has given us. (103)


Earth to Gore, Earth to Gore by Andrew Ross

Gore's job is to supervise the Information Infrastructure Task Force, set up to provide legal guidelines on patent and copyright issues (how to break the hacker, shareware ethics), privacy issues (how to protect corporate property as well as personal data), and technical policies regarding the "compatibility" of networks (how to arrange marriages in heaven for the telecom giants). (118)

The White House's newfound e-mail capacity to transmit government reports, policy plans, and robo-responses presents an opportunity to make end runs around the established news organizations. Government propaganda can go directly to the people, unedited and uninterpreted by the media's fierce and fearless guardians of public knowledge. (120)


Mapping Space: Imaging Technologies and the Planetary Body by Jody Berland

[Satellite images are not maps,] they are in fact computer-generated or digital simulations of photographs, or to be more precise, virtual images digitally processed to look like photographs. (126)

We are looking at a new type of landscape literacy, in which the "modern" perspective of the human eye is rendered obsolete -- arguably turning Galileo's telescope, the first direct optical challenge to the combined rule of divine authority and common sense, backwards to view the earth, and so creating a radically new type of divine knowledge. (127)

The aestheticization of politics: Satellite views of the earth's surface show us not only the weather (if you are trained to read them) but also the following: this is one planet, one life, on world, one dream. This is the view of the globe from the eye of god.... This is the magic of a revitalized myth of origins addressing us personally from our television screens, entering the intimate domestic spaces and rituals of the everyday, but still in possession of all its mysterious, inaccessible, distant power. (129)

Their power to draw our gaze derives from their very ambiguity, the way these images oscillate with perfect majestic equivocation between sublime beauty and unseen powers of scrutiny and domination, the way they stand for, and between, a world in harmony and a world of smart, silent, desultory destruction and death. (135)


The Bomb's-Eye View by John Broughton

We commonly hear of "random" violence, "senseless" brutality, or the "madness" of war.... Nevertheless, violence -- however "antisocial" -- possesses no less meaning than any "social" act... From this point of view, the trajectories of munitions reinstate -- in however abstract, stereotyped, or dangerous a manner -- the desire for communicative contact. (146)


Markets and Antimarkets in the World Economy by Manuel De Landa

If one allows energy to flow in and out of a system, the number and type of possible historical outcomes greatly increases. Instead of a unique and simple equilibrium, we now have multiple ones of varying complexity... we need to know its exact history to understand its current dynamical form. (182)


Technoscience and the Labor Process by William DiFazio

Technological and scientific knowledge have become the principal productive forces in late-industrial societies. Not only has manual work been displaced, but skilled work has been displaced as well. (202)


Boundary Violations by Peter Lamborn Wilson

Knowledge itself can be seen as a kind of virus. On the psychological level, this perception mainfested recently as a panic about "computer viruses," and more generally about computer hacking -- boundary violations in cyberspace, so to speak. The government wants access to all computer cyphercodes in ordre to control the "Net" (Internet), which might otherwise spread everywhere, transmitting secrets, even secrets about "abuse" and kiddy porn -- as if the Net were a disease, rather than simply a free exchange of information. America's immune system can't take "too much knowing"; America must be "protected" from penetration by foreign chaos cabals of evil hackers. Borders must be imposed.

Cyberspace itself, however, involves a curious form of disembodiment, in which each participant becomes a perceptual monad, a concept rather than a physical presence. Cyberspace parodies the gnostic demand for transcendence of the body, which is literally "left behind" like a prison of meat as one enters the pleroma of conceptual space. Ultimately, one wishes to "download the consciousness" and achieve purity, cleanliness, immortality. Cyberspace proposes that life is not "in" the body, but in the spirit. And the spirit is... inviolate. (224)


Remarks on Narrative and Technology, or Poetry and Truth by Samuel R. Delany

As early as 1957, in his ground-breaking little book Syntactic Structures, Noam Chomsky showed that the "end-stopped" (really, just another name for a "tree-search") model of language was simply inadequate to generate all the well-formed sentences in a language. To counter this model, Chomsky produced the model of "deep grammar," where complex sentences were generated on the surface of layers of vertical development. In terms of current computers, that means a tree-search with a whole lot of loops, flags, go-tos, and recursive features. But the fact is that we still do not have computers that, in a free dialogue situation, can generate original sentences with the range and complexity your average six-year-old speaks easily. That suggests that even the deep grammar model is not adequate to language. (269-270)

"Grammar," even the most carefully constructed spoken grammar, as put together by the most careful linguists, is, in most actual speech situations, something that actual language aspires to, something that it approximates, but that actual language is always falling short of, rather than something that controls language in some masterful way. (270)

A grammar can never be a complete description of an actual language but must always be a reduction of it. One might go so far as to say: if you have a complete description of it, "it" is probably not a language at all but rather a much simpler communication object -- a code.... A grammar is not something that, on some ideal or Platonic level, is prior to language. (270)

Whenever we sit down to write a new text, we become involved, however blindly, in transforming the language into what it will become. (275)


The Question of Space by Lebbeus Woods

The justification for the suppression of violators of behavior proscribed for the occupation of designed space is clear enough. Social order must be maintained, so that individual freedom (which is largely the freedom to conform to social norms) can be maintained.... If... the "function of the space" is violated, and this violation is tolerated, it may set a precedent, become more widespread, threatening the whole mechanism of society. Anarchy. Chaos. It cannot be allowed. (280)

No matter how much is pumped in, through mass media or consumer culture, through academic discourse or political peroration [Lots of assonance, clicky spiffy, sticky in the brain, good catch phrases, good to toss around], it seems to fill the space less and less. [Are we exchanging time for space?] (283)

These developments [microchip, credit card, etc.] have resulted in a communications revolution that has flooded space not with human presence so much as raw data that is... indiscriminate and undifferentiated. (283)

The creation of cultural theme parks, whose purpose is the codification of an older order of authority as well as a lure to the masses now liberated by technology and market capital to become eternal tourists, digging and grubbing for roots, even among the remotest antiquities, who are never satisfied no matter how much they consume, is anathema to present conditions and potentials. (286) [Marshall McLuhan: cities will be extraneous because we'll base our exchange and communities on electronic media, and so the cities will be left preserved as oddities, like so many Williamsburgs.]

[Sounding a lot like the counterculture, anarchists of the Net] The Free-Zone in Berlin presents a new matrix of potentialites and possibilities. Build on the free dialogue of self-inventing individuals, nurtured by their continual spontaneity and play, the Free-Zone is a parallel culture by definition, parallel to one of conformity and predictability. But it will be tolerated only so long as it can remain hidden. It will survive in the new, commercialized center of Berlin only so long as its inhabitants maintain their wit and quickness, so long as they are free performers in a self-organizing and secret circus, a cybernetic circus. (288)


Becoming-Heterarch: On Technocultural Theory, Minor Science, and the Production of Space by Michael Menser

Technology's insertion into spaces and practices... warrant[s] the hybrid terms, "technoscience" and "cyberculture." These hybrids propose that the technosocial-cultural terrain and its objects are ontologically complex. Thus, there is nothing clearly and distinctly describable as science or culture or technology. If one adopts this position, all theories of "monoliths" or an "in-itself" become impossible, as does talk of all-encompassing totalities, unavoidable determinism and global-present universals. (294)

The state construct spaces which have a kind of gravitational effect, thereby making it the central organizational organism which attempts to regulate (not always successfully) the movements of persons and goods within and through its borders. These movements are made up of the motions of bodies moving from point to point in well-traveled, relatively rigid pathways. This 'laminar' motion requires a space that is segmented, broken up into distinct parts for motion and rest and regulates the size of the movements among these points. (298)

Surely televisual mass media, VCRs, video games, the proverbial "home entertainment center," and computer technologies have furthered the entrenchment of the privatized interiorization of the public sphere, and consecrated the position of architecture as the actualizer of the near "monadic" televisual dwelling. (300) [UNTIL architecture begins to work the components of the home entertainment center more and more into public spaces so that these televisual and electronic media are ubiquitous, in which case we revert to being nomadic, because we have the same access to the same media everywhere we go. "Home" is everywhere. This is already happening, with cellular phones, or with internet terminals set up in every NYU building; anywhere I go, I have a choice between connecting directly with my immediate spatial surroundings, connecting directly to my cyberspatial world, or giving half an ear [and it's an ear, not an eye -- note McLuhan with his 'print is visual' to both].

Aion, "the floating, nonpulsed time... of the pure event or of becoming which articulates relative speeds and slownesses independently of the chronometric or chronological values that time assumes in other modes." (301-302, quoting Deleuze)

Chronos is "clock time" and is as divisible as technolgies allow: from sundial to digital to atomic. Because it is incorporeal, the Aion is infinitely divisible, continuously folded and unfolded rather than metrically fractured (striated) and accumulated-counted. These two times are mutually exclusive, yet necessary. (314, again borrowing from Deleuze)

The assumption [of a British law allowing police to break up gatherings which look to become "raves"] is that, given a group of x amount of persons with certain, all-too-available technologies, smooth [non-laminar] space will be produced. In practice, "rave" technoculture has forged an assemblage with the squatter culture -- which is seemingly, nostalgically antitechnology -- largely because each was involved in the nomadic production of space, the irruptive event, a "Temporary Autonomous Zone" that escapingly flees the metric [like an Aion in space]. Although these events are not characterized by violence, there is a production of freespace culture that has been deemed offensive by the British "establishment." As [Lebbeus] Woods is engaged in the production of freespaces, the ravers and squatters demonstrate possible social organizations that are too irruptive and nomadic to ever "settle" into a stratified social formation. (304)

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