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<nettime> Information Cannot B[audrillard, etc]
David Teh on Tue, 21 Aug 2001 18:32:46 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Information Cannot B[audrillard, etc]


b more paranoid,
josh zeidner
wrote:

>  keywords: CYBERPOLITICS, CONSTRUCTIVISM, BAUDRILLARD
>  I agree with  you.  "Information" cannot be free, it is entirely on
>  the part of the subject to put it( data/messages ) in formation.  As 
>  Ritchie pointed out, there are any number of ways at percieving reality
>  ( constructivism ), but the proclimation "information wants to be free"
>  is one-sided, and fails to see the whole equation.

Baudrillard, sounding (incidentally) about as much like Foucault as he ever
would, <objectivity is a plot> reminds us that "scientificity is doubtless
only the space of " a discourse. (cf eg Foucault's Archaeology of
Knowledge).  So science's discourse is but the "political and strategic
speech", the veil of 'objectivity' cast over things - and it is "never
innocent".

> It seems to me that it is not "information" that people want to be
free, but rather the data or messages.  Implying that mediation is the >
imperative, a manifesto that has numerous critics (Baudrillard).

Information does not want to be free.  Information does not want.

Perhaps people do want messages to be free, but what would that mean?:
'free' as in Liberated  or  'free' as in You don't have to pay for it?  Is
there a difference any longer?  To liberate information is to make it
circulate, and things circulate best when you don't have to pay for them -
then you can be sure that you will move units.  Information need not be
freed, just made to circulate, redistributed.  We will watch it circulate.
That will be enough freedom for us.  [On these matters, see Baudrillard's
'Symbolic Exchange and Death' (1976), particularly Ch's 1&2...]

Information need only circulate.  Forget about production:
production = regulation; consumption = regulation

This circulation is what Baudrillard would call simply 'reproduction',
which we all know no longer needs to be predicated upon some prior
'production' - especially now that even *we* may be reproduced by this
same spontaneous reproduction of the code - to think we held this
fractal capacity in every cell, right from the start! For information,
the code, is apt to produce itself, to reproduce (by) itself.

not production, just reproduction. what need have we to produce
anything?  once we said: machines will do the work;  now: the code will
do the work. we can sit back, and start with the real work of
regulating, of making things circulate.  we make information circulate
without knowing or trying.

the market-research "focus group" is the exemplary form of
'(re)production' in our age.  no surprise that it is supposedly a place
where information is produced.  like the laboratory with its rats,
information is thought to be emitted (or 'generated') by this
'research'.  even rats are free if there is a bar for them to press.
stimulus/response : question/answer  -  a good riff on this is
radiohead/donwood's <airbag> EP, itself lab-rat white - and who's it
pitched at?  Baudrillard says Benjamin sensed this, but that
reproduction is no longer mechanical. (it is "structural" - not
'biocybernetic', as WJTMitchell argues); and no more exchange value, for
what would such value 'refer' to when there's no longer any
referentiality, only tactically orchestrated differences?

in the lab information is not just produced, it undergoes that (no
longer) miraculous transmutation, mere 'data' (dumb information) becomes
science i.e. marketable information.  and not just marketable, but
liable to change the world. The accidental heroism of information.
So too is science made to reproduce and circulate.  Every new mutation
is another patent, to be named, licenced in preparation for the next
forced mutation.

the scientist's idea, of course, is silenced, made dumb again.  but science
itself proliferates regardless [unto noise] scienctific knowledges may turn
out to be the best model for understanding the ineffable worthlessness of
information.  the sciences have long been bloated - "one trips over truths,
one even treads some to death - there are too many of them" [Nietzsche in
1888]

obscene concentrations of information will result in spontaneous
disintegration, the spontaneous combustion of the heap.  like the demise
of the publishing industry which, like pimps at the orgy of science, try
greedily to hoard this intellectual 'property', the apocalypse of
information will come not through any scarcity it tries to impose (in
the name of value, and production), but on the contrary, through the
over-production of information, through over-stimulation (hypertrophy) -
grotesquely bloated, the corporations will drown in their own value, and
that of their intellectual capital, the company bursting with its own
cleverness.  here comes one now [a word from our sponsors, Asera of San
Francisco <they do E-biz solutions... thanks to Matthew Fuller>]

<snip>
hey, hey!   from the starting blocks.
hey, hey!   asera rocks!
[verse two]
every day we invent our way
to our greatest goal.
we create, never hesitate,
always in control.
<snip>

as information --> infinty ; its value --> zero ; geek -->
footballer/soldier

[aside] incidentally, it will be the same for art as for science -
Jarry's 'National Department Store' of official painters, who are also
drowned in their own exchange value...

focus group - cross-section - 2-dimensional sample - polling

Baudrillard, quoting Sebeok's "Genetics and Semiotics":

"The Soviet mathematician Liapunov demonstrated in 1963 that every
living system transmits a small but precise quantity of energy or matter
containing a great volume of information through channels laid down in
advance.  This information is responsible for the subsequent control of
large quantities of energy and matter... [I]nformation appears in large
part to be the repetition of information..."

But a train is not much good to us anywhere but on the tracks.
Baudrillard now:

"Science explains things which have been defined and formalised in
advance and which subsequetly conform to these explanations, that's all
that 'objectivity' is."

Not exactly revolutionary for the mid-70s, of course.  And while his
attention (in this text and elsewhere) to the burgeoning
discourses/industries of information processing shows some pretty
astounding foresight, what's really most remarkable about this book is
his slick conflation, as one fertile metaphor, of  DNA  with  Binary
Information (under the auspices of the CODE).  Baudrillard manages to
tease out alarming similarities - not the least of which is a certain
CONTENT-LESS-NESS - which further tie these two CODEs to the other
vacuumed spaces of the once social: production; the polling obsession of
2-party democracy; illusory competition between corporations.

it's especially urgent now: binarity and digitality are a plot, and are
never innocent. like the WorldTradeCentre's twin towers, (each can only
be referred to its special 'other' which is identical to itself...this
enclosed referentiality is only play)
DUOpoly is MONOpoly that has figured out how to conceal the end of
competition.

campaigns for the freedom(s) of information will ultimately disappoint.

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