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<nettime> distribution=(re)production
David Teh on Thu, 23 Aug 2001 11:15:01 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> distribution=(re)production


there's a movement here from the molecular to the systematic level in 
Baudrillard's thinking.  ie reproduction, extrapolated from the micro-scape of 
the code, towards the macro-scape of (what was once called) political economy. i 
mention the word 'fractal' here to represent his 1970s intuition that the 
entirety of systems is often succinctly endorsed in each and (almost) every 
molecule. bad science or good literature? it's a leap he gave up making (or so 
some say) after this book.

Quoting wade tillett <super89 {AT} bigfoot.com>:
> Is not the biggest drawback of genetic design the fact that the
> organism produced lives, i.e. interacts with an environment and
> escapes control. That is, genetic design can only produce
> probabilities of interactions with environs, and must simultaneously
> control these environs. Genetic design fails not to design life, but
> fails in its assumption that life can be designed.

there will always be designed life, just as there will always be life that 
behaves and interacts unpredictably with environment. this doesn't mean it isn't 
being controlled.  control is not the handing down of a life-binding directive, 
it is the subtle coercion and inflection of quotidian trajectories, a thousand 
times per second. life is case-law, not statute. even unpredictable code-given 
beings are subject to this continuous mediation (assuming some degree of will/
ability/readiness).

can you elaborate a bit? i do not understand - why is interacting "escaping" 
control? i would've thought 'interactions', particularly those (like digital 
ones) that leave a trace, are the *pre-eminent* instances of being-controlled...
(which is why i mentioned Foucault)

a little quantum of unpredictability does not amount to a radical freedom.  our 
interactions are controlled all the time. those of Genetically Modified People 
will be all the more controllable, not because they *are* information, but 
because their information is recorded, held, and made to circulate by external 
but distributed powers. life is more legible. 

[cf. "the commodity is legible", For a Critique of the Political Economy of the 
Sign, c.1973]

so Baudrillard's 'code' bears not on the ontological or existential problems - 
but on the economic. same goes for his 'control'.

> Nanotech conforms much more easily to the
> life/matter = information equation than does genetic (re)production.
> Don't tell everyone theorizing about how life can be boiled down to a
> DNA molecule though... that would kill a whole landscape of
> life = genetics = information speculation.

Baudrillard wants to be Nietzsche, not Pythagorus. there is certainly too much of 
an older materialism around, that wants to mine the metaphor of life-as-(mere)-
information for its lightweight dystopian totalitarian ore. others are more 
interested in the code for the mode(l) of reproduction it announces, which is all 
the more potent for its weightlessness.

> The underlying argument of this (re)production thinking being that
> power lies in the control of (re)distribution rather than in the act of
> (re)production? Freedom  _within_  circulation?

isn't the point more that power is unecessary when all is re-production and re-
distribution? power administered the mode of production. something else will 
administer the mode of reproduction.  the good old days of repression or 
incitement are over. forget foucault. and forget "the act of (re)production" - 
(re)production is not an act <anti-oedipal sigh>, it is an operation.

a brave attempt to straddle these shifting modes (in the name of resuscitating 
Marxism from the corpse of post/non-Marxism) is Mark Poster's "mode of 
information" (c.1984 i think). 

dt




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