www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Mitchell++ {AT} aa - placing us into...
Kevin Hamilton on Thu, 20 Nov 2003 08:22:05 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Mitchell++ {AT} aa - placing us into...



Ugh. more tripe from "the architect." Somebody send in Neo. Thanks for  
the report, Alex.

It is unbelievable to me that Mitchell in his books maintains the old  
gnostic body-mind separation. We are social in his books only because  
we are users, not because we have bodies, and there is no recognition  
of the kind of ambiguity of self and body and people like Haraway have  
injected into the old avant-gardist polemics over the last 40 years.  
Thank god for feminist criticism, which finally got some face time for  
pointing out the universalizing tendencies of these kind of mappings of  
the material and informational world.

Like many of Wired Magazine's tired tirades, Mitchell's "e-topian"  
"critiques" take the form of hand-wringing in favor of linear progress,  
without raising any serious questions about the foundations of such  
analyses in anti-corporeal gnosticism. At least McLuhan acknowledged  
the mystical origins of his philosophy (student of Ong, a Jesuit), and  
was even of his time in that way. At least Marinetti acknowledged the  
violence inherent in such oppostions.

Mitchell's stuff is spectacular, and dangerous. In the end, I suspect  
it keeps body and mind separate for the same reasons Wired Magazine  
does - consumerism depends on it.




On Wednesday, November 19, 2003, at 04:15 AM, Alex Wilkie wrote:

>
> Bill++ Mitchell spoke at the aa (Architectural Association) last night.
> Presenting his new book 'Me++ : The Cyborg Self and the Networked City'
> to a 'prestigious' UK(?) audience. Hoping to get some 'urbanista'
> insights into how intermingling wireless telematics and
> corporeal-agency are being framed in the urban environment, I sat in
> the remote-video linked canteen with the kids - patiently tapping...
>
> Bill++'s deal is this: new technologies cause social fragmentation and
> dispersal. Centralized to decentralized social patterning (hard or soft
> technological determinism - you decide!) is taking place. Bill++s
> example: the domestic bath gravitated people from public corporeal
> cleansing to private...thus creating new urban conditions...
>
> The dispersed infrastructure of wireless networks is creating new
> fields, rather than points, of presence - communities for example can
> now have strong remote links. Portability is enabling resources to be
> accessed in these new fields of presence, however they also create
> fragmentation and re-combination. Where once computing and
> telecommunications was once attached to a specific place - think of
> telephone boxes - now places have become fluid and temporal due to
> portability. Thus a new layer (or layers?) of activity is being
> over-layed onto the urban environment. Where once buildings and
> structures framed activity, wireless networks are now seen as a key
> issue and resource for urban planning - opinion shared by recent Demos
> research (Harkin, J. Mobilisation. 2003).
>
> So, what do WE get? Well, we get a ROW attitude - a kind of: this is
> how we do it at the MIT and that's how we expect ROW to get it. New
> places - such as parks (what real function did they play anyway) - to
> find jobs, out of the panoptic gaze of the corporeal boss (forget sys
> admin track and trace here). New places - such as canteens (such as one
> I was tapping in...) to re-purpose as studio-work spaces (this should
> be done with a tablet pc by the way). And then...perhaps...dispersed
> forms of grassroots demonstration (he showed some well chosen
> googled-images here). And that was it. I was hoping Bill++ would
> provide some urbanista insights into political and ethical sites but
> grassroots was really it.
>
> Unfortunately sitting in the canteen I couldn't catch the drift of the
> questions and answerve session...
>
> What then, did I take away? Well, one thing is that the boundaries of
> subjectivity are not really being addressed. They are in terms of SRI
> style technological augmentation -body-technology dualism -  but not in
> terms bodies as sites and topologies of relational socio-technical
> assemblages. This then continues the opposition of corporeality and
> space-time - a background into which we are placed.......
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> -
> ----
> March, 1981
> Mr. Kenji Urada, 37, becomes the first reported death caused by a
> robot. A self-propelled robotic cart crushed him as he was trying to
> repair it in a Japanese factory.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
> -
> ----
>
> #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
> #  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
> #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
> #  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg  
> body
> #  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net
>

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net