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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium, part III, secti
Patrice Riemens on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:49:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium, part III, section 6 (concluded)

Dear Nettimers,

With this issue of Nettime's Facebook Aquarium 'feuilleton', we have
reached the end of part III, and of the book as well. This - I repeat',
Q&D, 'Quick & Dirty' - translation will now undergo a tedious process of
revision and editing, including a without doubt scathing censure by the
Ippolita collective ;-)

And I am going on holiday!

patrizio & Diiiinooos!
Groningen, August 25, 2014


Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part III

The Freedoms of the Net

Beyond technophobia: let's build convivial technologies together! (section
6, concluded)

Collaboration can progressively evolve into convivial technology, but only
in so far as it stops being part of the ongoing chatter, addresses a real
audience, and starts creating a shared space, a space that can be
developed both in an individual and in a collective sense [47]. If a space
succeeds in giving individuals a sense of fulfillment, then it might get
visited, shared, and used. Such a territory is a collective one, (it
represent a different system with regard to individuals. It is something
not existing before, a radical creation,  in the words of Castoriadis an
/imaginary institution/, directed by a /magmatic logic/ [48x]. To use a
convivial technology together (with other people) means to change, to
alter reality, to modify one's own reality, and even more generally, to
change the world around us.

In the group dynamics method(ology), the principal query, and at the same
time, the main issue, is about the extent and limits of the collective
[49]. All collaborative activities have their own ceilings which can be
formulated in /qualitative/, /quantitative/, and /time-bound ('temporal'
)/ fashion. Certain /qualitative/ limits are self-evident, since
collective work is undoubtedly not by definition conform to an
individual's expectations, those of the individual self as unfolding
(self-)development within a collective self. It is, in a certain sense,
less precise, as the perceptions of a single individual subject are not
the same as those of the collective subject. Both subjects are in a  stage
of coming-into-being, and require a continuous and controlled interplay
and exchange. This is why doing things alone is far easier and less
troublesome than doing the same in a group. To operate within a group is 
painful in so far that one has to renounce having the final word, and that
one has to know how to reconcile (the) various positions (in presence),
given the fact that one's own identity is under continuous re-assessment.
The individual has to entrust a piece of her/his own self-expression to
others. If sHe tries to keep control over everything sHe chokes the
collective and takes up a dominant role, something for which sHe will then
be endlessly blamed, even in those case where people end up agreeing with

It is essential to be exacting (in one's endeavours), but there is a ready
risk to become a 'guru', and then, imperceptibly, a faultfinder [or a
pundit ;-)]. Therefore it is essential to keep the (group dynamics) method
in mind as a positive limit, which limit will also be a /quantitative/ one
with respect to the time and the energy one can (sensibly) exert in a(ny
given) collective activity. And it will be even more difficult to achieve
harmony in a project  when there are large differences in the matter of
personal investment (commitment). Those who put in the most effort into a
project are subsequently unable to do more and to compensate for the
others' presumed or real failings. There are two causes, related yet
opposed, for this (state of affairs): the first is external, the second
internal to the person involved. The more one invest oneself (in a
project) the greater the risk other participants will get upset, since
this attitude thwarts diffuse autonomy; while on the other hand, the
individual is likely to take too much upon her/himself. SHe will then
demand some form of gratitude in exchange, was it only to compensate for
her/his frustrations ("I am doing all the work here" and "It won't happen
without me" are typical statements at that juncture). But the others will
be loath to grant it, in order to keep the collective running and not
debase their own personal contribution. So, seen from an economic
viewpoint, /to do more/ does not necessarily mean /to do better/:
collaboration demands that both its limits and the rules governing these
to be under continuous re-negotiation.

Pure, blind voluntarism is most often counter-productive. A sensible and
constructive imbalance creatively sliding towards disorder and the
unexpected often requires us to step back a little in order to better
distribute one's energies in favor of others. This is not altruism, but
simply sound strategy. Excessive imbalances should be avoided, just as
downward levelling: the rhythm of the participant(s) showing the least
enthusiasm and putting the least effort should not be followed. Tempering
enthusiasm often amounts to (impose) a conservative viewpoint, meaning an
already existing one, and this is seldom helpful (to overcome
difficulties). On the contrary, enthusiasm should be encouraged with
trust, yet trust must be balanced by a critical mindset, or with other
words, by reflexivity. Mutual efforts must have as aim to develop the
space of autonomy, but must be fuelled by fun, not by a feeling of duty or
obligation ? in which case frustration and resentment will surely be at
the order of the day. The desire to dominate others is (unfortunately) fed
by the desire of others to be dominated, and vice-versa. This is why the
balance needs to be dynamic and to be able to apply energies on new
individuations, so as to avoid the rise of hegemonies and the
crystallisation of hierarchies. Standstill can only be overcome with help
of the 'chaotic residual', a forward asymmetry regulated by way of shared

And also the compulsive tendency to return to the group must be curbed, in
a positive way. A group sometime needs to wind up, either because it has
to reconfigure itself (in a new set-up), or simply because it has spent
all its energy. This (phenomenon) embodies the /temporal/ limit.
Well-polished theories, impeccably conducted experiments, all exhibited in
collective identities without mooring and critical sense, are splendid but
devoid of relevance: they are no more than ornamental knickknacks,
certainly not valuable tools. Perfection(ism) must be shunned when making
room for the autonomy of what is to come. Instead, /contingent realism/,
defined here and now by currently available technologies, must be
embraced. The /labor limae/ [##] must be halted the very moment time
starts curling up and the joy of playing and sharing withers away.

Facebook and associated social networks push us into /disembodied mass
elitism/, which stands symbol for global totalitarianism organised in in
small, atomised groups. Even though it will be more complex and tedious,
we prefer and dare to envision a world of convivial technologies.
Everything is still possible, nothing is locked up yet. We are here, with
our desires and time in our hands to fulfil them, to create a difference.
The time is there. The moment has come to step back from the social media
and to come out in the streets to forge other, different social networks.

End of Part III

END of the book!

Thanks for your patience & attention. Comments welcome, also on issue of
language & style!


[47] Writing is a form of communication which creates asynchronous
interaction spaces. Unlike speech, it does not require the simultaneous
presence of the people being in communication. On the other hand, writing
requires the use of various technological implements: a pen, a printing
press, a computer, etc. Technology assisted forms of collaborative
writing, wikis for instance, or chat, mailing lists, etc., offer
opportunities for enquiry into segments of the reality as the latter
unfolds. On top of this, writing is also able to bring spaces into being
where certain issues can assume their full meaning. In the social space
thus specifically created with that goal in mind, individuals meet each
other, disagree with each other, possibly understand and influence each
other, create together - and evolve in the process. They really commit
themselves (to the interaction process). Cf Carlo Milani, /Scritture
conviviali, Tecnologie per participare/, (2008):
[48x] See, by the Eagainst collective (2011):
On ' magmatic logic' : http://www.kurrents.org/arkiv/conf2008/magma.html
[49] Cf Marianella Sclavi, /Arte di ascoltare e mondi possibili. Come si
esce dalle cornici di cui siamo parte/ (The art of listening, possible
worlds, and how to escape the (mind)frames which are part of us), Milano,
Bruno Mondadori, 2003. See also 'Seven rules of the Art of Listening' at:
[##] tedious work: http://www.eudict.com/?lang=lateng&word=Limae%20labor


Translated by Patrice Riemens
This translation project is supported and facilitated by:
The Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
The Antenna Foundation, Nijmegen
(http://www.antenna.nl - Dutch site)
(http://www.antenna.nl/indexeng.html - english site under construction)
Casa Nostra, Vogogna-Ossola, Italy

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