Posts Tagged ‘Time

02
Dec
08

Koselleck’s Futures Past

Reinhart Koselleck

Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time

Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

Preface

·      What is historical time?

·      Seek out the linguistic organization of temporal experience wherever this surfaces in past reality

Xvi: “More generally, there is much common ground between Gadamer’s T&M and the basic, interpretative framework within which Koselleck moves.  Shared by T&M and these essays is the construction of a hermeneutic procedure that places understanding as a historical and experimental act in relation to entities which themselves possess historical force, as well as a point of departure in the experience of the work of art and the constitution of an aesthetics.  Gadamer elaborates aesthetic experience by examining the development of the concept Erlebnis, or experience in the sense of lived encounter.  This term was developed in response to Enlightenment rationalism and is characteristic of an aesthetics centered upon the manifestation of the ‘truth’ of a work of art through the experience of the subject.  Gadamer then asks: what kind of knowledge is produced in this way?  There is a discontinuity between modern philosophy and the classical tradition: the development of a historical consciousness in the 19th century made philosophy aware of its own historical formation, creating a break in the Western tradition of an incremental path to knowledge that had hitherto shaped philosophical discussion.  Koselleck takes up this problem and presents it as a historical, rather than philosophical, question: What kind of experience is opened up by the emergence of modernity?”

1: “The sources of the past do inform us about thoughts and deeds, plans and events, but they provide no direct indication of historical time.”

3:  “All testimony answers to the problem of how, in a concrete situation, experiences come to terms with the past; how expectations, hopes, or prognoses that are projected into the future become articulated into language.  These essays will constantly ask: how, in a given present, are the temporal dimensions of past and future related?”

4: “Methodologically, these studies direct themselves to the semantics of central concepts in which historical experience of time is implicated.  Here, the collective concept ‘History,’ coined in the 18th century, has preeminent meaning.”

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26
Nov
08

Castells’ The Information Age

Manuel Castells
The Information Age: vols. 1-3
Area: Digital Media
From Felix Stadler’s Review

•    Castells’ main argument is that a new form of capitalism has emerged at the end of this century: global in its character, hardened in its goals and much more flexible than any of its predecessors. It is challenged around the globe by a multitude of social movements on behalf of cultural singularity and people’s control over their own lives and environment.
•    This tension provides the central dynamic of the Information Age, as “our societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self” (1996, p. 3).
•    The Net stands for the new organizational formations based on the pervasive use of networked communication media. Network patterns are characteristic for the most advanced economic sectors, highly competitive corporations as well as for communities and social movements.
•    The Self symbolizes the activities through which people try to reaffirm their identities under the conditions of structural change and instability that go along with the organization of core social and economic activities into dynamic networks.
•    Transformations amongst the trilogy
o    First: Changing relationships of production
o    Second: relationships of power and experience: crisis of the nation-state
o    Third: ties together the loose ends
•    Technology and society can’t be understood or represented without its technological tools
•    Rather than seeing identity as an effect, as a traditional Marxist would, he argues the opposite: identity-building itself is a dynamic motor in forming society
•    “A new society emerges when and if a structural transformation can be observed in the relationships of production, in the relationships of power, and in the relationships of experience” (1998, p. 340).
•    The first assumption structures Castells’ account of the rise of the Net: the dialectical interaction of social relations and technological innovation, or, in Castells’ terminology, modes of production and modes of development.
•    The second assumption underlies the importance of the Self: the way social groups define their identity shapes the institutions of society. As Castells notes “each type of identity-building process leads to a different outcome in constituting society” (1997, p. 8).
•    A society produces its goods and services in specific social relationships–the modes of production.
o    Since the industrial revolution, the prevalent mode of production in Western societies has been capitalism, embodied in a wide range of historically and geographically specific institutions to create and distribute profit.
o    The modes of development, on the other hand, “are the technological arrangements through which labor acts upon matter to generate the product, ultimately determining the level and the quality of the surplus” (1996, p. 16).
•    Identity is defined as “the process of construction of meaning on the basis of a cultural attribute, or related set of cultural attributes, that is/are given priority over other sources of meaning” (1997, p. 6).
•    Castells concludes that information technology evolves in a distinctively different pattern than previous technologies, thus constituting the “informational mode of development”: a flexible, pervasive, integrated and reflexive, rather than additive evolution. The reflexivity of the technologies, the fact that any product is also raw material because both are information, has permitted the speeding up of the process of innovation.
•    This new economy is informational because the competitiveness of its central actors (firms, regions, or nations) depends on their ability to generate and process electronic information. It is global because its most important aspects, from financing to production, are organized on a global scale, directly through multinational corporations and/or indirectly through networks of associations.
•    Rather than creating the same conditions everywhere, the global economy is characterized “by its interdependence, its asymmetry, its regionalization, the increased diversification within each region, its selective inclusiveness, its exclusionary segmentation, and, as a result of all those features, an extraordinarily variable geometry that tends to dissolve historical, economic geography” (1996, p. 106).
•    Its most distinct result is the emergence of what Castells calls the space of flows: the integrated global network. It comprises several connected elements: private networks, company Intranets; semi-public, closed and proprietary networks such as the financial networks; and public, open networks, the Internet. Social organizations reconstitute themselves according to this space of flows.
o    Technology: the infrastructure of the network.
o    Places: the topology of the space formed by its nodes and hubs.
o    People: the (relatively) secluded space of the managerial elite commanding the networks,
•    The space of flows has introduced a culture of real virtuality which is characterized by timeless time and placeless space.
•    Binary time expresses no sequence but knows only two states: either presence or absence, either now or never.
o    Within the space of flows everything that is the case is now, and everything that is not must be introduced from the outside: that is, it springs suddenly into existence.
•    Sequence is arbitrary in the space of flows and disorders events which in the physical context are connected by a chronological sequence.
•    Binary space, then, is a space where the distance can only be measured as two states: zero distance (inside the network) or infinite distance (outside the network), here or nowhere.
•    Power is concentrated in the intricate space of flows, to the extent that “the power of flows takes precedence over the flows of power” (1996, p. 469).
•    The classic embodiment of legitimizing identity, the nation state, is losing its power, “although, and this is essential, not its influence” (1997, p. 243).
•    Trapped between the increased articulation of diverse, often conflicting identities and the need to act on a global scene, the traditional democratic institutions–the civil society–are being voided of meaning and legitimacy: they lose their identity. The power of the political democracy, ironically at the moment when it reaches almost global acceptance, seems to be inevitably waning.

25
Nov
08

Hayles’ My Mother Was a Computer

N. Katherine Hayles
My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
Area: Digital Media
Preface: Computing Kin

•    Materiality—construction of matter that matter for human meaning
•    The complex dynamics through which the Computational universe works simultaneously as a means and metaphor in technical and artistic practices
•    Intermediation = complex transactions between bodies and texts as well as between different forms of media
o    The posthuman will be understood as effects of media
2: “’Postbiological’ future: the expectation that the corporeal embodiment that has always functioned to define the limits of the human will in the future become optional, as humans find ways to upload their consciousness into computers and leave their bodies behind.”
4: “In the contemporary period, reading as ‘hallucination’ has been displaced in part by the instant messaging, chat rooms, video games, e-mail, and Web surfing that play such a a large role in young people’s experiences.  To an extent, then, the mother’s voice that haunted reading has been supplanted by  another set of stimuli: the visual, audio, kinesthetic, and haptic cues emanating from the computer.  If the mother’s voice was the link connecting subjectivity with writing, humans with natural environments, then the computer’s beeps, clicks, and tones are the links connecting contemporary subjectivities to electronic environments, humans to the Computational Universe.”
Chapter 1: Intermediation: Textuality and the Regimes of Computation
•    Comparison of speech, writing, and code
•    Code: synecdoche for information
•    Emergence
o    25: “This term refers to properties that do not in here in the individual components of a system; rather, these properties come about from interactions between components.”
22: “Even if code is not originally ontological, it becomes so through these recursive feedback loops.  In Wetwares, Richard Doyle makes a similar observation about the belief that we will someday be able to upload our consciousness into computers and thereby effectively achieve immortality.  Doyle comments, ‘’Uploading,’ the desire to be wetware, makes possible a new technology of the self, one fractured by the exteriority of the future….Uploading seems to install discursive, material, and social mechanism for the anticipation of an externalized self, a techno-social mutation that is perhaps best characterized as a new capacity to be affected by, addicted to, the future.”
33: “’Remediation’ has the disadvantage of locating the starting for the cycles in a particular locality and medium, whereas ‘intermediation’ is more faithful to the spirit of multiple causality in emphasizing interactions among media.”
33: “I want to expand its denotations to include interactions between systems of representations, particularly language and code, as well as interactions between modes of representation, particularly analog and digital.  Perhaps most importantly, ‘intermediation’ also denotes mediating interfaces connecting humans with the intelligent machines that are our collaborators in making, storing, and transmitting informational processes and objects.”
Chapter 4: Translating Media
•    If the text is stored accurately on a second storage medium, the text remains the same though the signs for it are different
o    Braille v. Print versions: the text is the same but the sensory input is very different
•    “The materiality of an embodied text is the interaction of its physical characteristics with its signifying strategies.”
101: “With electronic texts there is a conceptual distinction—and often an actualized one—between storage and delivery vehicles, whereas with print the storage and delivery vehicles are one and the same.  With electronic texts, the data files may be on one server and the machine creating the display may be in another location entirely, which means that electronic text exists as a distributed phenomenon. The dispersion introduces many possible sources of variation into the production of electronic text that do not exist in the same way with print, for example, when a user’s browser displays a text with different colors than those the writer say on her machine when she was creating it.”
102: “Certainly the time lag is an important component of the electronic text, for it determines in what order the user will view the material.  Indeed, as anyone who has grown impatient with long load times knows, in many instances it determines whether the user will see the image at all.  These times are difficult to predict precisely because they depend on the individual computer’s processing speed, traffic on the Web, efficiency of data distribution on the hard drive, and other imponderables.  This aspect of electronic textuality—along with many others—cannot be separated from the delivery vehicles that produce it as a process with which the user can interact.”

08
Nov
08

DeLanda’s Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy

Manuel DeLanda
Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory

•    Not a direct interpretation of Deleuze’s work, but a reconstruction
o    Robust to changes in theoretical assumptions and strategies
•    Three types of ontological commitments:
o    “For some philosophers reality has no existence independently from the human mind that perceives it, so their ontology consists mostly of mental entities, whether these are thought as transcendent objects or, on the contrary, as linguistic representations or social conventions.  Other philosophers grant to the objects of everyday experience a mind-independent existence, but remaining unconvinced that theoretical entities, whether unobservable relations such as physical causes, or unobservable entities such as electrons, possess such an ontological autonomy.  Finally, there are philosophers who grant reality full autonomy from the human mind, disregarding the difference between the observable and the unobservable, and the anthropocentrism this distinction implies.  These philosophers are said to have a realist ontology.”
•    Essence: a core set of properties that defines what these objects are
•    Importance and relevance – not truth – are the key concepts in Deleuze’s epistemology
From the Wiki:
•    Process-based realist philosophy
•    Deleuze’s realist philosophies don’t rely on essences
o    In the virtual, essences are replaced with multiplicities
•    Multiplicities: concrete sets of singularities or attractions
•    Deleuze’s time – heterochronous
o    “series of nested presents” (coupling of multiplicities)
•    Minor v. Royal science
o    M: pragmatic, laboratory science (more importance on well-formed problems then generalized solutions)
o    R: prestigious, proscriptive science
•    Seven core ontological components
* The (abstract) depth or spatium in which intensities are organised. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘machinic phylum’, ‘plane of consistency’, ‘Body without Organs’.
* The disparate series (multiplicities) these form and the fields of individuation they outline. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘vague essences’, ‘becomings’, ‘partial objects’, ‘concepts’.
* The ‘dark precursor’ (line of flight) which causes them to communicate. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘aleatory or paradoxical point’, ‘desiring machine’, ‘nonsense’, ‘object=x’, ‘quasi-cause’, ‘conceptual personae’.
* The linkages, resonances and movements which result (the dynamism of this system). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘convergence and divergence’, ‘forced movement’.
* The constitution of ‘passive selves’ in the system, and the formation of pure spatio-temporal dynamisms (the intensive). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘intensive individuals’, ‘larval subjects’, ‘monads (from Leibniz).
* The qualities and extensions differentiated into (the actual/extensive). Deleuzian synonyms: ‘forms and substances’
* The centres of envelopment. Deleuzian synonyms: ‘codes’.
From Bogard’s Review:
•    DeLanda defies the actual as metric space and linear time
o    How the actual emerges from the virtual as an immanent casual
•    “Whereas the actual is extended and differentiated in space and time, the virtual is intensive and formless.”
o    Science of the virtual must be one of the intensities, not extensities
•    Detailed descriptions of becoming-actual, but less time on the problem of becoming-virtual, or how the actual becomes virtual
2: “His depiction of the virtual is approached via several interrelated problems:  in terms of how multiplicities arise and differentiate themselves within virtual space, in terms of how phenomena that comprise the virtual must be characterized as “pre-individualized,” non-personal, impassive and abstract, how the virtual is a formless plane (of consistency, immanence, etc.) upon which singularities are distributed, extended and serialized into ordinary points, and so on.  The virtual, De Landa notes, has corporeal causes, i.e., it is produced by actual material processes, but is itself incorporeal and autonomous from those causes (in De Landa’s words, its dynamics are abstract and “mechanism independent”), and the relations that form between virtual multiplicities are “quasi-causal” or, as Foucault would characterize it, relations among effects of effects.”

31
Oct
08

Wiener’s Cybernetics

Norbert Wiener
Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine
Area: Digital Media
Intro

•    The mathematician need not have the skill to conduct a physiological experiment, but he must have the skill to understand, criticize, and suggest one
•    Example: Picking up a pencil
o    Unless we’re anatomists, we don’t know the muscles, etc. used in performing the act
o    Doesn’t prevent us from doing so, it’s simply an unconscious movement
•    Cybernetics: influence of mathematical logic
o    Liebniz: universal symbolism and a calculus of reasoning
o    Like his predecessor Pascal, Liebniz was interested in the computing machines of the mental
•    Gestalt: perceptual formation of universals
Chapter One: Newtonian and Bergsonian Time
•    Using Newtonian laws: all we can predict at any future time is a probability distribution of the constants of the system, and even this predictability fades out with the increase of time
o    Time is perfectly reversible: asymmetrical past and future
•    Within any world with which we can communicate, the direction of time is uniform
•    The individual is an arrow pointed through time in one way and the race is equally directed from the past into the future
•    Bergson emphasizes reversible time of physics and irreversible time of evolution and biology
•    Vitalism has won to the extent that even mechanisms correspond to the time-structure of vitalism
43: “To sum up: the many automata of the present age are coupled to the outside world both for the reception of impressions and for the performance of actions.  They contain sense organs, effectors, and information from the one to the other.  They lend themselves very well to description in physiological terms.”
Chapter Eight: Information, Language, and Society
•    We are too small to influence the stars in their courses, and too large to care about anything but the mass effects of molecules, atoms, and electrons
Chapter Nine: On Learning and Self-Producing Machines
•    Two powers characteristic of living systems:
o    Power to learn: capable of being transformed
o    Power to reproduce themselves: multiply one’s likeness
•    Can man-made machines learn and reproduce themselves?

22
Aug
08

Kochhar-Lindgren’s TechnoLogics

Gray Kochhar-Lindgren
TechnoLogics: Ghosts, the Incalculable, and the Suspension of Animation.“Temps: Time, Work, and the Delay.”
Area: Digital Media
Critical moments from the text

171: “’There is a now of the untimely; there is a singularity which is that of this disjunction of the present’”
174: “’Deployment of techno-science or tele-technology…whose movement and speed prohibit us more than ever from opposing presence to its representation, ‘real time’ to ‘deferred time,’ effectivity to its simulacrum, the living to the non-living, in short, the living to the living-dead of its ghosts.’”
180: “The digitialization of the world makes the entirety of the past, insofar as it has left traces, available in a blinding flash of the present, even a the usage of the pas-present-future lineage is also spinning vertiginously.”
184: “If there were no delay, no relay systems that along their line of servers act to mediate Dasein’s (self)-consciousness, then there could be no phenomenon called ‘haunting’ in which the other returns.”
From annotated bib:
Claiming that “the ‘now’ and its others must be thought of differently than as the presence of the present,” Kochlar-Lindgaren confronts the linear movement of time (175). He examines a postmodern dismissal of waiting, delay, and desire arguing that, “the desire of technologies […] is to obliterate the delay” (185). Thus, the ‘desires of technologies’ is a desire that “should be satisfied before I am aware that I am desiring” (185). I will utilize this chapter in two ways: firstly, I will examine how technology promotes a non-linear movement of time by claiming that our suspended selves can be present in multiple places and have recurring presents. Secondly, how sexual enhancement drugs erase the desire to become sexually “active”—the pills create the space for sexual arousal, something that cannot happen (as easily) without the drug; therefore, the user no longer wishes to be “active” as one can be whenever one chooses.

22
Aug
08

Stiegler’s Technics and Time

Bernard Stiegler
Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Notes from class:

•    Arranging human and machinic
•    Not humanization of nature, but naturalization of the human
•    Humans are more natural through technology
o    Control societies
•    Biopower is operating system of capitalism
o    Spontaneity is not problem for system
•    Beller: not just watching
o    “selling” product
•    Something is provided for all so none will escape
o    Adorno and Horkheimer
•    Nealon: Because everyone must provide something, no one will escape
•    All subjectivity is up for grabs: everyone must be someone
•    Demographic DNA
o    Broad version of the social
o    Giant picture from Heidegger
•    Useful finality
•    Virno: virtuosity—no end product
o    Goodness is not enough
•    Steigler’s response to no future
o    Cybernetics
•    Before with technology: death
o    Now, technology leads to life
•    Blanchot: wiped out
•    What one does with life
o    The impact to cause life
o    Change
•    Leroi-Gourhan/Steigler: Posthuman as a concept
o    Machinic heterogenetic: Guatarri
o    Bodies without organs
•    Desires for the fake
o    John Lovelock: guya theory
•    Benjamin: inorganic
•    Love of articifiality
•    Paradise of the artificial
o    Hatred of natural
•    Episteme v. techne
•    What’s the who, what’s the what
o    Actors of history
•    Anthropology: feet, hands, face
•    Technogenesis: mobility, change
•    Promethesis/Meno: no origin, no future
•    Contra Heidegger: Only a god can save us no
o    Techne or time
o    No going back
•    Q: What takes the place of philosophy now? A: Cybernetics
Critical moments in the text
2: “Lodged between [mechanics and biology], technical beings are nothing but a hybrid, enjoying no more ontological status than they did in ancient philosophy.”
6: “[Dasien]’s death is what it cannot know, and to this extent, death gives to ‘mine-ness’ its excess.  Death is not an event within existence because it is the very possibility of existence, a possibility that is at the same time essentially and interminably deferred.  This originary deferral is also what gives Dasein its difference to another.”
23: “Today, machines are the tool bearers, and the human is no longer a technical individual; the human becomes either the machine’s servant or its assembler.”
50: “The problem arising here is that the evolution of this essentially technical being that the human is exceeds the biological, although this dimension is an essential part of the technical phenomenon itself, something like its enigma.  The evolution of the ‘prosthesis,’ not itself living, by which the human is nonetheless defined as a living being, constitutes the reality of the human’s evolution, as if, with it, the history of life were to continue by means other than life: this is the paradox of a living being characterized in its forms of life by the nonliving—or by the traces that its life leaves in the nonliving.”
66: “To know the essence of the machine, and thereby understanding the sense of technics in general, is also to know the place of the human in technical ensembles.”
70: external memory
95: “If technics can be given its own finality, this means that its thinking in terms of ends and means is no longer sufficiently radical.”
114: “Denaturalization will be self-exteriorization, the becoming self-dependent, self-alienation, the alienation of the originary, the authentic, in the factical, the technical, the artificial death constitutive of the mediacy of a social and differentiated world of objects, and hence of subjects, for, from this points on, it is only though its objects, (the objects it has) that the self can define and thus is no longer itself.”
131: “Love is an interested and particular passion, which risks bringing ‘destruction to the human race,’ making possible the opposite of that for which if seems to exist: ‘a terrible passion that braves danger, surmounts all obstacles, and in its transports seems calculated to bring destruction on the human race which it is really destined to preserve.”
Think: Derrida Gift of Death; Edelman: No Future
148: “With the advent of exteriorization, the body of the living individual is no longer only a body: it can only function with its tools.”
177: “The individual develops three memories: genetic memory; memory of the central nervous system (epigenetic); and techno-logical memory (language and technics are here amalgamated in the process of exteriorization)
202: “Promethia is the anticipation of the future, that is, of danger, foresight, prudence, and an essential disquiet: somebody who is promethes is someone who is worried in advance.”
207: “’In its factial being, any Dasein is as it walready was, and it is ‘what’ is already was.  It is its past, whether explicitly or not.”
(Re-read: Disengagement of the What→memory)




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