Posts Tagged ‘Virtual


Levy’s Becoming Virtual

Pierre Levy

Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age

Area: Digital Media


·        Virtuality is the process of humanity’s ‘becoming other’—it is heterogenesis

à      Analyze the process of transformation from one more of being to another

Chapter One: The Nature of Virtualization

·        Reality: “I’ve got it”

·        Virtuality: “You’ll get it”

·        Possible v. Virtual

à      Possible: Already fully constituted, but exists in limbo

·        Virtualization is the movement of actualization in reverse

28: “However, the fact of not being associated with any ‘there,’ of clinging to an unassignable space (the one in which telephone conversations take place?), of occurring only between things that are clearly situated, or of not being only ‘there’ (like any thinking being)—none of this prevents us from existing.”

Chapter Three: The Virtualization of the Text

·        Relationship between writing (intellectual technology) and memory (cognitive function)

à      Memory—virtualization: the partial detachment of a living body, sharing, heterogenesis

·        Writing desynchronizes and delocalizes

·        When reading on a screen, the extensive presence that precedes the act of reading has disappeared

à      Digital media doesn’t contain text that can be read by a human being

·        Digital Storage = potentialization

·        Display =  realization

·        The computer is a means for potentializing information

50: “Yet, having enabled us to conceive of memory as a kind of record, it has transformed the face of Mnemosyne.  The semi-objectivation of memory in the text has helped promote the development of a critical tradition.  In effect, writing creates distance between knowledge and its subject.  It is most likely because I am no longer that which I know that I am able to question my knowledge.”

Chapter Four: The Virtualization of the Economy

·        Knowledge has an increasingly shorter lifespan

·        Why is the consumption of information not destructive, and why is the possession of information not exclusive?

75: “Actualization is not an act of destruction but, on the contrary, an inventive act of production, and act of creation. When I use information, when I interpret it, connect it with other information to create meaning or help make a decision, I actualize it.  In doing so I accomplish a creative act, a productive act.  Knowledge is the product of apprenticeship, the result of a virtualization of immediate experience.”

78: “There are two possible methods of increasing the efficiency of labor: (1) reification of labor power through automation; or (2) virtualization of skills using means that augment collective intelligence.”


Shaviro’s Connected

Steve Shaviro
Connected, or What it Means to Live in the Networked Society
Area: Digital Media

•    Warhol: “Once your see emotions from a certain angle you can never think of them as real again”
o    Aesthetic Disinterest
•    Semiotic AIDS: Ambient Information Distress Syndrome: fugue states and catonia
•    You can’t get rid of old information fast/efficiently enough to accommodate for the new
•    Rorty: the “idea” idea—Cartesian notion that the mind is like a theater in which consciousness is a detached spectator that contemplates and manipulates special objects of inner sense
o    83: “But the representationalist approach remains alive and well in other fields, most notable in AI research and in cognitive science.  Cognitive scientists start from the assumption, not that computers should be understood by comparison to human minds, but rather that human minds themselves can already be understood in terms of computers.”
•    Brain like a computer isn’t just some rough analogy—actually is some device
•    Information or intellectual property has no aura; it’s fully subjected to the rules of commerce and realized exclusively in the form of exchange value
•    Baudrillard: the market no longer has exchange value—no relation to reality whatsoever
•    112: “On the one hand, the world seems phone, or unreal, precisely because so much of it is virtual.  On the other hand, and at the same time, virtuality is the one saving grace that makes up for the world’s otherwise chronic unreality.”
•    29: “I do not find myself in the network, having fallen or been thrown.  Rather, I exist for the network.  I am predestined to it.  From the moment I get connected, I am irreversibly bound to its protocols and its finality.”
•    Lyotard: in a postmodern world, there’s no Grand Narrative, but a multitude of competing ones
•    Massumi: the digital is always sandwiched between an analog disappearance into a code and an analog appearance out of code”
•    130: “The material form of the culture of real virtuality, says Castells, is a new articulation of our experience of space and time.  A ‘space of flows’ displaces the familiar ‘space of places,’ while a ‘timeless time’ annihilates traditional cyclical time and industrial clock time alike.”
•    Castells: blackholes of informational capitalism
•    Derrida: determination of a noncenter rather than a loss of center
•    Feedback loops induce effects of interference, amplification, and resonance
•    D & G: cyperspace is haptic, not an optical space—close connection
•    Cyborg—“a human being whose body has been taken over in while or in part by electromechanical devices”
•    “Leaky distinctions”: Haraway
•    “Each spectacle is a monad—entirely self-contained yet connected”
•    Deleuze: moving away from disciplinary societies of Foucault→ control societies
o    Operate through continuous control and instant communication
•    Formal subsumption of labor under capital via Empire
o    167: “This also means that the Count is captured by what Marx calls the formal subsumption of labor under capital: one of the ‘processes whereby capital incorporates under its own relations of production laboring practices that originated outside its domain.”
•    The virtual illuminates the actual, but it’s nothing without the actual’s support
•    Kurzweil: “copying” the brain is ridiculous—the downloaded brain needs a new body
•    145-6: “All this is consonant with Fredric Jameson’s sense of the postmodern era as one in which historical time ‘remains forever out of reach,’ evoked only through the nostalgia of ‘pop images and simulacra’ and in which there has been a ‘prodigious expansion of culture throughout the social realm, to the point at which everything in our social life—from economic value and state power to practices and to the very structure of the psyche itself—can be said to have become ‘cultural’ in some original and yet untheorized sense.”
•    Zizek: simultaneously connected and alone
•    250: ‘[Science fiction] does not actually represent the future.  Rather, it involves both the present and the future, while being reducible to neither.  For science fiction is about the shadow that the future casts upon the present.  It shows us how profoundly we are haunted by the ghosts of what has not yet happened.”


Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense

Deleuze, The Logic of Sense
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
•    The reversal of Platonism
•    Virtual is primary over identity
o    Real contains Actual and Virtual
•    Baudrillard: simulacra; Deleuze: copy
•    Desire and pleasure
•    Disinterested in truth
•    Stimulations /simulations produce effects
•    What do the Sophists offer now?
o    Why the move to psychoanalysis?
•    Couldn’t be French and not do psychoanalysis
•    Move to Anti-Oedipus
•    Capitalism has made us neurotic
•    A-O: desiring products
•    More involved in shadows and surface
•    Some overlap with the Stoics
•    One is allowed to make the virtual more actual
o    Virtual is the spillover
•    Power of the false: Nietzsche, Deleuze
o    Enjoy your symptoms: Zizek
•    Aristocratic?
o    Leisure time?
o    Over-man?
•    Competitive version of subjectivity
o    Badiou: relative subjectivity available to all
Critical moments in the text
2: “It is a subterranean dualism between that which receives the action of the Idea and that which eludes the action.  It is not the distinction between the Model and the copy, but rather between copies and simulacra.  Pure becoming, the unlimited, is the matter of the simulacrum insofar as it eludes the action of the Idea and insofar as it contests both model and copy at once.”
7: “[Affairs, quantities, qualities] are contrasted with an extra-Being which constitutes the incorporeal as a nonexisting entity.  The highest term therefore is not Being, but Something, insofar as it subsumes being and non-being, existence and inherence.”
20-ish: Noema: the perceived as such
40: “It is a two-sided entity, equally present in the signifying and the signified series.  It is the mirror.  Thus, it is at once word and thing, name and object, sense and denotatum, expression and designation, etc.”
49: “The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator—computers and dictatorship; by the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribes there his dream of permanent revolution.  This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about.”
53: “Events are ideal. […]  The distinction however is not between two sorts of events; rather, it is between the event, which is ideal by nature, and its spatio-temporal realization in a state of affairs.  The distinction is between event and accident.  Events are ideational singularities which communicate in one and the same Event.  They have therefore an eternal truth, and their time is never the present which realizes them and makes them exist.  Rather, it is the unlimited Aion, the Infinitive in which they subsist and insist.
61: Thus the time of the present is always a limited but infinite time; infinite because cyclical, animating a physical eternal return as the return of the Same.”
63: “What is going to happen? What has just happened? The agonizing aspect of the pure event is that it is always and at the same time something which has just happened and something about to happen; never something which is happening.”
110: “To be actualized is also to be expressed.”
144: “Cicero put it very well when he said that the passage of time is similar to the unraveling of a thread.  But events, to be precise, do not exist on the straight line of the unraveled thread (Aion), just as causes do not exist in the circumference of the wound-up thread (Chronos).
147: “Representation and its usage therefore intervene at this point.  Corporeal causes act and suffer through a cosmic mixture and a universal present which produces the incorporeal event.  But the quasi-cause operates by doubling this physical causality—it embodies the event in the most limited possible present which is the most precise and the most instantaneous, the pure instant grasped at the point at which it divides itself in to future and past, and no longer the present of the world which would gather into itself the past and the future.  The actor occupies the instant, while the character portrayed hopes or fears in the future and remembers or repents in the past: it is in this sense that the actor ‘represents.’”
Fave passage
88: “In this passion, a pure language-affect is substituted for the effect of language: “All writing is PIG SHIT” (that is to say, every fixed or written word is decomposed into noisy, alimentary, and excremental bits).”

July 2017
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