[-empyre-] network critical: immanent effects

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Sun Mar 18 12:28:01 EST 2012

Dear <<empyreans>>, Ana Valdés, Teddy Cruz, Aristide Antonas,

I am inspired by the discussion to add these speculations, on the theme 
of crisis and continuity as much as resilience and resistance. It occurs 
to me that time is at issue here and I have in the following assayed a 
way of addressing this, whether timely or not. Forgive its speculative 
suspension. To go on at any further length seemed to threaten redundancy 
as well as relevance.

But I hope at least a little of the latter is found here: I would also 
ask what the network city might look like? an anatomy of utopia?

Albert-László Barabási has written two beautiful books dealing with 
network theory. It is in the second, however, that what was only latent 
in the first becomes clear. It is brought out in three ways: in this 
book Barabási shows that he is a writer;/Bursts /deals with network 
effects in time; and where the real world application of network theory 
worked by way of analogy in /Linked/, in the second, and under the 
auspices of time, it is the real world that takes over.

My question is: at the very time that we are most connected, why is it 
that we are most isolated?

It is as if they are part of the same problematic, as if the network 
connecting us itself provided the anatomy for our isolation, as for our 

It is also as if the very time were part of the problematic and the 
question had as much to do with its realism - its adequacy to reality - 
as the reality of what is purported and what purports to be current, 
present, relevant, even critical: the current "crisis."

We are caught in a movement between Barabási's two books. From the 
analogical real world application of network theory to the immanence of 
communicating networks in a real world in time. Moreover, the 
intensification of this critical moment, of this moment of crisis - the 
intensification of the crisis, then - could itself be a network effect, 
in Barabási's words, a burst. That is, the fact of there being 
power-nodes operating in a spatialised network produces a concatenatory 
effect in time. Time is not indifferent, but broken or cut by moments of 
crisis: bursts of intensity, self-intensifying and self-exacerbating 
according to network effects.

The very time, however, is it one of crisis or continuity? How to judge, 
when the space-time network is so resilient, has been engineered to be 
so resilient, as to withstand, continue and even thrive in times of crisis!

The crisis of these very times may be prolonged indefinitely, exactly 
continuous with and in continuity with the network.


Simon Taylor

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