[-empyre-] network critical: immanent effects

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Sun Mar 18 19:35:51 EST 2012

Dear Aristide Antonas,

this is such a generous answer, I thank you. It brings out all that I 
had in mind.


Simon Taylor

On 18/03/12 20:29, Antonas Office wrote:
> Dear Simon Taylor,
> Thank you for bringing Albert-László Barabási in the discourse. I am 
> very interested in your observations. My idea about your question will 
> be that the ruling concept in this distinction between the network and 
> the "real" world is the concept of protocol. In the net we seem to be 
> used to be voluntarily restricted by strong, operative protocols that 
> we accept in order to give meaning to any connection. We have not seen 
> what this acceptance will bring as an after effect to "reality". 
> States, constitutions and legislation were systems of protocols that 
> seem very old to operate in this condition. Companies are quicker: 
> they are already adapted in many senses to this different "protocol 
> world" where, when it is question of connection, we obliged to accept 
> a strong system where communication is predefined and categorized as a 
> restricted system of answers to specific questions or an affirmation 
> of a interchangeable, chosen (between others) platform. The concept of 
> protocol that became so strong on the Internet seeks its possible 
> incarnation in "reality" while the net and the real lose the meaning 
> of their distinction. Your questions, Simon, show this dead end: what 
> would mean today the concept of urban protocols? How the concept of 
> protocol will be grounded on our existing cities in order to transform 
> them to something we do not know yet. It is in this condition that the 
> concept of the citizen would have to be restructured while the 
> lighter, operative and irresponsible concept of user will define the 
> acting role of a lost urban subject.
> I am going too quickly to conclusions; my city is changing rapidly 
> too. It will be a network city and it would not look like a realized 
> utopia. A question that will be important will be analogous to the one 
> concerning the Internet; will the market prescribe the protocols of 
> connectivity in the city or can we think other possible systems of 
> civility, within this given frame? Who will be the subject who would 
> fight for what urban protocols?
> Aristide Antonas
> Athens
> Sent from antonas iPhone
> On Mar 18, 2012, at 3:28, simon <swht at clear.net.nz 
> <mailto:swht at clear.net.nz>> wrote:
>> 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 connection.
>> 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.
>> Best,
>> Simon Taylor
>> www.squarewhiteworld.com
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