[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 111, Issue 5
mmcarden at usc.edu
Mon Feb 10 10:35:10 EST 2014
Hi Florian, thanks for your reply.
In your essay "What is Post-Digital", I did see your discussion of the
postcolonial, which seems to be a very short part of your essay which
doesn't discuss any of the gendered, racialized violences of colonialism.
Your discussion of the postcolonial is:
"Postcolonialism does not mean the end of colonialism akin to Hegel's and
Fukuyama's "end of history", but quite on the contrary its transformation
into less clearly visible power structures that are still in place, have
left their mark on languages and cultures, and most importantly still
govern geopolitics and global production chains. In this sense, the
post-digital condition is the post-apocalyptic condition after the
computerization and global digital networking of communication, technical
infrastructures, markets and geopolitics."
and you conclude the essay with:
"If post-digital cultures are made up of, metaphorically speaking,
postcolonial practices in a communications world taken over by the
military-industrial complex of only a handful of global players, then it
can most simply be described as mental opposition to phenomena like Ray
Kurzweil's and Google's Singularity University, the Quantified Self
movement, sensor-controlled "Smart Cities" and similar dystopian techno
Nevertheless, Silicon Valley utopias and post-digital subcultures (whether
in Detroit, Rotterdam or elsewhere) have more in common than it might seem.
Both are driven by fictions of
There's a fiction of agency over one's body in the 'digital' Quantified
Self movement, a fiction of the self-made in the 'post-digital' DIY and
Maker movements, a fiction of a more intimate working with media in
'analog' handmade film labs and mimeograph cooperatives. They stand for two
options of agency, over-identification with systems or skepticism towards
them. Each of them is, in their own way, symptomatic of system crisis. It
is not a crisis of one or the other system but a crisis of the very
paradigm of "system" and its legacy from cybernetics. It's a legacy which
(starting with their mere names) neither "digital", nor "post-digital"
succeed to leave behind."
I still hold that your configuration does not address the gendered and
racialized forms of difference that underlie the logic of colonialism and
which find their expression in western conceptions such as individuality
and objectivity that lead to boolean logic and digital computing. Your
essay seems to eschew any political possibility for the post-digital in
your concluding sentence. If I'm misreading it, I would appreciate your
I'm not generalizing about non-western cultures, my apologies if my post
sounded like that. I mentioned Diana Taylor's book the Archive and the
Repertoire as one example, where she specifically discusses the Spanish
conquest of the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas. Let me cite her more thoroughly to
elaborate more on what I meant and not imply any simple separation that
might be described as cartesian:
"Although the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas practiced writing before the
Conquest- either in pictogram form, heiroglyphs, or knotting systems- it
never replaced the performed utterance... What changed with the Conquest
was not that writing displaced embodied practice (we need only remember
that the friars brought their own embodied practices) but the degree of
legitimization of writing over other epistemic and mnemonic systems.
Writing now assured that Power, with a capital P, as Rama puts it, could be
developed and enforced without the input of the great majority of the
population, the indigenous and marginal populations of the colonial period
without access to systematic writing."
I haven't read Eglash's work, thanks for recommending it, I'll check it
On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM, Florian Cramer <flrncrmr at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I'm taking great issue with this summary of my text. It is greatly
> distorted. If you had read it carefully, you would have seen that it
> actually refers to postcolonialism.
> Btw., your categorical split between "digital" and "embodied" knowledge is
> as Cartesian and Western as I can get. What's even worse, by attributing
> the latter to non-Western culture, it's producing a highly stereotypical
> image of Non-Western cultures and systems of knowledge. I recommend to read
> up, among others, on Ron Eglash's ethnomathematics (or any history of
> mathematics, for that matter).
> On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 10:03 PM, micha cárdenas <mmcarden at usc.edu> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Thanks for an interesting discussion topic this month!
>> I agree with your assessment that this limited configuration of the
>> post-digital is already divorced from any real politics of difference or
>> antagonism and so yes it is similar to relational aesthetics. In contrast,
>> my own formulation of the post digital, which I presented at the
>> Transmediale phd symposium in 2012 is centered in queer and trans women of
>> color's political and aesthetic practices. The horizon for the post-digital
>> isn't hipsters, reddit and google, as in Florian Cramer's essay "What is
>> post-digital?", it is a reconsideration of thought and communication
>> outside of the bounds of western conceptions of knowledge and rationality.
>> You can read an essay version of what I presented at the #BWPWAP
>> transmediale symposium here, where I list a few examples of aesthetic works
>> that may be understood as post-digital:
>> (a short version is in the 2013 edition of APRJA:
>> and a video of me giving this as a keynote at the Dark Side of the
>> Digital conference is here:
>> The writers for the post-digital research issue of APRJA articulate
>> conceptions of politics that completely fail to address the importance of
>> moving on from western systems of knowledge that are embodied in the
>> digital, which is unsurprising considering their own apparent subject
>> positions. For example, in The Archive and the Repertoire, Diana Taylor has
>> written extensively on the ways that colonial regimes insisted on writing
>> as the only legitimate form of knowledge as a way to disempower colonized
>> subjects, and digital systems of storage reproduce that hierarchy by
>> eschewing embodied and emotional knowledge that is not reproducible through
>> digital media.
>> thank you,
>> On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 1:44 PM, Michael Dieter <M.J.Dieter at uva.nl> wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Something else I want to ask about.
>>> This is the definition that the Post-Digital Research group settled on
>>> for their publication:
>>> "Post-digital, once understood as a critical reflection of "digital"
>>> aesthetic immaterialism, now describes the messy and paradoxical
>>> condition of art and media after digital technology revolutions.
>>> "Post-digital" neither recognizes the distinction between "old" and
>>> "new" media, nor ideological affirmation of the one or the other. It
>>> merges "old" and "new", often applying network cultural
>>> experimentation to analog technologies which it re-investigates and
>>> re-uses. It tends to focus on the experiential rather than the
>>> conceptual. It looks for DIY agency outside totalitarian innovation
>>> ideology, and for networking off big data capitalism. At the same
>>> time, it already has become commercialized."
>>> I'm curious about the emphasis here on the experiential, rather than
>>> the conceptual. Why emphasize one over the other in this way? What
>>> works or practices did the group have in mind? In a weird way, this
>>> description actually reminds me of something like relational
>>> Michael Dieter
>>> Media Studies
>>> The University of Amsterdam
>>> Turfdraagsterpad 9
>>> 1012 XT Amsterdam
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> micha cárdenas
>> International Trans Women of Color Network Gathering
>> June 19, 2014, Detroit, Allied Media Conference
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
International Trans Women of Color Network Gathering
June 19, 2014, Detroit, Allied Media Conference
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