Life as an Extreme Sport

Objects are Boundary Projects

[B]odies as objects of knowledge are material-semiotic generative nodes. Their boundaries materialize in social interaction. Boundaries are drawn by mapping practices; ‘objects’ do not pre-exist as such. Objects are boundary projects. But boundaries shift from within; boundaries are very tricky. What boundaries provisionally contain remains generative, productive of meanings and bodies. Siting (sighting) boundaries is a risky practice. Objectivity is not about dis-engagement, but about mutual and usually unequal structuring, about taking risks in a world where ‘we’ are permanently mortal, that is, not in ‘final’ control. -Donna Haraway, Situated Knowledges, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature

Continue reading

the sound of protest

I’ve been wondering for a while now what the point of protesting [fill in the blank] is – what purpose does it serve? For example, protesting the recent bombings on Falluja isn’t going to stop the bombings; the largest protest in history didn’t stop the attack on Iraq, so why is a smaller protest going to do anything? I now think that the point is to prevent marginalizing from happening; by getting out and creating enough of a ruckus that the media – one of the creatures of the virtual that helps perpetuate mimetic circulation – covers the event, people who hold an alternate view are suddenly no longer marginalized, but instead are taking over the very mechanism that is attempting to silence them.

Continue reading

Critique – Media Virus and Memes

The idea of a meme is something that has always offended my sensibilities, without ever really knowing why. Obviously its most colloquial use, such as “LiveJournal-memes” is not accurate in the Dawkins-sense of the word, or the way that Dennis Rushkoff would like to see the word used. Memes are simply supposed to be one of three variants of a virus, be it a publicity stunt, a co-opted virus, or the self-generated virus. Rushkoff argues that in all instances, the virus has some sort of “sticky surface (akin to how a genetic virus works) that then allows the infection of something else into the cell or organism (with the organism in a meme being culture itself). Rushkoff uses words like datasphere to name this interconnected, technologically adept organism, and then goes on to use chaos theory to describe how it comes into being. And this is where he hits on

Continue reading

Ethics and Materiality

Indeed, there is no body as such; there are only bodies – male or female, black, brown, white, large or small – and the gradations in between. Bodies can be represented or understood not as entities in themselves or simply on a linear continuum with its polar extremes occupied by male and female bodies… but as a field, a two-dimensional continuum in which race (and possibly even class, caste, or religion) form body specifications. -Elizabeth Grosz In contrast to the body, embodiment is contextual, enmeshed within the specifics of place, time, physiology, and culture, which together compose enactment. Embodiment never coincides exactly with “the body,” however that normalized concept is understood. Whereas the body is an idealized form that gestures toward a Platonic reality, embodiment is the specific instantiation generated from the noise of difference. -N. Katherine Hayles It has occured to me, over the course of reading Hayles’ book

Continue reading

contemplations of a final project

Right now I’m thinking along the lines of science fiction and how we’ve gone from the utopia’s of 1960s scifi to the distopia of today. I was originally just gonna talk about scifi distopia, but I think I might be able to weave a narrative about the advances of computing technology and how the advances have changed the popular conception of computers. I think that Gibson via Neuromancer really created the genre of computer-related dystopias… altho for obvious reasons Clarke would have to be the grandfather of* (although I’d have to reread Dick’s Minority Report). While the movie certainly had a computer-generated dystopia, I don’t recall the short story being anything like that. Scifi really morphed from computers as augmentation of humans and allowing the creation of dystopias a la 1984 and Harrison Bergeron to computers as oppositional forces a la Neuromancer and the Matrix. I got thinking about this

Continue reading