There’s a lot in this post from McKenzie Wark. A lot. It’s a dense piece with lots of points to unpack and ponder. Warks commentary on Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s book Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT Press, 2011) touches on a many of the big issues that tech (and at a broader level, society) is facing at the moment.
There’s plenty of interesting points in here, from bothe Wark and Chun, but a couple that peaked my interest include:
- the use of software as an anology
- the role of biopowerand labour in the digital age
- the gendered history of computing and the flow through effects on culture today
- how the concept of the “invisible machine” joins the list of other invisible operators - slaves, women, workers - life is automagic
- the idea that choices offered by interface shape our notion of what is possible
- how political (and perhaps social) power requires control of the archive, or better, of memory
- the conceptual architecture of computing having a precursor in genetics and eugenics
I thought this was a really interesting observation:
Hence computing becomes a metaphor for everything we believe is invisible yet generates visible effects. The economy, nature, the cosmos, love, are all figured as black boxes that can be known by the data visible on their interfaces.
This one too:
Step by step, the user is freed from not only having to know about her or his machine, but then also from ownership of what runs on the machine, and then from ownership of the data she or he produces on the machine.
But perhaps most valuable was this:
There is no bipower, as information is not there to make better bodies, but bodies are just there to make information.
Kind of feel that’s how we are currently seen by the corporates in Silicon Valley.
Source: Wendy Chun, on software and the machine
Image: A Million Keys