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Ilias Marmaras 2008

Tag_1: Re-appropriation, Hybridization

History has proved that when someone attacks something, he eventuates to be interrelated with his target at the end. In the case of the social networks at the web 2.0, it is rather futile for someone to try to encounter with the structures that define how YouTube or MySpace e.g. are formed, because the volume of info elaboration and the systems in use for this, are in a different scale and of a better quality. In addition, if he tries to do so, he will be obliged to embed their negative characteristics; otherwise it is impossible to compete with. A possible solution for example, could be to refuse to play with the given rules and to find other ways to set different rules for the game. For instance, the creation of common goods regarding the information and the knowledge that is produced today by the prosumers, especially via the different forms of the affective labor, requires also the production of distribution and interaction systems; otherwise their re-appropriation from the users become problematic. Axel Bruns uses as an example the Facebook. Facebook may be a site for social interaction, but from a wider, whole-of-Web perspective beyond its own walls, it’s contributing not to the social, but to an antisocial Web. Committed Facebook converts may not see the problem, but for those of us who still resist the constant ‘poking’ and ‘prodding’, the announcements of yet more closed communities, and the alerts promising us content only available inside the proprietary enclosure, these daily reminders only indicate that more and more information is now only available by utilising means of interaction which we have no ability to control. What it matters after all according to him is how the users can create their own combinations by using the characteristics of the sites. Something, which could be like a Spacebook or a MyFace.

Tag_2 : Friendship, Hostility, Co-existence

YouTube is a representation of a space, in the sense of a field that is made up through the conversations that are taking place between its users. These conversations are not only the comments on the videos but mainly the videos themselves. At the end, these conversations that are being adopted are in other words those that become the dominant ones, decide for the restriction of our perception and for that that we will finally think and understand. If as Bruno Latour claims: we have gone from a time of Time to a time of Space, from a time of succession to a time of co-existence, then the forms of these conversations that configure the space of co-existence, may consume the contributions of the users aimlessly, they may function as control points for the access and the participation through the use of methods of exclusion, or on the contrary – maybe in a utopian sense for some-, they may permit to the users to constitute the frame context of the space and by doing that, to give a meaning in their experience. In general, the producers of social networks are using the friendship that grows between the users, in such a way so as to create nets that will be consumed, that will distribute hierarchies and power or that will be capitalized for the favor of the owners of the site. This friendship takes often a strange form because as it is based in relations of inclusion and exclusion, it permits to the user that produces them to have access in higher levels of interaction, experience and consequently to produce more relationships. This production of relationships, in its turn maximizes the value of the system that at the end becomes a giant corp. that exploits the huge potential of peoples’ affective labor; a form of labor that produces nowadays one of the most precious ‘’spices’’ needed by capitalism, the creation of bonds inside the social tissue. Labour produces not only commodities, but first and foremost the capital relationship. Capital relations are, of course, always already social relations. Social networks enable an exponential explosion of such social and economic relations. And what is also produced in these social and economic relations – indeed, what causes them to coalesce in the first place – is the production of affect. (Lazzarato, 2001) In other words, the appearance of the friendship as a productive force at the social factories of web 2.0 means at the same time and the appearance of the hostility. The ambiguous relations that take place between the users, in reality, they construct a battlefield corresponding to the arena like spaces of the videogames. YouTube, as a big part of the web 2.0, has the tendency to look more and more as a gamespace.

Tag_3 : Subjectivity, Advertisement

At Google’s website one can read that: Google AdSense is a quick and easy way for websites’ editors of any size, to embed Google relative advertisements at the pages of their websites and gain money. Despite that, this Google’s ‘AdSense is a characteristic example of immaterial labor in web 2.0, because every time that a user is searching something, she/he does a supplementary job. She/he adds at Google’s data base minor advertisement targets not only for herself/himself or for the specific search but for everyone that is going to repeat it. These examples are key elements in order to understand the ‘’architecture of participation’’ that is under construction at the social networks of web 2.0, an architecture that not only supports from now on the individual experience regarding the production of subjectivity, but also facilitates the inner capital relationships by making them this way more distinct between them. In other words, capital through immaterial labor tries to solve a problem that has been always a major cause of competition and a loss of time and money in the Fordist capital production period.

Tag_4 : Biopolitics, Boundaries, Discursive space

Regarding the development of the project Folded in, the phenomenon of immaterial labour into the frame context of web 2.0 explicitly situates this subjective turn within the active and ongoing construction of virtual subjectivities across social networks. This is realised by offering the necessary tools that give the possibility not only of participation but also of comparison and exploration of the alternative possible forms of co-existence inside a game space. The reason for such an undertaking is that we live in moments of rupture that regulate the transformations of “demographic politics” and politicisation of life. The main idea behind this involves a concern for affairs that are brought to the attention to a bio-politics. We are not talking here only about focusing on the culturally specific conditions within shifting modalities, but also about far broader issues that emerge. To that extent, the emergence of this intersection reaches its debates around cross border dialogue, cultural intersections, crossings and/or networks which are profoundly rooted in a “disappearance” of subtle, ‘concrete’ boundaries. By problematising the “transitory character” where different visions are converging and moving in defining and redefining the borders within new forms of articulation, the question we wish to raise is: what is this really referring to? What would happen when we encounter with a discursive space that produces a reality in which Hegel’s widely known articulation “there is no state in Europe” is found beyond its borders?

Tag _5 : Material borders, Flexible borders

Borders as a representation are connected to images of tangible limits on the ground between states. They are there to signal these limits that accordingly build stability, sovereignty and security for a state. But borders are not only land borders as borders are an entity as a space. Representing such borders is symbolic and refers to lines and numbers that are noted on maps as history has imposed – up to now – sea and air borders. This designates the engagement an encounter in what concerns the ground that corresponds to these maps, respecting and violating these borders is very relevant. Guarding such borders coincides with the very action of their mapping out. And defining and redefining the limits between the opposing countries – states can happen in a present continuous tense and on a 24 hour basis where we witness future-past of the present. Something like that is possible with the use of ultramodern war systems, especially of war aircrafts and helicopters as well as submarines. With the use of technology today, geography becomes fluid, borders take a flexible form while the whole procedure happening on the air with supersonic speed, stays inconspicuous. Man down there on the ground rarely realise that the machines up above their heads, do not simply violate the old abstract notion of the map. Nor do they know that ground no more precedes the map. The map precedes the territory and gives birth to the territory. The continuous movement and the contestation of the border line is not only the result of action of the coordinating forces of the different forms of institutional power claiming the sovereignty of space. The borders are also crossed by the inhabitants of the border zone making short visits to the ‘other side’ discovering the ‘others’, their society and way of living. At the same time these people possibly realise the fantastic structures that the borders form and preserve in their own mind. This time the border line moves inside the conceptual space of perception, like a substantial part of the conditions that form the recognition of reality.

Tag_6 : Media, Propaganda

Media and propaganda refers to a variety of different ambiguous roles and is in most of the cases this is related with the contradicted interests of national or global corporations. At the same time they support, maintain and render the national patriotic values, necessary for the forming of the nation/state perception addressed to the citizens. Very often unpredictable parameters lead that to over excesses that in their turn create ultra nationalistic and racist reactions. A constant fight for the control and the re-appropriation of these ‘’cutting edges’’ phenomena, creates tragic and as well comic events, that feed the popular imagination and the creation of current myths. At the end of the story through a populist form of inclusion and exclusion the people in both sides regenerate and perpetuate violence. One could get a picture of the other side of the dogfights (often done by the very same pilots that act in the real ones); especially in case we consider new systems of reference that allow the viewer to gain new access in a search of a media echo as it appears such as at YouTube. Dozens of video and thousands of comments are mapping a new territory of facing the other, unfortunately most of the time in the worst possible form.

Tag_7 : Gamespace, Race, Close cultures

In the world of Youtube, there is a whole lotta lovin' and hatin' goin on! (A blogger) A number of videos made by users that are producers / reproducers, consumers (prosumers) reproduce the national stereotypes and the war tactics composing a net video-war. The content of these videos is not limited only within the nationalistic war dithyrambs by the opposing sides, but goes further by tackling issues of immigration, identity, sexism, religion, and history including every kind of myth or historicity that has been produced not only in countries as for example Greece and Turkey but also in western European countries or in China and Taiwan and so on. What once was perceived as politics, labour and economy in other words the constitutional elements of the nation state and its culture, now in the gamespace of Youtube is reassigned as image and information. The rapacious spirit of financial capital nourishes various constellations of close cultures, that in the frame context of the ideology of capitalism is called ‘’variety of ways of living’’. We know from the field of cultural studies, that if the other is beyond my comprehension it is not because we are culturally ‘’so much different’’ but rather because the other is incomprehensible mainly for himself. As Slavoj Zizek claims, every culture has a blind point that frustrates it of being in harmony with itself. It is like if the cause of not understanding the meaning of a word of a foreign language is not because we do not speak it well but because of the ambiguity that exists inside the word. In the arena space of Youtube this ambiguity of the different cultural elements, cracks under the pressure of the huge amounts of information noise and becomes a simple game element that serves only to feed the speed of the race toward the rating.

Tag_8 : War, TV

Although Youtube is a meta-TV as a procedure, the framing of documentation and the handling of an issue is still as on TV. The emerging of critical thinking towards any way of myth-making and the propaganda is still the question. Maybe one could scarcely foresee the unfortunate perspective that as the reproduction possibilities and the opinion hosting in mega platforms are increased by technology, at the same time the reproduction of superstition is increased and in full use for the production of profit, and contrarily the critical thinking is minimized. In other words, the Greek – Turkish war (that at the end is an aspect of the Euro Asian war) at the Youtube is directly connected with the medium itself and the very questioning surrounding web 2.0. Slavoj Zizek says that: It is thus not the fantasy of a purely aseptic war run as a video game behind computer screens that protects us from the reality of the face to face killing of another person, on the contrary it is this fantasy of face to face encounter with an enemy killed bloodily that we construct in order to escape the Real of the depersonalised war turned into an anonymous technological operation. The lack of alternative proposals and the weakness to react towards to the platforms – crucibles of Youtube, Myspace or the metaverses like Second Life, aren’t they the Deleuzian tragedy of our times?

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Page last modified on April 23, 2008, at 12:34 PM