[iDC] Class and the Internet, New Capitalism, and (True New) Socialism for the 21st Century

Sean Cubitt scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Sat Jun 27 04:35:16 UTC 2009

Slowly mulling the class-consciousness thing, and also reminded otherwise of
Roy Ascott¹s facsination with consciousness in another sense, I began to
wonder whether there is mileage in the rather passé but still geologically
presumed heideggerian thesis of the standing ­reserve (no, I¹m not a
heideggerian, on the contrary ­ but the idea has constantly to be struggled
with in history of media/technology)

Today the standing-reserve is not just the unconscious material world. It
includes the human ­ as population, as biomass, as mechanism of aggregate
consumption. The question about conscdiousness is whether (to use another
heiddegger word) Œthinking¹  is already party to this conversion of humanity
into standing-reserve, either when, as in de Landa¹s case, we popularise the
idea of humanity as biomass etc; or when by refusing to self-publish the
self-censor the virtuality (capacity to create the new) of new thinking? Ie,
again, damned if we do and damned if we don¹t

If we understand the standing-reserve as biopolitical and commodifying, we
can add some terms: it concerns averages, and it concerns whole-number
enumeration. It thus misses both the specificity and the Œstarting¹
micro-conditions and so opens itself up to cascading chaotic and emergent
structures in spite of itself. This is one way of thinking the schiz as a
political consciousness which is nonetheless neither unified nor pleasant to
experience. The periodic return to order from such chaotic episodes (as I
think happened in the disciplining and monetarisation of the pre-dot-bomb
web) may then be predictable but nonetheless not without influence (see also
post-countercultural hip capitalism)

Sorry to blip in and out of existence like this: I appear to be powered by
an improbability drive

Prof Sean Cubitt
scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
M: 0448 304 004
Skype: seancubitt

Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series

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