Commit a5c09cdd authored by Colm O'Neill's avatar Colm O'Neill

partiacl transcription of the MACBA SON(I)A podcast with Zach Blas on the…

partiacl transcription of the MACBA SON(I)A podcast with Zach Blas on the subjects of Totalisation and nodocentric vs paranodal understanding of networks
parent 9a87e6be
Title: Zach Blas interview transcriptions
Date: 2017/05/25
* 05:22:
So part of the way I started thinking about this idea the internet, I was using a lot of queer and feminist writers to do this is to think of the internet as something like a totality today, like something that in the sense of the totality is a term that's developed in political philosophy often used to talk about capitalism in Marxist writings as not having an outside. Capitalism is a totality, there is nothing outside of it, but, there are these incredible, bad ass, feminists philosophers, JK Gibson-Graham, two women that write under the same name, that wrote a book in the 90s called 'The end of capitalism as we know it'. This book is totally mind blowing because they take all these men to task, saying, what is up with this kind of masculinist gesture of needing to define capitalism as a totally because then if you are supposedly an anti-capitalist, you're basically denying yourself the possibility of what you want. So if you're an anti-capitalist and you choose to define capitalism as a totality how the fuck do you ever get to any kind of anti-capitalist practice or way of existing in the world. So what they do is that they take this different approach to defining capitalism saying; there are actually tons of economic alternatives in existence right now within the supposedly totalised frame of capilatism, and they call this post-capitalist practices. They developped a lot of their subsequent work exploring these alternatives to capitalism that are existing within capitalism. So I took inspiration from that and started to thinking about contra-internet in a similar way where you could see even thought the internet seems like this totalised thing with no alternative, it's just Facebook from here to eternity, em actually, thee are alternative network practices happening today that undermine that totality of the internet, so that was really interesting and appealing to me. But then there is one more other step, so that's kind of maybe the more practical aspect, but literally these are things that are actually happening in the world, but then, I was really taken in Preciados book by the use of the dildo. I really like the dildo in that book a lot. What is super interesting is that the dildo, Preciado develops this practice, at one point he calls it a science of contra-sexuality, dildo tectonics, dildotectonics it's not just about the dildo as an object it becomes like a conceptual operator to undo norms of sexuality so, Preciado won't let the dildo fall into something that is patriarchal or phallo centric basically the dildo can't be reduced to a penis, that's the point. Working with the dildo, using it undoes all assumptions of naturalised sexuality, and he develops a set of practices to experiment with dildotectonics, like drawing a dildo on your arm and masturbating it. So my question became so if the dildo for Preciado is this diagrammatic form that is able to undo norms of sexuality what is that for the internet? So What are the dildo tectonics of the internet.
Now the answer that a lot of people have said to me is basically, oh it's a network. Because networks are forms, more broadly forms that are part of the Internet, but the internet could be understood as networks, but networks aren't necessarily the internet. However, I don't think that's the right answer, I actually think the network is a deeply hegemonic form today, it's kind of the dominant form that is used to explain a lot social reality, like everything gets explained as a network today, so I find that boring and uninteresting. The question is; OK if it's not a network, then what is it. What is that form that the dildo does for sexuality, like what is that in the internet? As far as I've gotten with that, I've gotten to this idea of the paranode. I really like this idea of the paranode. I really like the idea of the paranode, developped by Ulises Ali Meijas in his book off the network, the last chapter in that book is amazing, the outside of networks as a method for acting in the world, and then taking on this idea of phallocentrism, he offers this term of nodo-centrism. Because if your understand how networks are, they are like nodes and edges, dots and lines, and nodocentrism has become the dominant way in which we organise social reality today, its a hegemonic form in this world. So what would be the queer method be there, it would be to disrupt that, and take a different path, a more minoritarian path, so he offers this concept of the Paranode, and he describes that as the paranode is beyond the topological limits of these nodes and edges, so if you look at a diagram of distributed networks it has a lot in it, dots and lines going every which way, but there is is a lot of space that is crissed crossed in that diagram, hes talking about that space in that diagram. It looks like it's fully within this diagram, but its actually outside of the network topology. That's not negative space, this is positive space that the network way of thinking can't account for. That space is like is interesting and important and we need to be thinking more about this space that the network diagram leaves out. That seems like a pretty good starting point for trying to get to some sort of dildotectonics of the internet.
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