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"There Is No Information, Only Transformation"
An Interview with Bruno Latour
By Geert Lovink and Pit Schultz
[From Hybrid Workspace, Documenta X, Kassel, August 16, 1997]
Bruno Latour (Paris) is a philosopher, specialized in the anthropology of
science and technology. He is a professor at the Centre of the Sociology
of Innovation at the l'Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris.
He is called "one of today's most acute, if idiosyncratic, thinkers about
science and society." Amongst his books, published by Harvard University
Press, one can find "We have never been modern", "Aramis, or the love of
technology" and "The Pasteurization of France". His Documenta lecture can
be seen or heard at: http://www.mediaweb-tv.de/dx/0816/gaeste_frame.html
Geert Lovink: At the moment there are two concepts of the computer: an
abstract, computational machine, based on mathematics and language.
Opposed to this we have the future computer as an image processing device,
an interactive television set. How do look at this distinction between the
language based machine versus the image based medium?
Bruno Latour: I do not believe that computers are abstract. There is a very interesting article, 'On the Origin of Objects' by a computer philosopher called Brian Cantwell-Smith, in a book about digital print.
He made the comment that the fact that there is (either) 0 and (or) 1
has absolutely no connection with the abstractness. It is actually
very concrete, never 0 and 1 (at the same time). The distinction you
suggested is slightly misleading. The origin of this (distinction) is
lying in the notion of information. There is only transformation.
Information as something which will be carried through space and time,
without deformation, is a complete myth. People who deal with the
technology will actually use the practical notion of transformation. From
the same bytes, in terms of 'abstract encoding', the output you get is
entirely different, depending on the medium you use. Down with
information. It is a bad view on science and a bad rendering of
contemporary critique of images, all this fight against the
What’s Left: Materialist Responses to the Internet
Forum Building Digital Commons and Collaborative Communities
29th–30th October 2011, Barcelona, Catalonia & Online
Building Digital Commons and Collaborative Communities is a new initiative aiming to bring together individuals, collective and organizations from different Free and Open Collaborative Communities, Digital Commons Initiatives and Researchers in the area to identify ways to support and learn from each other and collaborate in order to promote together digital commons.
Swiss Author p.m. Introduces New Edition of His Anarchist Classic, "bolo'bolo"
7 PM Saturday, June 25, 2011
Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street, New York City
The Swiss author p.m. will introduce the new "30th Anniversary Edition" of his anarchist classic text, "bolo'bolo," published by Autonomedia.
Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in New York City
Release party @ ABC No Rio // Tues May 17 6-8pm
ABC No Rio 156 Rivington Street
Art Gangs is a survey of several recent well known artists’ organizations in New York City which rose to prominence between 1969 and 1985, a period of political challenge and institutional change within the art world. In 1969 New York City artists formed the Art Workers Coalition to pressure the Museum of Modern Art for artists' rights and to take a stand against the Vietnam War. Over the next fifteen years, successor organizations continued political action on issues from cultural equity to U.S. foreign policy, and refined the modes of cultural activism. These groups developed new art exhibition spaces, new styles of exhibition, and collective ways of working. Today's diverse and politically conscious contemporary art world is deeply indebted to their example.
International School for Bottom-up Organizing
The International School for Bottom-up Organizing (ISBO) had its first meeting in
October, 2008, with representatives from five countries present.
Ours is an international struggle that must be led by the poorest and
darkest, especially women. We all need the same freedom and equality; we
all have the same oppressors, worldwide. Our movement will work toward an
internationalist, egalitarian world. We foresee a world in which the genius
and creativity of humanity is unleashed, in which all humans share and
Los Angeles, Feb. 12, 2011
Call for Papers
[“The notion of “heterology” refers to the ways in which the meaningful fabric of the sensible is disturbed: a spectacle does not fit within the sensible framework defined by a network of meanings, an expression does not find its place in the system of the visible coordinates where it appears. The dream of a suitable political work of art is in fact the dream of disrupting the relationship between the visible, the sayable and the thinkable without having to use the terms of a message or a vehicle. It is the dream of an art that would transmit meanings in the form of a rupture with the very logic of meaningful situations. As a matter of fact, political art cannot work in the simple form of a meaningful spectacle that would lead to an “awareness” of the state of the world. Suitable political art would have a double effect: the readability of a political signification and a sensible or perceptual shock caused, conversely, by the uncanny, that which resists signification.” -Ranciere, The Politics of Aesthetics/The Distribution of the Sensible]
Julian Assange describes a "corrosive servility” that has come to infuse present day life and our resignation towards the established political order. As we, as bourgeois bohemians, buy organic at Trader Joe’s, dutifully download Democracy Now episodes and make sure to buy the next Arundhati Roy bestseller as glib gestures of a boutique liberalism in between lining up recommendations for our MFA applications, a tacit acceptance of our impotence in the face of a repugnant sociopolitical order, verging on involuntary complicity, is so hackneyed so as to not even need to be stated.