1. Jon Beasley-Murray - Deleuze, Guattari & the Human Security System

    Virtual Futures
    University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995
    VirtualFutures.co.uk

    This paper starts from the premise that Michel Foucault was correct to term Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus "a book of ethics... an Introduction to the Non-Fascist Life" and that thus their thought has to be historicized, read within a trajectory of thought concerning the political role of the intellectual. Moreover, I argue that in the slippage between the term "ethics" and the delineation of their project as "non-fascism" we see the function of Capitalism and Schizophrenia to be the articulation of a politics based upon ethics rather than upon morality--as Deleuze defines these terms in his reading of Spinoza. If, therefore, Deleuze's more strictly "philosophical" work outlines the space for an ethical project of immanent affirmation (as in Michael Hardt's reading of Deleuze's early work), in his collaboration with Guattari this project is re-situated within a problematic defined by the historical experience of fascism, to effect the politicization of philosophy. At the same time, however, Deleuze and Guattari manifest a pronounced distaste for the political, and fascism is seen not as an aberration but as inherent to current forms of political organization.

    Some have taken this position at face value as either apoliticism or antipoliticism. While the traditional Left criticizes them for a supposed "evasion" of politics, others celebrate Anti-Oedipus as an injunction against any form of political organization. In contrast to either of these critiques, however, I argue that Capitalism and Schizophrenia has to be re-inserted into debates surrounding the historical crisis of the political. In this context, what is under attack is a representational politics that mobilizes dependent subjectivities--either in fascism, or by political movements premised on the party or the vanguard intellectual as a dialectical counter-mobilization. On the other hand, Deleuze and Guattari see the possibility of the irruption of a new form of politics, new forms of organization, both as positive potential in May '68 or the Italian New Left, and correlatively as a continuation of an "interminable resistance" to fascism.

    Those who read Deleuze and Guattari as an evacuation of the political, then, make the dual mistake of: first, ignoring their numerous (and, in A Thousand Plateaus, increased) calls for caution, premised upon historical analysis of nazism; and second, mistaking social and philosophical affirmation for a critique of politics which would, in any event, remain merely on the level of Hegelian negation. Indeed, Capitalism and Schizophrenia is structured around the search for a response to fascism, such that the transition (and clearest difference) between the two volumes is in the discovery that the most extreme deterritorialization may return upon itself as a line of death. The anxiety this induces for Deleuze and Guattari is, I argue, in part also a function of their unresolved analysis of the role of the intellectual, and an uncertain relation to the populist sloganeering that would seem almost inevitably to accompany deterritorialization, whether formulated as "More perversion! More artifice!" or "Death to the Human Security System!"

    # vimeo.com/45822954 Uploaded 271 Plays 0 Comments
  2. David Porush - TELEPATHIES: Molly Tweaks Her Nipple, Case Jumps.

    Virtual Futures
    University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995
    VirtualFutures.co.uk

    Increasing the (speed X bandwidth) of our communication means enabling the transmission of more information with more fidelity across more of our senses. Treating the history of commtech evolution as lying on the vector of evolving telepathy - feeding the urge for intimacy - gives us a way to understand emergent recongfigurations of our relationship to the body of the Other (Stelarc-wise) and the evocation of new gods, new idolatries, a new metaphysics. I'll explore these intimations in the context of Porush's Law: The advent of the human brain on the stage of the universe makes nature obsolete.

    # vimeo.com/45735619 Uploaded 126 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Brian Massumi - Politics without Possibility (History without Limits)

    Virtual Futures
    University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995
    VirtualFutures.co.uk

    "It is not that the possible comes to be realized; rather, it is the real that makes itself possible." With this formula French philosopher Henri Bergson rejects wholesale a philosophical presupposition that is no less ingrained in contemporary cultural theory than in common sense thinking about change: that alternative possibilities pre-exist the real, and that freedom is a choice, for the future, of one possibility from among the alternatives. Bergson's rejection of the classical concept of possibility has the opposite intent from the one that might be expected from a cursory reading. The intent is not to close off the future, to enclose us in our present. On the contrary, it is the doctrine of the possible that relies on closure: for a set of alternative possibilities to coexist in the present for the future, they have to have been determined as possibilities by a past structure, which lives on through the realization of one of its permutations. In other words, the concept of possibility functions against a background of determination. It boxes us in our past, in the form of a limitative set of already-possible permutations in relation to which we can do nothing more active than choose. The doctrine of possibility attempts to add freedom to a bedrock of determination.

    Bergson denies possibility in order to bulldoze the bedrock, for the sprouts of invention. In his view, the possible arises from the real, from its emergence, always new and unforeseeable. It is this self-organizing emergence that creates its own possibility, retroactively, in a kind of temporal backwash (what Bergson calls the "retrograde movement of truth"). The emergence of the new, of which possibility is a retrospective reflection, is an openness more radical than choice. Bergson calls that inventive indetermination the "virtual." This paper explores the consequences of the Bergsonian critique of possibility for contemporary cultural theory, and in particular for identity politics and its aftermath. Its central concern is to distinguish the virtual from the possible, and to free social constructivism from its foundation in theories of determination. Chaos theory will be used to show that the concept of objective indeterminacy is not necessarily inconsistent either with autonomy or operations of power.

    # vimeo.com/45455678 Uploaded 277 Plays 0 Comments
  4. Replicunts: the Future of Cyberfeminism - Liana Borghi, Pat Cadigan, Gwyneth Jones, Francesca da Rimini, Josephine Starrs, Sadie Plant

    Virtual Futures
    University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995
    VirtualFutures.co.uk

    The virtual revolution is also a sexual revolution. All New Gen plays with cyberspace amazons, and the Puppet Mistress weaves webs on the net. What are the virtual futures of gender and sexuality? What happens to masculinity and feminity as the Cyberflesh Girlmonsters come on line? Can patriarchy survive the emergence of cyberspace? Is anything straight in a non-linear world? Does the cyborg have a sex? Is a new sexual politics - or post-politics of some kind - gathering pace in the midst of the digital revolution?

    # vimeo.com/28025256 Uploaded 1,553 Plays 0 Comments
  5. Stelarc - Erasure Zone: Obsolete, Absent & Invaded Bodies

    Virtual Futures
    University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995
    VirtualFutures.co.uk

    Stelarc is a performance artist who is interested in alternate aesthetic strategies. He has used medical, robot & virtual Reality systems to explore, extend & enhance the body's performance parameters. In the past he has acoustically & visually probed the body - having amplified brainwaves, heartbeat, bloodflow & muscle signals & filming the inside of his lungs, stomach & colon. Having defined the limitations of the body, he has developed strategies to augment its capabilities - interfacing the body with prosthetics & computer technologies. He has performed extensively overseas in art events - including new music, dance festivals and experimental theatre. He has interactively performed with his Third Hand, a Virtual Arm, a Virtual Body & a Stomach Sculpture. At present he is developing a touch-screen interface for multiple muscle stimulation - a system to enable the physical actuation & choreography of remote bodies.

    Circadian rhythms subside in the complexity of cyber-systems. Humans increasingly inhabit a ZONE OF ERASURE. Obsolete, absent & invaded bodies proliferate, facilitating THE VANISHING. It is not a "vanishing away" but rather a "vanishing to", where remaining human, being gendered or having a self are no longer meaningful concerns. Bodies need no longer be biologically affirmed but electronically erased. To be human will no longer be determined by genetic containment but will be reconfigured in circuitry. ELECTRONIC EXTRUSION. Notions of species evolution & gender distinction are remapped and redefined in alternate hybridities of human-machine. "Spoken tongues" subside in THE HUM OF THE HYBRID. Consider a body that is structured not as one free agent but whose functions are determined by multiple and spatially separate agents. This physically split STIMBOD may have one are gesturing involuntarily (remotely actuated by an unknown transmitter) whilst the other arm is enhanced by an "exoskeleton" to perform with exquisite precision & extreme speed. Its vision would not merely scan externally, but would be augmented & adjusted to a parallel VIRTUALITY which increased in intensity to compensate for the twilight of its real world. Such a body, a STIMBOD would experience its actuality as "neither all-here nor all-there." Its awareness would not be about its integrity; its authenticity would not be grounded in the coherence of its individuality, but rather in its multiplicities of agencies.

    A system has been developed for THE ACTUATION OF REMOTE BODIES. It structures unexpected interactive possibilities between spatially separated bodies. A TOUCH-SCREEN interface to a multiple-muscle stimulator allows the body's movements to be programmed by touching the muscle sites on the computer model. The sequence of motions can be replayed continuously with its LOOP FUNCTION. As well as choreography by pressing, it is possible to paste sequences together from icons in a library of predetermined movements. The IMPROVISE FUNCTION allows random motions with varying velocities to be "superimposed" onto the programmable ones - which are determined by the number of stimulator channels. The system allows simulation of the programmed movement for analysis & evaluation before transmission to actuate the remote body. At a lower stimulation level, it is a BODY PROMPTING SYSTEM; at a higher level of stimulation, it becomes a BODY ACTUATION SYSTEM. This is conceptualized not as the "remote control" of a body, but rather the means by which a motion is displaced and repositioned elsewhere. To complete a task or condition a skill from ONE BODY TO ANOTHER - IN ANOTHER PLACE. . .

    The STIMBOD system was completed with the assistance of Troy Innocent at Empire Ridge in Melbourne. STELARC IS A VISUAL ARTS/CRAFT BOARD 1994 FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENT. His artwork is solely represented by the Sherman Galleries in Sydney.

    # vimeo.com/27746768 Uploaded 330 Plays 0 Comments

Virtual Futures 1995

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Virtual Futures, University of Warwick, 26-28 May 1995

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