Friday, 1 February 2013

continent. 2.4 (2013)

“There are no great utopian texts after the widespread introduction of computers,” Fredric Jameson remarked recently, “the last being Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia of 1975, where computers are not yet in service.”

Today, instead of utopian texts, we have the free­market deliria of cyberpunk, which assumes that capitalism is itself a kind of utopia of difference and variety. I think this failure of imagination on the left can be attributed to the assumption that computers are enough to “take care” of totalization: that the well­nigh infinite complexities of production on a global scale, which the mind can scarcely accommodate, are mysteriously...resolvable inside the computer’s black box and thus no longer need to be dealt with conceptually or representationally.

The end of the utopian text thus signals for Jameson an end to representation. Or at the very least it indicates that representation—as complicated or flawed as it might be under otherwise normal conditions—has been interrupted and outsourced to another domain entirely.

Laruelle and Art
Alexander R. Galloway
continent. 2.4 (2013): 230–236

*Fredric Jameson, “In Soviet Arcadia,” New Left Review 75 (May­June 2012): 119­127, p. 125.

1 comment:

  1. There is Iain M. Banks' Culture series novels and it can be considered as a "computer-assisted anarchy", to borrow the term of Yannick Rumpala (see "Artificial intelligences and political organization: an exploration based on the science fiction work of Iain M. Banks," Technology in Society, Volume 34, Issue 1, 2012).