Thursday, 19 March 2015

Chun | On Software, or the Persistence of Visual Knowledge

Software has become a commonsense shorthand for culture and hardware a shorthand for nature. (In the current debate over stem cell research, stem cells have been called “hardware.”Historically software also facilitated the separation of pattern from matter, necessary for the separation of genes from DNA.
In our so-called postideological society, software sustains and depoliticizes notions of ideology and ideology critique. People may deny ideology, but they don’t deny software—and they attribute to software, metaphorically, greater powers than have been attributed to ideology. Our interactions with software have disciplined us, created certain expectations about cause and effect, offered us pleasure and power that we believe should be transferable elsewhere. The notion of software has crept into our critical vocabulary in mostly uninterrogated ways. By interrogating software and the visual knowledge it perpetuates, we can move beyond the so-called crisis in indexicality toward under-
standing the new ways in which visual knowledge is being transformed and perpetuated, not simply displaced or rendered obsolete

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