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Recreational Data. „Currency Zones of the Future.“ 2011. PDF file.
Capitalism, flows, the decoding of flows, capitalism and schizophrenia, psychoanalysis, Spinoza.

What is it that moves over the body of a society? It is always flows, and a person is always a cutting off [coupure] of a flow. A person is always a point of departure for the production of a flow, a point of destination for the reception of a flow, a flow of any kind; or, better yet, an interception of many flows.

If a person has hair, this hair can move through many stages: the hairstyle of a young girl is not the same as that of a married woman, it is not the same as that of a widow: there is a whole hairstyle code. A person, insofar as she styles her hair, typically presents herself as an interceptor in relation to flows of hair that exceed her and exceed her case and these flows of hair are themselves coded according to very different codes: widow code, young girl code, married woman code, etc. This is ultimately the essential problem of coding and of the territorialization which is always coding flows with it, as a fundamental means of operation: marking persons (because persons are situated at the interception and at the cutting off [coupure] of flows, they exist at the points where flows are cut off [coupure]).

But, now, more than marking persons--marking persons is the apparent means of operation--coding has a deeper function, that is to say, a society is only afraid of one thing: the deluge; it is not afraid of the void, it is not afraid of dearth or scarcity. Over a society, over its social body, something flows [coule] and we do not know what it is, something flows that is not coded, and something which, in relation to this society, even appears as the uncodable. Something which would flow and which would carry away this society to a kind of deterritorialization which would make the earth upon which it has set itself up dissolve: this, then, is the crisis. We encounter something that crumbles and we do not know what it is, it responds to no code, it flees underneath the codes; and this is even true, in this respect, for capitalism, which for a long time believed it could always secure simili-codes; this, then, is what we call the well-known power [puissance] of recuperation within capitalism--when we say recuperate we mean: each time something seems to escape capitalism, seems to pass beneath its simili-codes; it reabsorbs all this, it adds one more axiom and the machine starts up again; think of capitalism in the 19th century: it sees the flowing of a pole of flow that is, literally, a flow, the flow of workers, a proletariat flow: well, what is this which flows, which flows wickedly and which carries away our earth, where are we headed? The thinkers of the 19th century have a very strange response, notably the French historical school: it was the first in the 19th century to have thought in terms of classes, they are the ones who invent the theoretical notion of classes and invent it precisely as an essential fragment of the capitalist code, namely: the legitimacy of capitalism comes from this: the victory of the bourgeoisie as a class opposed to the aristocracy.

The system that appears in the works of Saint Simon, A. Thierry, E. Quinet is the radical seizure of consciousness by the bourgeoisie as a class and they interpret all of history as a class struggle. It is not Marx who invents the understanding of history as a class struggle, it is the bourgeois historical school of the 19th century: 1789, yes, it is a class struggle, they are struck blind when they see flowing, on the actual surface of the social body, this weird flow that they do not recognize: the proletariat flow. The idea that this is a class is not possible, it is not one at this moment: the day when capitalism can no longer deny that the proletariat is a class, this coincides with the moment when, in its head, it found the moment to recode all this. That which we call the power [puissance] of recuperation of capitalism, what is it?

[It consists] in having at its disposal a kind of axiomatic, and when it sets upon [dispose de] some new thing which it does not recognize, as with every axiomatic, it is an axiomatic with a limit that cannot be saturated: it is always ready to add one more axiom to restore its functioning. When capitalism can no longer deny that the proletariat is a class, when it comes to recognize a type of class bipolarity, under the influence of workers‘ struggles in the 19th century, and under the influence of the revolution, this moment is extraordinarily ambiguous, for it is an important moment in the revolutionary struggle, but it is also an essential moment in capitalist recuperation: I make you one more axiom, I make you axioms for the working class and for the union power [puissance] that represents them, and the capitalist machine grinds its gears and starts up again, it has sealed the breach. In other words, all the bodies of a society are essential: to prevent the flowing over society, over its back, over its body, of flows that it cannot code and to which it cannot assign a territoriality.

Need, scarcity, famine, a society can code these, what it cannot code, is when this thing appears, when it says to itself: what is up with these guys? So, in a first phase, the repressive apparatus puts itself into motion, if we can‘t code it, we will try to annihilate it. In a second phase, we try to find new axioms which allow it to be recoded for better or worse.
A social body is well defined as follows: there is perpetual trickery, flows flow over from one pole to another, and they are perpetually coded, and there are flows that escape from the codes and then there is the social effort to recuperate all that, to axiomatize all this, to manipulate the code a little, so as to make room for flows that are also dangerous: all of a sudden, there are young people who do not respond to the code: they insist on having a flow of hair which was not expected, what shall we do now? We try to recode it, we will add an axiom, we will try to recuperate [it] but then [if] there is something within it that continues not to let itself be coded, what then?

Anna Munster. Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics. Hanover: Dartmouth, 2006. 256pp. $23.89 (pbk also available in cloth) (978-1-58465-558-9).

[1] Anna Munster, in Materializing New Media, suggests that the body still has a place in a digital world. She discusses the mind body duality inherited from Cartesian modes of thinking. This binary privileges the mind over the body, or the digital over the physical. The digital emphasis on information encourages the domination and subjugation of the physical by the mental. This privileging leads to a notion of the posthuman where antihumanism barely conceals antimaterialism. The superior positioning of the machine and intellect gives technology a utopian and transcendental place. The machine provides the means to reconfigure human biology digitally—to remake the human, to perfect it by moving beyond embodiment. Munster’s book addresses the problems of a digital culture stuck in these Cartesian modes of thinking where binary logic forces a series of oppositions between mind and body, intellectual and physical. Because the theoretical underpinnings of the sciences influence new digital technologies, previous knowledge systems and conceptions that promoted the disembodied self have passed on their beliefs to digital theory which subsequently functions as influencing and being influenced by society and culture. Munster proposes a more flexible theory of the machine using baroque theory. This theory allows interconnections between the material, social, political, economic, and aesthetic spheres.

[2] Munster argues for a broader complication of information theory through a concept of the digital as baroque. The digital unfolds genealogically from differential relationships between the physical and the technological. Baroque theory places the binary pairs that inhabit digital culture into forces impinging upon each other rather than excluding each other. The convergence and divergence of these areas produces infinite mutating outcomes. The differential and its folding become the key element to her theory. Specifically in chapter one, Munster’s discussion of the baroque presents an organized and folded structure of matter, although differentiated between its parts, yet connected and separated continuously. „The fold entwines two important issues for information aesthetics: the production of contemporary embodiment—the corporeal experiences of living in and through information culture—and the relation of this to its aesthetic, epistemological and ontological genealogies“ (31). 1900 minus 1.-cos nos,-