biopolitical era – reality derived from neurospace

The following excerpts extracted from a text (as pdf) of Matteo Pasquinelli (published at rekombinat) made me follow a few diverse threads to finally deceide on this loose interweaving pattern of paragraphs and links for this post. As the text itself is a combination of thought passages it is eventually the most appropriate method of access towards the theme:

M.Pasquinelli’s text will lead to the repositioning of the biopolitical as a central point of approach .. as stated by Zizek in his rearrangement of Agamben’s expressions: (.. quoted from the chapter “From Homo Sucker to Homo Sacer” of the book ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’) :

“What if the true problem is not the fragile status of the excluded but rather the fact that on the most elementary level, we are excluded in the sense that our most elementary, zero position is that of an object of biopolitics and that possible political and citizenship rights are given to us as a secondary gesture in accordance with biopolitical strategic considerations. What if this is the ultimate consequence of the notion of post-politics?”

This excerpt leads already close to Pasquinelli’s final conclusion of the biopolitical turn with an emphasis on Guattari’s understanding of the role of media as a general support for the prodution of subjectivities:

.. In other words, in neurospace we witness the “biopolitical production” described by post-structuralist and post-workerist thought at work, and in particular those new strategies Hardt and Negri call generically “biopolitical weapons”. What is emerging is a new subculture of artists of the neurospace, coders of neurobots, hackers of new semiotechnologies, engineers of collective subjectivities.

So after this roll-up from the end .. what is his understanding of neurospace?

Neurospace as an immanent plane of desire
Close to the notorious pair cyberspace and mediascape, there is another family of concepts trying to arrange a spatial paradigm with respect to the dimension of desire and psyche, also called by Bateson “ecology of mind”. As we have shown above, the issue of space cannot be separated from the field of desires and conflicts producing it: on the contrary, many technology-based approaches still consider space as a neutral background, an implicit and unconscious a priori. Within the history of emotional spaces we cannot forget concepts such as situation, drift, psychogeography and Unified Urbanism conceived by the Situationists in the 50’s. But the spatial evolution we are following, indeed, has extended beyond the urban and architectural fields to
establish the immaterial spaces of mindscape and psychosphere.

Guattari claimed that “an ecology of the virtual is just as pressing as ecologies of the visible world”. It is thanks to such an awareness that today we talk of an “ecology of media”, the Adbusters magazine claims to be a “journal of the mental environment”, and new strategies of media activism and cultural jamming have been developed.
Starting from the 50’s such terms as mediscape and mindscape have been overlapping and showing the unconscious and instinctive background of our relationship with mass media and collective imagery. Ballard’s The atrocity exhibition is the ideal description of the symbiosis between mindscape, landscape, mediascape.

The consensual hallucination of information/metaspace enters the sphere of bodies and nervous systems:

… according to Gibson cyberspace is not a virtual reality but a space of metadata: “A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system”. Around that information space or metaspace a “consensual hallucination” rises up, i.e. something at the same time more abstract and more physical than a computer-simulated reality. Cyberspace is inserted into bodies and nervous systems of Gibson’s characters: it is already a neurospace (in his novels altered states of mind caused by synthetic drugs cannot be distinguished from the experience of cyberspace).

.. from Abu Ghraib pictures to celebrity porn … – the neurospace forms a short-circuit between collective and individual mind – it is defined by the appearance of an interactive collective imagery through digital connectivity which colonizes the space outside the net ….

By the term neurospace we want to mean the evolution and integration of previous media into a networked space where collective and invidual nervous systems are deeply linked each other through a high-density connective tissue made of devices, signs, images, objects, data, prostheses. The prefix neuro is for the connection of technological networks with the nervous system network, whose terminals can be devices, brands, goods, images, material or immaterial objects (as in the schizophrenic body Deleuze and Guattari depict in Anti-Oedipus). The neurospace is the contemporary short-circuit between collective and individual mind: it is also the field of paranoid and identitarian investments, where individual desires gather and turn into power.

The neurospace shows up clearly when old media mass imagery merges new media networked imagery to shape a connective imagery. From Abu Ghraib pictures spread out on the net to amateur porn videos Paris Hilton uses to shape her stardom, we are entering a sort of interactive collective imagery. The net is extending its rhizomic roots and make a network of everything it meets: images, devices, goods, brands and so on. We refer to neurospace as an extension of traditional network into an augmented space: from internet to locative media to augmented reality, not only devices but also simulacra and brands become “partical objects” of a networked envinroment. In this way, the neurospace stratifies the history of space seen above: cyberspace, augmented reality, locative media, infosphere and Spectacle (i.e. infoteinment), noosphere and brandscape, mass and net imagery, and of course mediascape, mindscape, landscape. The neurospace is more a schizoanalitical than a technological space, embracing the semiotic dimension (information), the cognitive dimension (collective knowledge and intelligence), the prosthetic dimension (technology), the iconic dimension (media and spectacle), the biopolitical dimension (bodies and libidinal investments).

.. to be continued …

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