on swarming and other take over tactics

The recent 3-day event of Ersatzstadt (only german) occured the second time throughout a 2 year period within the city of Berlin – this time at Volksbühne – attempting to re-define/evaluate the term of the city under the title ‘Repräsentationen des Urbanen‘ (representaions of the urban). The event took a specified emphasis – according to its location – on theater/music as well as politcs and the city.
I haven’t been following through the whole event, but was lucky enough to attend the lecture builders and warriors of Eyal Weizman (known through the project Politics of Verticality/former post) on how cities become transformed into battlefields. He offered an analysis of methods of ‘restructuring’ the city through destruction, which partially already started its development in the 19th century (for unwanted or too crowded populations) and continued to show how despite to the linear technics at use back then today ‘swarming’ became also a military tactic for entering the urban territory. The systems of operation almost overtook the deleuzian notion of the rhizome and regard these now as useful tactics (see for example at rand think tank) on military levels. Weizman’s demonstration took specific example of related recent israelian tactics to move through Jenin and other palestine territories – pointing to a specific paranoia that for the arabic city it is believed that nothing is what it seems alike/window is not a window etc. – to allow using methods of ‘swarming’ up to the extreme version of ‘walking through walls’ (related documentary Moving Through Walls). This not only is done quite literally by bringing down the wall, but equally through modern technology which allows to locate people behind walls originaly considered as the last outer barrior architecture can constitute. (seemingly some comments on a similar talk by Weizman here)

Among others the paper published under Swarms, Networks and Strategy (doc file) which refers to Weizman’s earlier work also points out these changes and takeovers of strategies in contrary to the positive understandings of emerging technologies here: swarms / swarm (context).
Regarding this I thought it especially interesting that Weizman stressed in the final evening discussion that networks also support mechanisms of exclusions, as they limit themselves by their tendency to relate to similarities. These underlying structures do not allow for conflict and try to avoid differences in their search for the similar.

Drawing here on some wilder assoziations when reading a recent post on categorization by danah boyd but there might be some loose relevance to the former:

The ability to categorize is often very helpful, but this study shows how it can lead people to ignore individual details, Sloutsky said. The inappropriate use of categorization can also lead to problems such as stereotypes of groups, Sloutsky said. (link)

Surely it points toward the direction of building up predjudges, but the interesting point for me here was that a hindering/limiting form of categorization can be affected through too much knowledge. If one now tends to equate todays steady humonguos flow of information with knowledge – something I would not rationally agree to – but it happens alot of times that it is misinterpreted in this way, makes me want to re-think more carefully emerging structures.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One thought on “on swarming and other take over tactics

Comments are closed.