Brian Holmes's blog

Periodization, again

Here's the difficulty I have with Kondratiev waves: it really seems to take two waves to create a complete cycle. What Perez calls a "technological style" actually unfolds over two Kondratiev waves. Between the two there is a regulation crisis with some kind of "successful" resolution (although it is very hard to call WWII "successful"); and then at the end, a kind of chaotic period during which the technological style begins to change.

Continental Drift through the Pampa

Recently I and Claire Pentecost went on an artistic research trip in Argentina with local collaborators. What we call a "Continental Drift." This was a perceptual encounter with the productive processes of a country subject to intense neoliberal restructuring. Hopefully next year we will do more collaborative research in a public seminar context in Buenos Aires, both to define Argentina's position as a hi-tech agro-exporter within Neoliberal Informationalism, and to contribute in some small way to the political breakdown of that hegemony, which is being actively sought by many on the official Argentine left. In the meantime you can read the one post I wrote in English during the experience:

Three Crises: 30s-70s-Now. A self-organized seminar at Mess Hall in Chicago.

Here is the outline of an autonomous technopolitics course which I plan to co-teach next fall with a Chicago collective. The focus is on US conditions but it's meant to have use-value for everyone involved, whether close or afar. Significant comments will result in changes to the outline. Selected readings and a full bibliography will eventually be added.

The Stalder/Holmes debate on technopolitics

This continues the series of "Three nettime posts on the Egyptian Uprising." Felix launched this debate by suggesting that the fall of Mubarak was the end of the process of eliminating outmoded central-planning and dictatorial state-forms that started in 1989. I proposed it was beginning of the breakdown of a 30-year attempt to stabilize the new conditions of globalization. The discussion then shifted onto technopolitical ground in the posts below, as I tried to describe the paradigm of neoliberal informationalism and Felix sorted out what he would and would not accept in that description. This pushed me to finally accept (in a slightly modified form) the idea that the current crisis is a regulation crisis of informationalism. Great debate!

Do Containers Dream of Electric People?

This article is a first attempt to specify some technical and conceptual aspects of the productive process under Informationalism, and to cut through some of the ideology surrounding it. The text suggests the role of the imaginary both in enabling and potentially disabling this social form (i.e. the value-form as expressed in contemporary society); but it doesn't deal with the integrative processes. Some research on migrant labor struggles in the US intermodal and warehouse sectors is underway, so hopefully we will publish something on it soon. All comments welcome, changes can still be made. Thanks to Armin for the just-in-time critique on version 1.0.

Ten Postulates for Technopolitics


Special tag: 

The point of the technopolitics project is not so much to carry out an original historical analysis of industrial capitalism, but instead, to test and modify the existing theories and then use them for engaged cultural critique. That requires a lot of reading and evaluating of ideas. To get through the existing literature without getting lost along the way, we’ll periodically have to reformulate what we're talking about. Each reformulation will add something, subtract something, forget something; but the essence is to keep on working cooperatively. To that end I want to propose ten postulates. They revisit what has already been written in the programmatic text on technopolitics, but with a different emphasis, mainly in terms of geography, culture and the cumulative nature of historical sequences. They're not set in stone, just some departure points, and it may be that a magical eleventh postulate is needed. Here they are:

Vision in Networks (1)


Special tag: 

Whether it originates from statistical tabulation or remote sensors, whether it flows in real time or out of recombinant databases, whether it serves the needs of private individuals, globe-spanning corporations or government agencies, information visualization is the operative technology of the networked age, a language of vision for the control society. Infoviz proliferates on the screens of factory workstations, financial trading floors, military commands and surveillance watchspots, everywhere that decisive movements are subject to managerial scrutiny.


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