[NetBehaviour] Accelerationist aesthetics

Gretta Louw gretta.elise.louw at gmail.com
Sun Apr 24 03:33:27 CEST 2016


This makes so much sense to me, thank you Ruth. I see so much of this in Europe, North America and the western, urban mainstream; an utter inability (and, probably, unwillingness) to look outside our own narrowly defined cultural lens when purportedly studying/attempting to understand technology, media, digitalisation, and their impacts. It hampers real discussion and cross-fertilization of ideas. Preaching to the (mostly white, educated, urban, western, northern) choir - as most tech/ digital/ futurist and possibly accelerationist (I hope I'm wrong about the last one, still too early to tell) festivals/meetings/discussion do - is a futile endeavor and exhausting to watch. Diversification is essential, but the way the discourse has developed around diversity actually is counterproductive to achieving greater diversity. Just as an example, there are studies that have shown that reminding applicants of their 'diverse' (one must ask, according to whom, diverse from what??) background in a job ad by specifically stating that one is an equal opportunities employer etc, will in fact reduce the number of applicants from diverse backgrounds.

I am rambling, but this issue is always tacked on to the sidelines of debates around the pressing issues of our time; an afterthought or a nod to political correctness. It needs to be at the core: we should not discuss these issues unless we have sufficiently broad input, otherwise we are just talking ourselves into insignificance. NB: I am talking generally and from some disappointing experiences at European 'digital futures'-type round tables and panels, not about netbehaviourists. I do think that we all need to take a much more radical approach to inclusivity though. Let's not participate in mutual back-slapping or hand-wringing with ppl only from our own sub-cultures...

All the best to everyone, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. xx

> On 23 Apr 2016, at 21:54, ruth catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org> wrote:
> 
> Here Baruch Gottlieb reviews “Inventing the Future”by Srnicek & Williams  (co-authors of the Accelerationst Manifesto)
> https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/inventing-future-beholden-present-review/2016/04/08
> 
> He says
> 
> "visions or projects for teleportation, nano-surgery and socialist Mars colonies, are not going to convince capitalists to stop attacking socially produced value every way they can. We need more fundamental knowledge about how the present is reproduced in this first place, the legacy of colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and slavery in the very devices we use to understand such things, and we need social and cultural technologies to integrate that consciousness into new behaviours, new sociabilities, new modes of exchange."
> 
> 
>> On 23/04/16 13:15, ruth catlow wrote:
>> So is this the accelerationist aesthetics question?
>> 
>> Q. How can we as artists and people use the logics & tools of automation and markets as part of making better art and better life for us all?
>> 
>> : )
> Tom said
>> 
>>>>> when it appeared that the prognostications of the first wave of
>> accelerationists had partly came true: namely, that the accelerations
>> inherent in capitalism, specifically the tendency to mobilize more
>> surplus labour and resources at greater rates of efficiency and
>> abstraction, would exacerbate the system's inherent contradictions to a
>> catastrophic point. Only partly came true though: the system did not
>> collapse but massively reorganized itself (all those would-be John Galts
>> suddenly all too happy to accept government bail-outs, massive
>> expropriation of assets from the poor). This required a recalibration of
>> the theses of that first wave of accelerationists, a recalibration that
>> perhaps either is reflected in art, or in which<<<
>> 
>> The unfettered development of automation and market-forces is currently seen as the preserve of people on the political right (who seek to preserve the status quo or enhance their wealth and power). But who may at some points ask for time-out (and bail-outs) in order to re-set their position of advantage.
>> 
>> Rob said
>> 
>> If I was trolling I'd argue that if you're on the left you're either a
>> conscious or an unconscious accelerationist. But it's possible to do
>> things in an un-Accelerationist way - it's not an inescapable or
>> inevitable cultural condition.
>> 
>> Yes, this is why I declared myself an Accelerationist- it was not a proud declamation (a la 'I'm a feminist and I'm proud') more an admission (a la, the declaration at meetings of people participating in the 12 step programme).
>> 
>> What I think is worth reflecting on (even if only idly) in this
>> discussion is whether there is anything in one's own life or work that
>> this strategy would be productive for. What could each of us better
>> understand and reason about (in some sense) so as to be able to better
>> change it?
>> 
>> Both these points indicate something that Left Accelerationism has been
>> criticised for from various angles - it is a *selective* acceleration.
>> 
>> 
>> Left Accelerationists are critiqued as these social-power-tools (of automation and market-forces) are seen as inherently dehumanising and destructive of solidarity and freedom?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> On 23/04/16 02:49, Rob Myers wrote:
>>>> On 22/04/16 03:27 AM, ruth catlow wrote:
>>>> Not that we all need to be in an unending frenzy of communication and
>>>> exchange. More that we have ever-more nuanced ways to sense the
>>>> significance of different kinds of participation: in a loop of unwitting
>>>> participation and active collaboration and organisation.
>>> I think this (and Simon & Pall's conversation) raises two important
>>> points about "Accelerationism".
>>> 
>>> The first is that contemporary society appears to have speeded up
>>> anyway. We can debate whether progress or the economy has stalled, but
>>> our experience of life seems to involve the compression of time by
>>> technology and by socioeconomic demands.
>>> 
>>> The obvious critic of this kind of speed and acceleration, as Paul
>>> mentioned, is Virilio. Who I think relates speed to power in a way that
>>> makes sense of our experience of it as disenfranchising.
>>> 
>>> Wanting to slow down from *this* kind of acceleration isn't a bad thing
>>> and is in fact the end point of MAP/Fixing The Future -style
>>> Accelerationism: let's get the machines to do the busy-work so we can do
>>> something actually useful with our time instead.
>>> 
>>> The second is that Accelerationism isn't a historical epoch like
>>> postmodernism or globalisation. It's a *strategy*.
>>> 
>>> If I was trolling I'd argue that if you're on the left you're either a
>>> conscious or an unconscious accelerationist. But it's possible to do
>>> things in an un-Accelerationist way - it's not an inescapable or
>>> inevitable cultural condition.
>>> 
>>> What I think is worth reflecting on (even if only idly) in this
>>> discussion is whether there is anything in one's own life or work that
>>> this strategy would be productive for. What could each of us better
>>> understand and reason about (in some sense) so as to be able to better
>>> change it?
>>> 
>>> Both these points indicate something that Left Accelerationism has been
>>> criticised for from various angles - it is a *selective* acceleration.
>>> 
>>>> I am currently showing a live networked video piece, I created with
>>>> Gareth Foote, called /Time is Speeding Up/ at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre
>>>> up in Scunthorpe as part of the show We Are Not Alone. I have no idea
>>>> whether this is an Accelerationist artwork.
>>> It's increasing our ability to perceive and reason about our situation,
>>> so quite possibly.
>>> 
>>>> I agonized about the aesthetics of the work- at first- so un-"cool", so
>>>> un-cyber - because the humans are so alive AND they make the work.
>>>> But now I'm really happy with it and would like to assert a place for
>>>> this almost folksy aesthetic (rather than a rush to slick, black
>>>> fluidity) in post-capitalist art.
>>> Bladerunner's lived-in street-culture future is paradigmatically cyber,
>>> but I do know what you mean. The work is qualitative (or has a strong
>>> qualitative element), and this is in contrast to the strong quantitative
>>> bias of shiny information graphics and *some* proposals for
>>> Accelerationist aesthetics.
>>> 
>>> - Rob.
>>> 
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>>> NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
>>> http://www.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> 
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