drafting a few upcoming themes for the Transmigrations (May 16)… and random news

So the next level of Transmigrations will be presented at New College Theater May 16th and we are gathering a few new perspectives:

- Assessing the virtual migration

1. Many in the field of Artificial Intelligence have come to the conclusion that intelligence has no bearings without a body, that is to say, without reference to a body, intelligence is reduced to a pile of data. Considering this angle it is interesting, if not urgent, to note that media increasingly produces environments where information is shared but extracts experience, physical and personal. In addition ( or subtraction) the new media labyrinth becomes an obsession and a race for the “knowledge is power” game quite similar to Craig Venter’s rush to capitalize on the human genome and life science industries, which in the end is merely snatching a crude map of living forms. A map which many have argued is a fake, incomplete, a facade, a shopping list, an agenda, a property deed. In any case imagine travelling backwards toward life from a ( a hybrid micro-biologist /stocks trader/ used car salesman’s) map rather than onward through the act of living. Well our disembodied media routes to knowledge are cutting a parallel trail through that wilderness of owners and “first there” fetishists.

2.Upon revisiting some of Ivan Illich’s writings on “DeSchooling Society”, we found an extraordinary chapter on highways, which illuminates a serious deviation from, and confusion of, public works. The highway, he says, is hardly a public utility which serves mobility, rather it serves a scheme for channeling consumers towards dependence on a commodity, the private vehicle. Ironically the metaphor and functions of the “super-highway” can similarly be deconstructed. Information on these sprawling pathways has set the stage for the antithesis of the public resource, i.e. libraries. Take Nicholas Negroponte’s new marketing plan for the impoverished South, “Every Child A Computer !” we will recognize the counterfeit social/education contract as the new strip-mall virtual empire, regardless of how cheap (and as quickly obsolete) they may be made available. Currently targeted at around $100 a pop, he imagines the circus crowds mesmerized by turning the info-elephant into a take-away-size social dung heap. Keep in mind that even this small sum to a child in a Brazillian favela is immense, and as a solution to the existing problems resembles the charity of a cathode ray manufacturer who would supply a starving family with a television. Hungry for knowledge and new maps, absolutely, but more acutely a new system through which to nourish and navigate as a collective humanity respecting the variable situations, levels and needs.

3. Assuming you are one of those average 1st world equipped- a computer, a car, a cellphone, a television, and probably more ) you may not yet have realized that you have already crossed the threshold of living more hours per day in virtual reality and transitory modes than in your own voluntary body functions. Virtual realities are not some abandoned consumer hype, you are already there, and the industry would probably do best to Not remind you that that 90s escapist zeal for pay-as-u-go simulacra tasted like styrofoam no matter how many new ingredients you added. The difference now is that this is no longer about constructing vacation spots, theme parks, playgrounds or conveniences, or even a phantasmic cinema of desires ( Zizek), the industry and the marketplace have provided ample evidence that they conspire to make your entire habitat the gerbil wheel… isolated engines of the commodification machine.

to be cont.

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