Incomputable Subjects

17 Dec., 2017

Talk and Panel discussion at Falckenburg Sammlung, Hamburg, 17 Dec. 2017 @ 14-16:00. Discussion with Matteo Pasquinelli and Elena Agudio.

This planetary-scaled reality we find ourselves in, in large part (but not exclusively so), driven by computational procedures, captured by the expression ‘Cold World’, a term Amanda Beech has defined as one that stands for "the alienation that we experience in relation to the complex world of big data, hyper capitalism, and the apparent impossibility of fathoming or understanding what this world is." The term ‘Cold World’ addresses not only the complex world ‘out there’ that overflows epistemic traction, but equally our generic existential crisis as humans within it, as we undergo a radical decentering from its operations – both unfathomably large and miniscule in scale. It describes a paradoxical condition of a world that humans (at least SOME of them) have fabricated, but a world where our diverse constructed ‘bits’ have amassed into a complex whole that no human brain can grasp or master, despite the fact that we’ve built it. It is a world in which we currently seem lost, evidenced by today’s extreme poverty of political imaginaries. Today, the affective ‘heat’ as it were, emanating from the experience of estrangement in the Cold World can be read as a rejection, wilfull ignorance (or in some cases, a reactionary refusal) of this human existential crisis. This rejection manifests throughout the political spectrum (with vastly different results), from the ‘making great again’ of parochial, nationalisms, coupled with their inherent racisms/sexisms to; to the insistence on guarding against any infringement of the ‘authenticity of lived experience’ as producer of, what Reza Negarestani distinguishes between particular and not universal truths.[1]

[1] Negarestani, ‘Antinomies of Experience and the Question of the Transcendental Struggle’.