Layers, Flows, and Switches: Individuals in Next Society
Beate Geissler, Oliver Sann, Brian Holmes (eds.), Volatile Smile, Nürnberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2014, 90-97
8 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2013 Last revised: 3 Aug 2014
Date Written: January 15, 2011
Next society is a society under pressure to find a structural and a cultural answer to the overflow of meaning that the introduction of computers, conceived of as complex units, has provoked not just into everyday communication but also into exacting, indeed professional kinds of communication. In markets, on the battlefield, in hospitals, in laboratories, in bureaucracies, and even in social networks, computers set out not only to provide support but also to make appropriate or less appropriate decisions. Once again, ‘structure’ means ensuring the differentiation, distribution, and dissemination of new kinds of communication, and ‘culture’ means providing communication with ideas of what makes sense and is of value. If Manuel Castells, Harrison C. White, Bruno Latour, and others are right, the structure of next society is a network structure, molding good old modernity’s fields of functional endeavor into new clusters and profiles of activities that defy rational ordering. Instead of the functional ordering of matter and cause so typical of modern reason, we are beginning to deal with a nervous ordering of flows and switches that gain their profile from an idiosyncratic exploitation of heterogeneity.
Keywords: computer, individual, internet, modern society, next society
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