Publisher Series: Posthumanities Publisher Series by cover 1—7 of 31 next show all. Cinders by Jacques Derrida. Laruelle: Against the Digital by Alexander R. Necromedia by Marcel O'Gorman. Neocybernetics and Narrative Posthumanities by Bruce Clarke. The Parasite by Michel Serres. When Species Meet by Donna J. Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy by Roberto Esposito.
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What Is Posthumanism? Cosmopolitiques, tome 1 : La Guerre des sciences by Isabelle Stengers. Historically tuned cultural analysis cannot be reduced to a status of repeating the sources, but can be seen as one of summoning events as Foucault coined it. Of course, this does not mean that focusing on recent years would not provided fresh perspectives.
But there are people working already on this, like Tony Sampson from University of East London, finishing a book on cultural theory and viruses. I myself would have definitely refined my take in relation to e. MF: With viruses aimed at mobile phones running Symbian such as Cabir and Cardtrp, the latter which also crosses between Windows machines, the platforms for viruses are becoming more diverse.
How does the figure of the virus work in this wider context? This relates to the earlier question concerning technical specificity which can be seen as one way of getting oneself out of the swamp of metaphoricity and vagueness and looking into how on the material level certain types of software function. My point was in general that malware has from early on been infrastructural to the Internet and network societies, this has been evident from early computer security texts since the s on. The shift from protecting computers from human beings to protecting them from malicious software started around s, and the notion of the incidental nature of the viral with networks feeds nicely into this as well.
But we should not be blinded to think that because of the underlying Turing sequences, the processes are not system specific and material. Botnets are not the same thing as early s viruses, nor is the Morris worm the same thing as current network worms that can spread across the globe in a matter of hours. Much of the talk surrounding the new viruses suggests at least implicitly that viruses and their programmers are continuously finding new platforms and almost universal ways of propagation like via the Bluetooth in mobile phones.
With Cardtrap, despite its malicious payload, it does not seem to work even with all Windows machines where the phone memory card might actually be carrying the Trojan but the autorun file did not, at least according to F-Secure information, function on Windows XP SP2 and Windows This is the reason why Mark Ludwig flagged in the s already that true evolution in software environments — at least the everyday environments like with Windows — is quite a far-fetched dream or a fear as the operating systems and software are just too unstable to allow for a random mutation that would work.
Eugene Thacker has been digging into the zombie world of contemporary biopolitics, looking at contagion and transmission through this figure of the undead, the life on the border of zoe and bios.
Again, I would use the idea of the botnet to illustrate how power operates also on the level of ahuman technical, before or between the human social bind. Capturing computers in a zombie network is not reducible to a work of ideology, or as in the case of attacks against the sites of Estonian government and other public bodies to a work of international politics even if it also was touched as the diplomatic relations between Russia and Estonia were involved , but a whole another layer of politics, working at the level of infections, software and networks.
A lot of the analysis surrounding the attacks was seeing this from the viewpoint of international relations of two governmental bodies, but more interesting are the sub-governmental forces in action and also the sub-social forces that were harnessed as part of the international politics. MF: One of the things that is interesting about viruses and other related kinds of software is their approach to computers and networks as a set of experimental zones.
At the same time, Viruses seem to have a slightly different form of playfulness to them. If we can adopt the language of probability for a moment, we could say that because Alife, generally aside from interesting working done in evolutionary hardware, or in aspects of CrystalPunk work tends to remain within well-defined boundaries, that of the model for instance.
It sets in play are sets of conjunctions that are not simply within the domain of the software per se. The focus on malware tends rather to limit this. Your book calls for a more playful approach, where do you see the most useful historical resources for such playfulness?
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Which unexplored viral domains are most potentially interesting? In a more straightforward vein, one could see my book as Foucauldian mapping of how the notion and powers of viral sets became territorialized and captured under the notion of malware, which acted not only as a repressive mechanism but produced a huge amount of books, advice, security instructions, manoeuvres, software etc. But to track this playfulness works a bit further on the issue. This actually relates to the question earlier you asked about why I stopped my analysis in It is just because the much more surprising stuff is found earlier, trying to follow the related strands of viral programming and the birth of network paradigms in computer labs.
I was fascinated to hear from the early pioneers like Doug McIllroy, Vic Vyssotsky and Ken Thompson of their early experiences with computer ecologies of self-perpetuating programs.
In a way, the obvious connection with early experiments had to do with the Cold War and security discourses, but I would say that much of the work done was not reducible to that functionality but also worked on another level of fascination with the expressions of these programs. It was popularized later by A. Dewdney in Scientific American and now known as Core Wars. Due to the fundamental instability of most of computer systems, even small changes in code cause most likely only system crashes, no evolution. Hence, one has to deal with very limited scales, as you mention, and more interestingly speculate on the possibilities of for example evolving programs.
Another problem in the whole artificial life virus discussion was the rigid way of dealing with the issue: to come up with a minimum qualifying definitions for an entity to be living definitions adopted from observation of biological entities mostly and then comparing this to computer viruses.
Not a very interesting way to approach the issue — even though alife research has aspired to move away from this model-thinking onto a simulacra-approach, as Claus Emmeche suggested already some time ago. So life is not a metaphor adopted from biology and biology a model used to imitate the intensive code life of programs, but life becomes a movement, interaction and affects.
What also definitely would need much more research are the wonderful early computer ecologies of for example Nils Barricelli, Oliver Selfridge and Beatrice and Sydney Rome, all developing already in the s systems that are relevant to the topic of experimental sciences of computational life. Even if not touching on viruses per se, they speculated on how to make ecological and evolutionary models work with a computational platform and how to make that kind of computation useful. Now if Cohen tried to figure out the usefulness of viral machines in the s, these persons were speculating on this stuff already 30 years earlier!
For example Barricelli did not want his work to be seen under the representational paradigm of computers modelled on life, but underlining that the stuff on symbiogenesis in computers is really there, as simulations. In other words, the simulation did not offer information on biological parasites and ecologies, but was an end in itself in offering a computer system that could work in terms of interdependencies, connectedness, symbiotic relations.
This also showed a system of distributed intelligence, as already Manuel DeLanda noted earlier, where such projects were seen as part of the genealogy of passing control from the human to distributed systems. What is of course funny is how there is a curious correspondence between such computer system characteristics and the post-Fordist notions of e. Another theme is the experimental aesthetics of technological failure that characterise modernity.
There is whole history of things breaking down, of course, and art has of course been one key practice of modernity where the failures of systems of technology, organisation and control have been catalyzed and experimented upon. The accident of any system is a future horizon, a virtuality that might not ever actualize but it is still there in reality — often expressed only in statistics, worst-case scenarios and like, or then in simulated accidents by media artists. So perhaps the playfulness, in general, is trying to think beyond the most obvious choices, to think beyond the security discourse which is a highly interesting topic of course towards the experimental takes on viruses and accidents.
MF: Looking at art viruses, such as Biennale. With tens of thousands of viruses in the wild, can you imagine or identify a particular strain working with a particular pattern of art methodologies? JP: The art viruses, especially the Biennale. I think one of the fundamental successes of the project was to question the ontology of software and the distributed nature of the coded environment.
On what level do micropolitics of software function, was an implicit key question of the project, which seemed to refuse a simple answer when distributing the code on t-shirts but also in expensive CD-ROMs etc.
But beyond the way it was framed as part of art as part of the Venice Biennale , what are the singular points to focus on? I think Jaromil put it very poetically in the I Love You-exhibition catalogue when referring to digital viruses as a form of making digital language stutter in the manner Rimbaud and Verlaine made French stutter as part of an earlier challenge to transparent ways of seeing language. From existing viruses in the wild, one could perhaps extract certain methodological principles. Much of them relate to finding the threshold just on the border of working and not-working: a virus that destroys completely the system is of relatively small use, instead much more interesting are the ones who are able to infiltrate the system and still keep it working in a moderated form.
That is, to find the threshold, the minimum level of a system before its flipping into a crash.