Geo Barcan: What Was The Network

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What Was the Network - Transmediale 2020
  • network=communication
  • network=potentiality
  • network sublime= the network is everything and nothing
  • digital capitalism
  • Maybe this also has something to do with the inherently anti-narrative stream of thinking within new media and network theory, where linear representation is not an important issue. What was usually on its main agenda was how you acted or performed in a given project, rather than how you narrated it.
  • he network is such a compelling concept, because with it, or better within it, you are always searching and never finding.5 You constantly zoom in and zoom out, switching from one network to another. The network gives you the opportunity or even the excuse not to make a decision, not to define an inside and outside, not to look for an exit. You are trapped within the network.
  • DD: Maybe we need to consider the role of algorithmic decision-making and automation in relation to human decision-making. When it comes to social networks or cultural networks or how we work together, it’s basically up to us to what extent we are able to build networks where we acknowledge the importance of difference and escape the creation of closed worlds.
KG: There is a suggestion by Tiziana Terranova, quoted in your text, Geert, of shifting the idea of connectionism from our present model to quantum entanglement. It’s a very speculative proposal where she is saying that this could also produce ‘spooky’ results.
⇒ The eternal return of the same can be broken up.
‘forgotten futures’,2 pointing to the idea that we should perhaps also consider net cultures that never happened or were never heard about.
Any history changes with your location and your point of view. It’s interesting to see, for example, how the network has been discussed and theorized in Latin America. ‘La red’, rather than ‘network’, evokes a vastly different understanding and imaginary about what a connection is. The work of Tania Pérez-Bustos, an anthropologist from Bogotá, describes how this term [which translates to ‘the web’ in English] correlates with techniques of weaving, a performative act.3 Such an understanding sparks an alternate history of the network with all its untold and unrealized threads that we are trying to weave together here. I guess in the end we are all caught up in our own network histories with their idiosyncrasies and blind spots.
****It depends how you see it. In the past there was a lot of discussion about networks being ‘walled gardens’. One could say that what lies beyond one’s network is difference, because networks are based on sameness. Other worlds, opinions, and realities are kept away from you. Networks are not porous. They are vulnerable, as Geert has discussed elsewhere, but they are not porous; you cannot easily break through them.