@mckenziewark on Interfaces, Nihilism & Withdrawal

“I’m not entirely sure that the good nihilism of withdrawal can be entirely quarantined from the bad one of the celebration of naked, unjust power. It’s a question that needs rather more attention. Alex Galloway, Eugene Thacker and I may be in accord as ‘nihilists’ who refuse a certain legislative power to philosophy. As I see it, Galloway thinks there’s a way to ‘hack’ philosophy, to turn it against itself from within. I think my approach is rather to détourn it, it see it as a metaphor machine for producing both connections and disconnections that can move across the intellectual division of labor, that can find ways knowledge can be comradely, and relate to itself and the world other than via exchange value. From the latter point of view, these might just be component parts of the same project. Software can now simulate the spectacle effectively that it is able to insinuate another logic into it, the simulation of the spectacle itself, but under which lies an abyss of non-knowledge. But I am not sure this was an inevitable outcome. As with Jodi Dean, I find Galloway rather erases the struggles around what ‘new media’ would become, and now retrospectively sees the outcome as, if not an essence, then a given. This is partly what makes me nervous about a language with seceding or withdrawing. One of the great political myths is of the outsider-subject, untouched by power. All such positions, be it the worker, the woman, the subaltern, can now be taken as fully subsumed. But I think that means one works from an inside – for example via Haraway’s figure of the cyborg – rather than looking for an exit back out again.”


About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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