CHRONOTOPOS pt. 2

“There is no dialectic between social and technical relations, but only a machinism that dissolves society into the machines whilst deterritorializing the machines across the ruins of society, whose ‘general theory … is a generalized theory of flux’…”

Which is to say, cybernetics.

Chronotopic mapping is, above all, the recognition of a need of system aesthetics. In fact, the word map is no longer helpful where we’re going. We must ask Bateson’s question: “What is it in the territory that gets on to the map?” The answer should, of course, be nearly nothing. Reducing the map, as chronotopos does, to an empty container rather than the totality of available information is a fundamental deletion of importance. The necessity of representation dissolves like a bad dream. The fetish of recording is revealed as a sad joke taken too far.

The ecstasy of recuperation ends as the indigestible is fatally consumed…the intestines erupt in bleeding ulcers and become the place of feverish, hallucinogenic degrees of decomposition and calcification. Welcome to Interzone…the haemorrhage of the Global Village.

Welcome to Interzone. Welcome to the urbicide of the planet. Methodologies turn to ash. Cartography flips back into fascism as we remember, finally, it was initially developed to survey property, consolidate territory, and direct the movements of armies…the hydra-head of Black Capital consumes the head of the state…augury and excrement of the war machine. In supplication to absolute deterritorialization the notion of territory itself boils and drains into the past, leaving vast turgidity which we will nonetheless inhabit. “Tell me, why are you here already, in this endless sea, with no land to hop on, or air to croak with, it makes no sense to me at all!”

In the scylla-charybidean chiral pinch we find ourselves, identity is stripped down to nothing. Persons are reducible to 2 opposite tendencies: vectors, distance/time functions that take off from space; and more importantly, a nearly-infinite capacity to move at fiber optic speeds.  Recognizing this removes the concept of personhood. They are not wholes. They are not even swarms. They are euclidean amoebae—and here, it is important to note, the nucleus is diminished in relation to cytoplasmic extensibility.

What chronotopos does that time-geography does not is recognizes this as fundamental and seeks to apply an aesthetics without incarcerating the amoebic, interring it once again within flesh. Space is necessarily annihilated by time and by technē both, disintegrating utterly and forever under the magnificent onslaught. When the amoeba-I communicate it is no longer with messages, it is with participation in supra-planetary marketspace. Buying is speaking, murmuring intonations into the thousand ears of Black Capital. My voice is heard in far-flung distribution centers, logged on secure servers in places my physical nucleus could never access, shooting through wires, aggregated and flattened to nothing. Materialism cracks and rots. Amoeba-I walks through walls.

c-t.jpg

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CHRONOTOPOS/The body in capitalism pt. 1

Chronotopos is in many ways coterminal with time-geography, or the cracking open of the static plane of territory and subsequent invasion by temporality. The body in capitalism is not a body at all, but rather the recognition that the age of corporeality is over. Both phrases look inside physical reality and find a cavity of utter entropy and pure dissolution. The thesis is this: space and the body (or identity) have both been annihilated by time.

Space

Practically, chronotopos is simple enough. Instead of treating the map as the site of infinity, treat it y=0, and plot time on the y axis, taking off from surface structuration.

t-s aquarium

Cartographic friction is annihilated by the speed and surgical efficacy of the line. At the same time, chronotopos is a visualization of qwernomics in spatial practice, upending the Rosen-Roback model of classical economics to reveal a secret sigilization just out of focus of quotidian geography, and the dromological time-space compression of the landscape undertaken by individualized spatial practice.

Time

PC Adams’ A Reconsideration of Personal Boundaries in Space Time sees a near-total reformatting of Torsten Hagerstand’s initial time-space aquaria to reflect the even greater practical abstraction of the human body in the advent of digital communications. Adams borrows McLuhan’s description of the body in media as tentacular and dendritic, and in fact poses the need for body and person to be separated into dialectic pairs. The body remains in space—this is Hagerstrand’s finite line, moving across the laminar surface of the map—while the body expands, contracts, shifts, diffuses.

Social Media Connections map

While agreeing overall with his central thesis—that a user’s communication via digital media to another user, be they miles, countries, or worlds away, is tantamount to being there—the image of tentacular extension is, in my opinion, too placid. What is happening here is not a reaching out and the receipt of haptic feedback; rather, it is a swallowing or a twinning. The body may remain an euclidean nucleus, but the person branches, swarms, becomes cybernetic.

ext dia

 

v=d/t

Of course, time and space are perhaps most succinctly joined in the formulation for velocity: distance divided by time. Thus, chronotopos is, in the first instance, about speed, and in particular, its representation.

Invasion

Sadie Plant writes that to enter the digital is to be invaded. Adams obviously agrees: his map of “personal extensibility” as seen above, is a map of a user. Digital and material coexist and smear into each other. Fundamentally, Adams-mapping, a subset of chronotopic mapping, is to recognize that the body is nothing, your person is you—and your person isn’t even fully perceivable or even terrestrial. You exist on servers, in fiber optic cables, pinging off satellites. This becomes more and more true as more data comes online: habits, purchases, path-dependencies become starkly illuminated. And as such, there is a mutual invasion, a systemic incursion in which participating in the digital is not really the novel finding, but the extent to which the digital is participating in you.