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<eyebeam><blast> IO_DENCIES-knots

We would like to offer some knots generated out of the IO_DENCIES

W.E.: Wolfgang Ernst, THERE IS NO CITY?
Non-located data versus local concreteness

RvT: Roemer van Toorn, The And
Space in the third millennium

A.B.: Andreas Broeckmann: Connective Agency in Translocal Environments
Considerations about experimental interfaces for the urban machine

urban media
W.E: How can a European write on the Knowbotic Research Tokyo project
which so drastically substitutes the static urban cultural logics of the
occident (based on memory ) by a vision and manipulation of data flows,
thus taking capitalism in the sense as defined by Deleuze/Guattari in
Anti-Oedipe? Daily experience grasps only fragments of the myriads of
data surrounding us. Dealing with a kind of energy which can be felt but
not represented, KR has developed a tool which can cope with coexisting
fields of energy simultaneouly.  Thus - in analogy to Michel Foucault's
concept of power - energetic fields are not being treated as defined,
repressive, restrictive, but rather as generic.  This project, pervaded
by the aesthetics of deconstruction, is less about urban planning,
rather a data-archaeological analysis applied to the multiple layers
which inform the city, "a means of constant questioning, destabilizing,
opening up and condensing, without providing answers"kr+cf. It is this
interactive dynamization of the body of information which separates
IO_DENCIES from the panoptical mania of nineteenth and twentieth century
authorities longing to control local, regional or national territories
by statistics.


Space of flows/placeless logic
RvT: Is there anyone who does not have a stake in the idea of the city?
The future belongs to urbanity. In the third millennium "universal"
urbanization is inevitable. Up till now few projects have succeeded in
representing the true nature of the city. Most of the digital cities one
finds on the internet or in installations in exhibition spaces fail to
capture the true dynamic and complexity of the city. One of the better
attempts was Jeffrey Shaw's project, The Legible City of 1988. In
I0_dencies however a deliberate attempt is made to avoid any static
representation of the invisible dynamic network of the elements that
make up the city. Knowbotic Research looks for paths that enable the
user to intervene in the urban network alone or in company. The
invisible lines and patterns that move through the city have an
interactive form. The installation displays a network city that, to
quote Manual Castell,is constructed of: "... the material organization
of time-sharing social practices that work through flows." By flows he
means "purposeful, repetitive, programmable sequences of exchange and
interaction between physically disjointed positions held by social
actors in the economic, political, and symbolic structures of society".
The first layer, the first material foundation for this space of flows,
"is actually constituted by a circuit of electronic pulses
(microelectronics, telecommunications, computer processing, broadcasting
systems, and high speed transportation - also based on information
technologies)...". In this condition place does not disappear, but its
logic and meaning is absorbed in the network. The second layer of the
space of flows is constituted by its nodes and hubs. The space of flows
is not placeless, although its structural logic is. This network links
specific places with carefully defined social, cultural, physical and
functional character traits. Some places are exchangers - communication
"hubs" that play a coordinating role in enabling all the elements in the
network to interact effectively; others are "nodes" - strategically
important places that carry out series of locally linked activities and
the organization around a key function in the network. The city .... can
therefore only be understood if we conceive of it in our analysis as a
process instead of a place. Knowbotic Research's installation does not
just render visible the invisible network that comprises the identity of
every city; it also makes clear that the identity of the space should be
understood as a complex network where space has become fluid. We
suddenly realize that the representation of meaning in space and time
depends on the movements in the network and not on the static
representation we find in many digital cities. It opens up the virtual
network of real overlapping meanings.


local singularities and universal manipulation
W.E: But if Tokyo is being abstracted into Internet energies, who has
the authority to decide on this shifting of tendencies, unless the whole
project is left to arbitrariness? There is still this city, this area,
these people, these data. Against the deconstruction of architectural
space into architextural data structures, there is a veto by the
physical materialities of communication, the local realities against
non-located, arbitrary on-line communication. Out of this oscillating
tension between marked local singularities and universal manipulation of
energy vectors, the balance of the KR project grows. A server provides
for the similarity-based coupling of different data flow manipulations
by the users, establishing an active direct chanel in case there are
correspondences in the mode of "communicating tubes" (as conceived by
Andre Breton)


A.B: IO_Dencies positions itself at the precarious border between the
local and the non-located, between a particular urban setting and the
placelessness of the virtual networked environment. In the Tokyo
project, it did not formulate an answer to the question what it means to
intervene into the hypothetical, yet specifically local environment via
the Internet. It goes beyond the practical question of whether the
'right to intervene' should be reserved for local inhabitants, and
directs its experimental investigation at the force field of translocal
electronic communications which co-determines the development of the
real sites of the Global City.


representing urban spaces
W.E.: The crucial point is the non-arbitrary interface of the I0_DENCIES
to the local context; how are energetic signs constituted (framed) by
various discursive practices, institutional arrangements, systems of
value, semiotic mechanisms?  In fact the art of memory has always been
bound to the identification of topoi and loci, both rhetorically and in
(imaginary) space.  Against this junction KR poses its concept of
non-locations, thus challenging the archival epistemology of memory and
the city:  As opposed to figurative, narrative representations of Tokyo,
the processing of data in the KR project concentrates on modes of
representation under the auspices of digital data channeling.  To
replace urban planing by a non-discursive way of linking data means:
writing the data themselves. The question is precisely whether thinking
about Tokyo can still be represented in the form of a narrative frame
(stories) or rather has to be dismembered into a modular cluster of
discrete units of textual respectively informational evidence. The
spatial order of the archive (in its generalized sense as data banks)
here is opposed to the semiotic effect of temporal deep dimensions
rendered by urban signs of history.  "We are confronted with the
proposition that there is no central `point' <...> more a series of
discrete, not necessarily related ideas <...> You confront no history
<...> rather a bombardment of messages <...> The narrative bit <...> is
not a straight line, but an oscillation between the surreal and the
banal." John Thackeray, Mad Methods
   The implosion of the narrative frame has consequences on the form of
representing urban spaces in the I0-DENCIES exhibition site. Instead of
being governed by the apparently seamless logics of an unbroken idea,
figurated by rhetorical moves and dramatic emplotment, dynamic data
analysis is directed by the non-discursive logistics of vector fields,
graphically expressed: networking rather than narrating the body of


reflexive datascape-enable to speak
 RvT: when we collect data from field research and analyze it, moments
emerge out of the "nowhere" of the network society that our either-or
prejudices could never have predicted. It is important then to distill
all kinds of data from the local domain and to incorporate these in a
surveyable datascape. Because it is this datascape that effectively
creates reflexivity out of itself. The sum of social economic and
cultural data that Knowbotic Research has collected in Tokyo can indeed
be understood as a reflexive datascape. 10_dencies confronts us with a
Tokyo-style datascape in motion and enables the user not only to reflect
mentally on the project; it also invites visitors to intervene in the
space of flows.... The real problem is not deciding who can or may speak
(a matter best left to the police, says Deleuze), but rather the
fabrication of a set of conditions that would enable everyone to speak.
"So how can we manage to speak without giving orders, without claiming
to represent something or someone, how can we get people without the
right to speak, to speak."  - this is what Deleuze asks. The Knowbotic
Research project attempts to answer this difficult question by devising
a series of movement attractors each of which has a different function
in manipulating or modifying the processes of the dynamic particle flows
which can be observed in the interface.


interface-unfolding agency
A.B: Manipulating the online interface is a distinctly collaborative
experience in which the activities of all agents working on the same
city profile are not only visible for the others, but an intervention
will in fact influence the effects caused by others. The communication
between the connected terminals is not routed via a central server, but
happens via temporarily established links between the logged-in computer
terminals on which similar forms of agency are unfolding. The machinic
environment of IO_Dencies thus thrives on, and enables, the tendential
enhancement of connected agencies. It prioritises tendencies of mutually
compatible activities over conflictuous behaviour.


connective agency
A.B: Characteristic of the forms of agency as they evolve in networked
environments is that they are neither individualistic nor collective,
but rather connective. Whereas the collective is ideally characterised
by an intentional and empathetic relation between agents within an
assemblage, the connective rests on any kind of machinic relation and is
therefore more versatile, more open, and based on the heterogeneity of
its components or members. The machinic quality of networks means that
here an autonomous agency is not possible, and that the subject of the
machinic production is not the individual but the network machine.


A.B: An interface to the urban machine like the IO_Dencies project,
forms a 'point of discontinuity' in the city's surface, it is both a
point of presence and of expression. The site of agency is both absent
and present. The subject becomes 'visible' as a potential in the process
of transformation. Its presence is not necessarily manifested as a
physical visibility, but through the perceivability of actions. The
'presence' articulated by the interface is the subjectifying feedback to
actions in the machinic assemblage. The urbanic interface does not
affirm a mimetic representation of the city - and of the 'Ego' as its
victimised agent -, but articulates the productive potentials of the


"Multiplicity is never in the terms, whatever their number, nor in the
set, or totality, of them. Multiplicity is precisely in the AND, which
does not have the same nature as the elements or the sets. (...) The AND
is neither the one nor the other, it is always between the two, it is
the boundary, there is always a boundary, a vanishing trace or flow,
only we don't see it, because it is scarcely visible. And yet it is
along this vanishing trace that things happen, becomings are made,
revolutions are sketched out."  Gilles Deleuze


Thirdspace-include a critical distance in this space of flows 
RvT: To deal with a time in which the AND prevails is by no means easy.
Look at the megacities in Asia for instance that, forced by an
increasingly radical modernity, are developing both as dazzling beauty
and as a form that is dauntingly grotesque. Traditions dissolve or are
abused or else they continue to exist alongside and in conjunction with
the excrescences of an explosive innovation. This disembedding and
reembedding of all social values is at once fascinating and astonishing.
The And is a product of something that is never completed. Old
categories to determine what is important or which were formerly
required simply for society to function no longer work.... The question
remains how far it is also possible to include a critical distance in
this space of flows. To an extent the system generates this itself; the
And operates reflexively almost automatically. On the other hand we also
have to make new dialogues possible that do not merely shout "Yes", but
which can also deliberately direct the currents in another direction,
without depending on an automatic pilot. The problem is one of no mean
complexity because the critical tradition cannot permit itself to fall
back on any either-or criticism; it must also develop a critique and
alternative that is displayed in the And. Edward Soja has devised the
term "Thirdspace" for this space for criticism and alternatives that
makes new openings possible. Thirdspace, as Soja sees it, should be
understood as a space typified by an "openness of both/and also" with
the "also" reverberating back to disrupt the categorical closures
implicit in the either/or logic". It is "... an invitation to enter a
space of extraordinary openness, a place of critical exchange where the
geographical imagination can be expanded to encompass a multiplicity of
perspectives that have heretofore been considered by the epistemological
referees to be incompatible, uncombinable. It is a space where issues of
race, class, and gender can be addressed simultaneously without
privileging one over the other; where one can be Marxist and
post-Marxist, materialist and idealist, structuralist and humanist,
disciplined and transdisciplinary at the same time."


politics of the machinic- becoming public
A.B: The notion of a 'connective agency', and of distributed and
connective subjectivities, points us to the core of the politics of the
machinic. This is possibly the most critical issue involved in the
design processes of experimental interfaces. The challenge in
computer-based design today is to understand not only the new topologies
of form and of presence, but to tackle the problems of agency and events
in connective translocal environments. On a political level, this
eventually leads to the question of the possibilities of a new type of
public sphere that may or may not be established in and by the
electronic networks. This public sphere will only come into being if
there are complex forms of interaction, of participation and learning,
that fully exploit the technical possibilities of the networks and that
allow for new and creative forms of becoming present, becoming visible,
becoming active, in short, of becoming-public.


RvT: Knowbotic Research tells a spatial story that confronts us with the
status quo of the And and the space of flows. It also attempts to
develop a thirdspace in an abstract sense. The abstraction of the
discourse that the installation generates means that, while we are not
concretely confronted in the domain of the everyday with the question of
how we are to move through the third millennium city, we are faced with
the many abstract dimensions of our being. How the users' abstract
interventions affect this everyday data economically socially and
culturally remains as yet unanswered. This installation is radical in
the sense that it confronts us with the network of the space of flows
that is normally speaking invisible. We finally realize how the abstract
other is restructuring our world. How the interventions of the data
flows - dialogically and via the interface - create a thirdspace in the
field where the data itself originates is something Knowbotic Research
will surely explore in more detail in other cities.


function, agency, event, experience
A.B: The IO_Dencies interfaces are not tools of concrete intervention --
which would limit their scope and create instrumentalistic forms of
subjectification --, but they are open, pre-significant and pluriform
tools which facilitate an hypothetical, experimental approach to the
question of contemporary conditions and possibilities of agency. What
users may experience as a lack of concreteness and controllability in
such an experimental interface, especially given its non-location in
distributed, networked environments, is the absence of functional
overdetermination, which is a precondition for the experience of new,
hypothetical forms of subjectivity. The aim is not so much to enable
'meaningful' forms of agency, but to question fundamentally the way in
which function, agency, event and experience are related, and to see
whether it is possible to construct open forms of agency in machinic


You will find the full texts at


Knowbotic Research
Schillingstrasse 32
50670 Koeln, Germany
phone +49 221 779191
cellular +49 172 2524116
fax +49 221 7326695
http:// www.khm.de/people/krcf/
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