Monday, October 5, 2009

C++ The Cyborg Self and the Networked City by William J. Mitchell

A wonderful review of the book is here.

Guglielomo Marconi invented the radio. That transmission has now exploded into a dense, global web of wireless infrastructure; "if you counted all of its terrestial, satelite and spacecraft linkage, it is now humankind's most extensive construction." (Mitchell, p.2) Simultaneously, the reception devise has scaled down to a fashion accessory.

"My natural skin is just layer zero of a nested boundary structure." (p.7) In the early years of the Cold War, outer defensive casements re-emerged, in extreme form, as domestic nuclear bunkers. The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of that edgy era...

"All of my boundaries depend for their effectiveness, upon sufficient capacity to attenuate flow with sufficient thickness." (p.8)

Georg Simmel was a German social scientist who observed that "a connecting creature who must always separate and who cannot connect without separating."

"To create and maintain differences between interiors and exteriors of enclosures... I seek to control these networked flows." (p.9)

The discontinuities produced by networks result from the drive for efficiency, safety and security....

"You can pause wherever you want when you are strolling along a dirt track (DRIFT), but you must use stations for trains, entry and exit ramps for freeways, and airports for airline networks - and your experience of the terrain between these points is very limited. You experience the architectural transitions between floors when you climb the stairs, but you go into architectural limbo between the opening and closing of the doors when you use an elevator."

"Now the body/city metaphors have turned concrete and literal. Embedded within a vast structure of nested boundaries and ramifying networks, my muscular and skeletal, physiiological, and nervous systems have been artificially augmented and expanded." (p.19)

"Telephones... are yet another network of infrastructure - one that now stretches my speech production and reception system around the globe and multiplied its points of presence...

You were never quite sure who would pick up on the other end, and the relationship to our bodies as neither continuous or intimate." (p.24, 25)

I am both a surveying subject at the center of my electronic web and the object of multi-modal electronic surveillance. All of these constructions of the gaze that the post-Foucaultians have alerted us to - the gaze of desire, the gendered gaze, the consumer's gaze, the critical gaze, the reflexive gaze, and certainly the gaze of power - are extended, reorganized, and reconstructed electronically." (p28)

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