For an embodied, differential media ethics in global surveillance culture.
July 2013 – The following is beta version 1.0 of a draft to be discussed amongst the partners of the Metabody Project during the 5 years of the project’s duration.
- Media give form to our perceptions and proprioceptions, therefore to the ways we relate to one another and to the world, the way we know, are, move and change, our ontology and epistemology, our ecology and our affects. The human is a historical construction grounded on a technogenetic spiral in which the technologies made by the human are also crafting the human.
- Amongst the crucial technologies that have crafted the human as an artifact are technologies of perception, from euclidean geometry and architecture, through Renaissance perspective, to ubiquitous cameras, screens and interfaces, which have generated a regime of visual domination and rationalisation of perception. The perception of the world as quantifiable and controllable field is an effect of these perception technologies that in reverse define the subject and the self as quantifiable and controllable.
- Information Media are expression of a platonic-cartesian tradition that splits the world in matter and forms, and favours transcendent patterns over movement and materiality thereby ignoring context, body and embodiment as radically specific and contingent conditions of life.
- In the past centuries photography, cinema, architecture and urban design have crafted and choreographed the perception and proprioception of the liberal humanist subject. In the past decades, since World War II, the onset of Information technologies has induced a new realm of choreographic control of bodies, through sensing, aligning and capturing movement at increasingly minute and vast scales, a regime of kinetic control: the Panchoreographic.
- At the same time reductionist simulations of human emotions (emoticon culture) are being engineered in domains like Human Computer Interaction, robotics, artificial intelligence, and others, while biometric devices disseminate in the bodies new ways of quantification and control.
- Worst of all, within the global ambience of fear since 9/11, the semiotics and affect of control is generally perceived by the population as desirable, allowing for an unprecedented militarization of affect and life at large that encompasses any potential human activity, feeling, perception or thought.
- Thus global corporations of ICT have reached what no totalitarian government of the past could do: that billions of people are willing, even desperate to overexpose every imaginable data of their lives in networks of control, concealed behind the façade of friendhip and connectivity, but whose misuses and perverse effects have only partly been uncovered in the Snowden case.
- This unprecedented situation of global surveillance and control serves the purpose of capturing every nascent desire and affect in networks of capitalization, as well as other older purposes of totalitarian control, while its field of operation is only starting to expand in the nano-, bio- and neuro- spheres.
- The problem is not the defence of privacy but rather the instrinsic relation of current information media with absolute control, and therefore the unsustainable, potentially fascist social ecology which they foster.
- The solution is thus not in regulating privacy, nor in a mere critique of surveillance, but in revieweing the ontology of contemporary technogenesis of the human, in creating a radical awareness of its dangers, and in creating conditions for novel technological paradigms, new perceptions away from the platonic-cartesian-lockean tradition, away from visual domination, that open up the horizon for a planetary ecology to come, in which contexts, bodies and embodiments are radically taken into account and fostered in their irreducible, unpredictable and changing diversity.