[iDC] Re: Toward a Post-Post-Critical Future

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Sat Sep 30 17:12:35 EDT 2006

Brian Holmes wrote: ³At the very best, the post-critical future is a
name for a contemporary utopia.²

My odd phrasing of ³post-post-critical² (avoiding the even stranger
³neo-critical²) referred to the concept of post-critical architecture,
which is described as ³practices, variously named Œpost-critical¹ or
Œprojective,¹ [which are] sharing a commitment to an affect-driven,
nonoppositional, nonresistant, nondissenting, and therefore nonutopian
form of architectural production.² [1]

By asking how we can overcome global social problems if we see them as
secondary in relation to technology, I suggested to move beyond future
projections of urban practices that are blind to social issues. (There
is plenty of that.)    

Brian informs us about RFID. Read ³Spychips² by Katherine Albrecht and
Liz Mcintyre or look at the research at UCL in the UK where RFID tags in
plane tickets are designed to allow airlines (and other interested
parties) to track passengers in the airport before departure. [2]
Another important move is that toward services that are called up by
touching an object with your cellphone. [3] In India, RFID tags in
armbands control mass pilgrimages. The application of RFID is broad.  

Last week a student pointed me to what we ended up calling "The Internet
of Farming Things." This feature on National Public Radio (NPR) reports
about the way today¹s farmers in the US use networked objects. They
don't buy things that don't pay for themselves, for example. If you
listen to this feature (see link at the end) you¹ll learn that also
agriculture is deeply entrenched with networked objects. [4]

Brian writes: ³One of the things that could be done right away is to use
mobile communications media to constitute groups which could build up a
sensory, narrative and relational consistency between each other, on a
deliberately singularizing basis, at collective variance with respect to
the norms of contemporary hyperindividualism.²

Early examples of this exist already. The question is how to motivate
the specific spatial networked sociality that you call for. How do you
in fact cultivate such spatio-temporal network of practice? This links
back to the questions that I raised in July when we talked about
participation in the networked public sphere. To really understand the
dynamics of participation is key.

Then Brian says: ³the most dismaying thing to me is the slavishness of
people who call themselves artists or intellectuals, with respect to
their careers. The fetish-object that holds you on a leash is mainly the
way you think you are appearing in the eye of your potential employer
(or admirer, in an attention economy).²

Yes, but I see this ³slavishness² less as obedience to a particular
employer (like a boss or chair) than an issue with academia at large.
Just take ³blind² peer review, or the tedious academic referencing rules
that serve as accreditation. Or, look at dead wood publishing practices
with hardly any distribution but high prestige value. Academic rules
kill much of the personality and passion and radical politics of most
authors. That¹s the leash.

Wild academics with unorthodox ideas stand in the rain: somewhat in a
peripheral position, without clear support and public. Being able to
look at yourself into the mirror in the morning is the payoff.   


[1] <http://tinyurl.com/zlqc2>

A wiki project deciated to post-critical architecture can be found at:

[2] ³Requesting Services by Touching Objects in the Environment² can be
downloaded as pdf at<http://tinyurl.com/e8cxd>

[3] <http://www.computing.co.uk/articles/print/2163719>

[4] <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6144238>

More information about the iDC mailing list