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The relations of production have been extended to include the work of people and machines; both the programmer and program can be seen to work, and the possibility of a machinic praxis arises from this.
(examples: Leonardo Solaas (2005) _Outsource me!_, http://outsource.solaas.com.ar/; Christophe Bruno's 'Human Browser', http://www.iterature.com/human-browser/)
Classical Marxism would maintain that the relations of production constitute the base from which the superstructure is derived, at any point in human history. All social relationships for Marx lie in social production and relationships between people in production. These ideas are predicated on the understanding that there is a dialectical relationship between nature and human society integrated through labour. Human production emerges from nature, then utilises it and abuses it. In addition, technology energises the labour force, and hence the force of social development.
But rather than the dead labour of machines replacing human labour, Guattari states: 'On the contrary, I think that machines must be used - and all kinds of machines, whether concrete or abstract, technical, scientific or artistic. Machines do more than revolutionize the world, they completely recreate it.' (1995: 19)According to this position, any concept of social production and the relations of production must take account of more complex and disorganised interactions between people and machines - what Guattari refers to as 'machinic agency'.
Guattari would suggest that 'a mutation like that introduced by microprocessors changes the actual substratum of human existence and, in reality, opens up fabulous possibilities for liberation' (1995: 47-8). In other words, there is a dynamic tension between micro-politics and the body politic in general - integrating life and politics at all scales of operation. (note: In forging new ways of conceptualising these issues, Guattari calls himself an 'idea-thief'. Concepts are taken to be tools, not fixed or universal ideas, but ideas in flux, open to influence from other fields of interest - an intradisciplinary model.)
04. (Dolce & Gabbana)The spheres of production, distribution and consumption have been considered relatively autonomous in classical Marxism. Guattari and Deleuze, argue that this is predicated upon Marxist description of the division of labour and the idea of false consciousness. To them, the distinctions collapse, making everything production: the 'production of productions, of actions and of passions' (1990: 4). Their understanding incorporates the production of subjectivity itself, machine production and consumption, making the human subject a 'producer-product'.
Deleuze and Guattari are drawing together Marx and Freud to open up new possibilities for the unconscious to be seen as productive. For instance, in _Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia_ (1990 ), the unconscious is cast as a factory not a theatre (and thereby they aim to reject the oedipal drama). This is a reference to the work of Antonin Artaud, who described the body as a factory, or more accurately the sick body as an 'overheated factory' (Guattari 1995: 75).
For Deleuze and Guattari, the liberation of creative social expression is bound up with desire, as it is capitalism that represses desire (precisely because desire is where the potential for transformation lies). According to Deleuze and Guattari, all ideologies, even oppositional ones, mask desire, or repress it, and so as not to replace one repression with another, it is desire that requires liberation.
Deleuze and Guattari proceed to draw a parallel between desiring-production and social production, allowing them to assert that capital is the 'body without organs' of the capitalist (from Artaud's phrase). The body without organs lies in opposition to desiring machines, in the realm of 'antiproduction' rather than desiring-production.
In comparable terms to the opposition between labour and capital in classical Marxism, desiring-machines can be seen to operate in parallel to labour in opposition to capital. Similarly, the body without organs can be seen to appropriate desiring production, just as the capitalist extorts value from labour. It is not simply labour that is stolen but desire too, or more precisely the energy associated with desire that is central to this extortion and its opposition (although it should be added that Marx also regarded labour as a living energy). What is distinctive in this formulation is that desire creates flows between units of production, and like the unconscious, fears it 'lacks' something and so strives for connectivity. (cf. Freud and Klein)
The machine can be seen to possess two characteristics, according to Guattari: the power of continuum and the rupture in direction or mutation. The machine, therefore, is a 'break-flow' process of connections and their rupture (1995: 126-7). Software, in these terms, might connect or rupture, perhaps simply by refusing to work or remaining non-executable, or crashing the machine it runs upon.
An example: 0100101110101101.org's biennale.py
07. (readme 100)
Guattari thought Marx mistaken in thinking social relations lie outside of the tool or machine. The issue can be traced historically, by the evolution of the tool into a machine that becomes more and more independent of the worker. The machine extends the limits of human effort, and becomes part of a wider scheme of machines working together collectively, as part of an extended industrial (machinic) apparatus. The 'machinic' relations between worker and machine, although prefigured in Marx's description, does not go far enough for Guattari, who describes the worker and tool as part of the machine (1995: 142) - indeed both are engineered ever more overtly.
In orthodox Marxism, the capitalist mode of production simultaneously produces and reproduces the antagonistic social relations between labour and capital. This situation is based on the need for workers to sell their labour and the corresponding need for capital to 'extort' value from the workers. Marx uses the term 'real subsumption', to conceptualise the way that class exploitation is dispersed and subsumed into the wider (global) social realm (cf. globalisation). Real subsumption, assisted by informational technologies, has transformed labour and made it more shared, collective, and communicative.
explain previous slide and overall context of readme and runme.
This is something that Leonardo Solaas's _Outsource me!_ (2005), makes explicit. Argentinian artist-programmer Solaas reverses the usual outsourcing of programming work by seeking proposals for him to program, and in so doing confuses the usual power relations of a Western agency (even artist) using cheap labour and expertise from the developing world (Goriunova 2005). The work reflects the current conditions of much software development that is outsourced to software houses in India or the Caribbean (Mackenzie 2005: 71). In _Outsource me_, the programmer voluntarily provides cheap labour by seeking proposals to make software (commissioned by _Readme 100 Software Art Factory_), in an ironic twist where the site of technical production becomes a conceptual artwork, that addresses the precarious labour relations of outsourcing.
11/12/13. (go logo - cf. Naomi Klein's no logo perhaps)
Incidentally, this is what was produced.
The concept *general intellect*, drawn from Marx's early writings, refers to the combination of socialised labour and technological expertise that has become important to production. Any critique of exploitation therefore must recognise social relations in terms of what the autonomists call a *social factory*, to describe the way the whole of society is turned into a site of production.
15.For capitalism to continue to produce surplus value, it has to construct not simply commodities, but also the appropriate subjectivities to do so. In the 'social factory', subjectivity as well as labour value is stolen from the worker (or 'autonomous subjectivity' is denied, in the terms of autonomous Marxism).
Drawing upon an understanding of machinic subjectivity, Negri claims that capital tries to capture the communicative capacity of the socialised labour force and turn it into information. Consequently, the control of communications, and the labour related to communications, have become key sites of antagonism (more on this in the next seminar 4).
As part of this, labour has also expanded to involve cultural activities not traditionally considered in terms of work, including creative labour. Creative labour in this way stands for the combination of information worker and artist.
In autonomist writings, the information worker is often conflated with the artist worker to characterise 'creative labour'. For my interest: the parallel between software and work is encapsulated in the way the personal computer has become like a personal-social factory, in which established social relations remain unchallenged or become even further entrenched.
The figure of the hacker expresses something of the sense of autonomy that the autonomists have described as lacking (more on this in seminar 5). This emphasis on the centrality of autonomous and creative labour is also characterised by Barbrook and Pit Schultz in their 'Digital Artisans Manifesto' (1997). They propose the 'digital artisan' in which autonomous work is made possible in the manner of past craft workers (1997).
18. (virus alert)
It is work itself that needs to be transformed and made more autonomous according to Negri, not by the reappropriation of work but by the refusal to work. Refusal is seen as an affirmation of the worker's creative capacities, outside of capitalist relations of production (cf. neoist artstrike working on situationist principles). The strategy of refusal represents not a liberation _of_ work, but _from_ work (cf. art work that does work).
In Negri's terms, examples of reversal have not gone far enough in transforming labour (and this is why he considers socialism to be a repressed alternative to capitalism). For instance, labour time is more difficult to measure and is less distinct from time outside work, much of it now practised as 'nonwork', outside of traditional production processes - 'notworking' as opposed to networking. These tendencies can partly be recognised in relation to the computer, in the way it has redefined social practices and relations.
In conversation with Negri, this is what Deleuze anticipated: 'Computer piracy and viruses, for example, will replace strikes and what the nineteenth century called "sabotage" ("clogging" the machinery).' (1990)
For example, Geert Lovink and Florian Schneider explain that when no other choice is possible, 'sabotage can be seen as a sort of anticipated reverse engineering of the open source idea' (2001). For example, 'Floodnet' software was developed in 1998 by the Electronic Disturbance Theater, allowing for 'virtual sit-ins' (or online civil acts of disobedience) in the spirit of direct action, and offered as a tool to enable protestors to effectively shut down web servers of target institutions, by flooding them with requests. In this example, the tactics associated with the refusal of labour in the material world are adapted to an understanding of immateriality and communicative labour.
The creative power to use technology differently, to reappropriate it, still rests with those who have the expertise to operate it. Systems operators, programmers, computer scientists, technicians, software engineers, designers, computer-literate office workers, and software artists clearly hold the potential to use and abuse this invention power. This is what Negri calls '"invention power" - the creative capacity on which capital depends for its incessant innovation' (Dyer-Witheford 1999: 71).
This is the challenge for art-work (and my interest in working with software).
Contradictions between human and machine agency are central to Christophe Bruno's _Human Browser_ (2006). Using wireless headphones, a human actor hears a text-to-speech audio that comes directly from the Internet in real-time, and simply speaks the words.
show video documentation from transmediale.
Pit Schultz (2005) 'The Producer as Power User', in Geoff Cox & Joasia Krysa, eds. _Engineering Culture_, New York: Autonomedia, pp. 111-125.
Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari (1990 ) 'The Desiring Machines', in _Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia_, trans. Robert Hurley et al, London: Athlone, pp. 1-50.
Josephine Berry Slater (2005 ) 'Bare Code: Net Art and the Free Software Movement', in Geoff Cox & Joasia Krysa, eds. _Engineering Culture_, New York: Autonomedia, pp. 133-149 http://netartcommons.walkerart.org/article.pl?sid=02/05/08/0615215
Geoff Cox CC 2006
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