The relation has the value of being.
– Gilbert Simondon, 1954
Amsterdam / Gendringen, December 2022, March 2023The time is right to turn our gaze away from the relentless stream and accumulation of catastrophes and crises gripping the world and instead comprehend our present situation as the new condition. With crises, it is natural for us to seek solutions; however, what we have been experiencing for quite some time now is nothing more than a manifestation of humanity's irredeemable nature. Consequently, the crises have become entangled, ensnaring even archaic notions such as community and human spirit. Communication, encompassing mobility and globalisation, has amplified social and economic inequality, undermined democracy, hollowed out social communities, and equalised the human spirit. "We are no longer in the drama of alienation, but in the ecstasy of communication," wrote Jean Baudrillard as early as 1983. Regarding the Earth itself, Bruno Latour predicted twenty years ago that the climate crisis would render all politics as climate politics.In the late 1970s, artist Joseph Beuys, working with a new 'expanded concept of art,' founded the German Grünen: "Kein Grün ohne Rot" was his adagium. Since then, art has become fully commodified, ceasing its struggle and instead contributing to the homogenization of culture.Why has technology never had a counterpart in the Enlightenment, in the Industrial Revolution, in the era of mass wars and destruction, in the rise of mass consumption and television, nor during the inception of the transistor up to cognitive automata via social technology? Technology has instead become a Narcissus mirror, entrapping us within its reflection. Modern technology managed to operate as a 'free rider', infecting all domains and niches. With Technotlogy we strive to reformulate and expand the concept of technology, connect to the concept of 'Erweiterte Kunst', of 'Expanded Art' to expose and alter the new condition.According to Aristotle and referred to by Heidegger, once, art and techne were seamlessly interwoven, the energizing core of human life on Earth, collectively, psychic and sacred. However, since their separation in the Enlightment, human subjectivity has withered, social bonds are broken, and the living environment is daily losing more diversity and variation. The human psyche, the social, and the milieu, the material environment — collectively ‘The three ecologies’ after Félix Guattari —all suffer under the same modern-technological capitalist regime. If technology's essence were a means to an end, we must examine the causes of Earth's exploitation, mass media chaos and political obscenity, mental degradation, and the furthering homogenisation by cognitive automatons. In other words, if a means to an end, to which end?In a world driven by capital, scientific reasoning and causality, negation or the not effectively exposes technology's hidden nature. The not is about how something which is not is often more important than what something is. Technotlogy is not technology’s opposite but Technotlogy reveals the undemocratic, privatised public sphere nature of modern technology and how this is deeply entangled with the transactional, diverting from the social and life's potential human being and societies possess. To think or build a technotlogical framework that reunites with the ethico-aesthetical, one needs to know what drives modern technology: Technotlogy twists the Möbius strip that Modern Technology is. Therefore, we rewrote the history of technology and we isolated an eight-fold negation of technology, dissecting its entangled toxic and ambiguous sources.
iPhone model wherein OS and Apps are separated + Simondon's individuation form the dynamic architecture of Technotlogy
Technotlogy represents an expanded version of technology, akin to Joseph Beuys' "Erweiterte Kunstbegriff", his extended art concept. Technotlogy does not conquer technology, this would be impossible since all living beings, also the humans, are mediated in their environments through technology; Technotlogy opposes the excesses of modern technology.Imagine Technotlogy as an open-source operating system (OS) with Apps on top of it. The OS is designed for pan-ecological apps to bridge critical theory, technical thinking, a new political economy and artistic-political efforts to resist homogenisation – which forces entropy on life – characterising today's technological dystopia.Grounded on the OS, the OS/App and App/App relations create an ethico-aesthetic ecology connected to vitality that is still untamed. The first Apps we prototyped for Technotlogy are SOOOS, Per~son, ANDSTERDAM and DENKMAL.Technotlogy was concepted between 12/22 - 05/23 by Johannes Bongers as part of Boolean Works.During this period Bongers wrote three Dutch articles on technology, one for NRC Newspaper and Zilverpest, an advanced writing on personal technology. The last one is about the relation between the climate and technology dystopia Link
INDEX TECHNOTLOGY• Intro
• Technology not being technical: The seven-fold negation of Technology
• Once upon a time
• Modern technology is always robbed from the public!
• Let the cognitive automaton 'resume' and hallucinate
• About Revolution of the ConceptsRevolution of the Concepts: 1
o An alternative history of technology
o Transversal poems
o Something personal
o Technotlogy is relative
o Technotlogy beyond human life
o Art and Techne need to be reunited
o Mass media etc.
o Homogeneity, identity, material conditions & what drives us
o Technotlogy is part of a larger corpusRevolution of the Concepts: 2
• Principles of Technotlogy
o Standing Reserve
o Horizontal planes
o Separation organism and milieu
o Erweiterte Kunst
o Diversity vs variety (CAR)
o The Three Ecologies
o Anti-fascist life
o Modern technology
o Social Technology
o Modern technology and human counsciousness
o How did we, personally, got here?Revolution of the Concepts: 3
• Technotlogy as a Sketchbook
o A World Beyond theory
o Social tech is mass media (Serra)
o Technotlogy and the EU
o Why now?
o Richness and variety
o Fazzination 2012-2019Revolution of the Concepts: 4
• Early notions on technotlogy
o Private | Privare
o Individualisation, really?
o Too much communication
o The Valley kills variation
o Trump tweeting on a Dutch platform
o Tech takes over the world
o EU protectionism
o Technotlogy, an extended technology concept
• Letter to NRC
• Zilverpest, my first technology
Technology is not technical:
The seven-fold negation of Technology
As philosophy teaches us, the essence of technology is not technical:"The revealing that rules modern technology is a challenging, setting upon resources, putting nature and man to demand to yield. It is a way of expediting, of driving on to the maximum yield. Such challenging happens in that the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is transformed is stored up, what is stored up is in turn distributed, and what is distributed is switched about ever anew. Unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about new ways of revealing." – Heidegger* 1954.What is often overlooked in Heidegger's 'The question concerning technology'(3) is not the Standing Reserve nature of technology, of Enframing as he calls this. This is often thought of to be the essence of his analysis. Rather, it is the essence of technology's essence that poses the greatest threat: technology, through its revealing nature, defines what 'is' and what 'is not'. What 'is' and 'is not' means becomes clear now Cognitive automatons like ChatGPT launched, and everybody realises what the impact of this technology will be. It will be able to define what 'is' and what 'is not'. But this 'is' and 'is not' goes even much further. “When we inhabit this technological mode of being, where we think of everything as a standing-reserve, we will even come to think of ourselves as standing-reserve. Heidegger says that we feel so threatened when our existence is reduced to being a resource available to the world just in case it’s needed, that we compensate by posturing as “lords of the world”, and we fall prey to the delusion that everything which presents itself to us exists only insofar as we construct it.” Think of the term Human Resource (HR) and it becomes apparent that human beings, through their labor, have become Standing Reserve. And now people treat themselves as products that needs marketing in social mass media production environments. And then robots bare robots.Technology shove us in the world we're in, to sameness, degradation and conflict, for most of us an immersion into involuntary comfort, for others impossible to not go insane. Psychoanalysts have argued that media ecologies and psychic ecologies are intimately intertwined and as such, any exploration of the collective unconscious must engage with how the mind is formed with and through media.(4)
In Technotlogy we added to Heidegger’s analysis the notion of the loss of public to private interests. The term "private" originates from the Latin Privare, which means to rob or steal from the public. Private interests take away from the public good. All modern technology is essentially private technology, stolen from the public. Many find this obvious, but it should be articulated continuously, this crime against humanity. Shell's oil drilling in the North Sea or the harvesting of private data by social tech is criminal for many reasons: the acts itself are despicable, the fact that the goods are not theirs but stolen from the public, and the consequences of their actions, such as polluting the environment, and damaging the mental and social ecology.Technotlogy fights the seven-fold negation that dwells inside technology:1. Heidegger’s revealing nature of technology as Standing Reserve with 2. its greatest danger in controlling what 'is' and what 'is not' in 3. the perspective of private thus stolen public and personal goods, that turns modern technology into private technology which serves to 4. destroy the various living systems or ecologies at the expense of the vulnerability of other players and at the expense of mental, social and environmental health, variety and richness and 5. sell this 'technological dream' as innovation and something to strive for, to become part of that new 'future orientation'. Add to the five fundamental principles the crucial human material conditions technology has appropriated: 6. the compression of time and space (that have not brought proximity or closer relations) and last but not least 7. the appropriation of leisure time into labour. The mechanisation of production and the increasing role of services in the GDP have indeed provided citizens with more leisure time, as expected. However, this leisure time has unexpectedly been filled with additional work in the form of unpaid informational labor. Eight hours on wage that turned human beings into human resources, and the other sixteen hours, unpaid info-labour, to consume mass media, view ads, perform in control society, add data to sleep patterns and heartbeat count, add to the social datapool, and fuel the LLM's and AI driven databases.Be reminded the various causal loops this multi-folded negation produces are entangled and influence each other destructively in ever deeper perverted territories. To name one of them is the relation between language and the body. "The techno-linguistic machine is giving language to human beings, and also taking the place of human beings in language for the current generation. The first generation that learned more words from a machine than from their mothers has a problem concerning the relationship between words and the body, between words and affection. The separation of language learning from the body of the mother and from the body in general is changing language itself, and is changing the relationship between language and the body." (14)
"Once upon a time"
Technotlogy argues technology started when life began and art came to being with human consciousness. Art has very long been technology's counterpart – both sharing the nature of surprise – but, under the revealing regime of modern technology and private capital, art has cut itself off from life.Technotlogy is a basic idea to reconnect art and technology. As art and techne were once deeply related, as Heidegger wrote in 1954:"Once upon a time, not only did technology bear the name τέχνη. Once upon a time, τέχνη also meant the uncovering which brings forth truth into the radiance of what appears.Once upon a time, τέχνη also meant bringing forth the true into the beautiful. τέχνη also meant the ποίησις of the fine arts."Technotlogy reconnects technology with art, not as they act and appear today, but in their ‘extended versions’ where art and tech shape the relations between organism and milieu.
Modern technology is always robbed from the PUBLIC!
The term "private," as in private property, comes from the Latin word "privare," which means "to rob, steal." Private refers to Roman life when something has been taken from the public domain.The EU GDPR regulation focusses on digital privacy. We have always argued privacy is important but far less than the general impact from Technology on the vitality of the human mind and the resilience of the social body. EU GDPR should focus first on the 'stealing' of the public, the robbing of private data follows automatically as a result from the first crime.The Triumvirate of Private Capital, Nation State and Technology is clearest depicted in the surveillance industry, of the Control Society. The public interest and personal integrity is fully neglected in favour of control over the individual and the collective. One more reason to switch from nation state to transnational democracies.Notion: What do private and public mean under late capitalism since there are no secrets anymore and everything is on public display? Mass Media and Social Mass Technology reverted the meaning of stealing (of private) and turned it into entertainment. Today everything is public except capital and the ownership of tech and media companies. Modern technology is Private technology, meaning robbed from the public realm.
WE ASKED THE COGNITIVE AUTOMATON TO resume and NOT hallucinate:
Technotlogy aims to reconnect art and techne, fostering a holistic approach to technology that values human subjectivity, social bonds, and environmental diversity. By addressing the shortcomings of conventional technology, it seeks to restore the coherence to the three ecologies: the human mind, society, and the living environment.The open-source operating system Technotlogy serves as a platform for pan-ecological apps, which integrate critical theory, technical thinking, and artistic-political efforts. These apps are designed to counter the homogenisation and entropy that have emerged from the current technological landscape. By promoting diversity and variation, Technotlogy aims to create a more sustainable and harmonious relationship between humans and their environment.Key features of Technotlogy may include:- Decentralisation: Encouraging a distributed network of users and developers, ensuring that no single entity has control over the platform and its apps.
- Privacy and security: Prioritising user privacy and data protection, empowering individuals to control their own digital footprint.
- Ethical AI: Embedding ethical considerations and human values into artificial intelligence systems, ensuring that they serve the best interests of humanity and the environment.
- Accessibility: Designing user interfaces and experiences that are inclusive and accessible to people of all abilities and backgrounds.
- Sustainability: Promoting energy-efficient technologies and practices, minimising the environmental impact of digital technology.
- Collaboration: Fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration between artists, technologists, and critical theorists to create innovative solutions to contemporary problems.
- Education: Encouraging digital literacy and awareness of the socio-political implications of technology, empowering users to make informed decisions about their digital lives.Technotlogy is a bold vision for the future of technology, one that seeks to heal the rift between art and techne and restore balance to the three ecologies. By challenging the status quo and embracing a more holistic approach, Technotlogy has the potential to transform the way we think about and interact with technology, creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
About Revolution of the concepts
It makes no sense to propose an alternative for our predicament without discussing the basic concepts that our reality is based upon or obscured by, which, today, is pretty much the same thing. Instead of questioning, "What is Technotlogy?" we first need to question what technology is and what the not in Technotlogy represents. But much more importantly, we must question the wider context technology is part of. This immediately raises the question of what the basic nature of human beings is, a topic relevant in posthuman theory but also a key question in philosophy throughout history.Revolution of the concepts is inspired by Joseph Beuys' 'Revolution der Begriffe,' which he used to rethink the concepts of his time, stretched between communism and capitalism. We find ourselves at a similar brink, but arguably even more fundamental, since the urgency for change has become so material, mental, and physical that it is hard to ignore. We may not be philosophers, perhaps because Marx argued that only thinking that leads to change deserves to consume our precious time. However, it is evident that we need philosophy, theory, and basic knowledge of the main concepts, approached transversally and holistically.We require analytic skills and creativity to connect, reconnect, twist, and reverse many of the ideas needed for a new platform, a way to reconnect art and technology – the two most fundamental human features that both illuminate and obscure our reality today. And, obviously, we need to connect these concepts with our previous and future work, art and tech – and not just our own since Technotlogy is open source, – for which Technotlogy will be the future Operating System.Below you'll find four (4) chapters of Revolution of the Concepts. DISCLAIMER: the content needs thorough editing as the topics evolved during many sessions. (March 29, 2023)
Tilly Talbot, a designer powered by artificial intelligence (March 2023)
Revolution of the conceptS: 1
An Alternative History of Technology
Technology (not modern technology) came to existence when life began, when living organisms emerged from non-living matter. At the same moment the environment came to existence and entity and environment became one while being separated. Technology mediates this highly ambivalent relation, in Simondonian sense, relation understood as 'being'. Technology relates the relations between organisms and environment. The mediation of the in between, between the relations of the living entity and its environment, that is technology.Later – the Greek isolated and refined this relation as a human relation – art and techne became one source to celebrate, reflect and express themselves in a psychic and sacred environment.From the time humans stick to the earth – agriculture and cities – exploitation began. The privatisation of public goods, at the expense of human labour and agency, have been the greatest and most devastating change in human history. Modern technology is an expression of it. So modern technology is, in our view, not technology.Technotlogy, today, reconnects the Greek sources of technology, being art and techne. So Technotlogy is about relations, about individuation and about art and becoming. Technotlogy is extended technology, the same but different from Erweiterte Kunst, ‘extended art’, the concept of Joseph Beuys. By blending these two extended concepts, we may find a path to address the pressing issues of our time and ultimately save ourselves from the negative consequences of modern technology's homogenization and exploitation.
"The heat death of our universe, which is expected to occur in 10^100 years, represents our entropic fate. This eternal world of sameness, though, is unfolding right before our eyes: social mass media, cognitive automaton, exploitation of everything that is exploitable, perverse inequality and conflict. Both left and right fight over ideology, detached from social and ecological materiality. But thank God, for the 50 flavours of peanut butter.""Ecstasy of Communication"(1) from 1986 is spot on today, describing the dystopia modern technology has ushered us into — a realm where the social has disappeared, boundaries have collapsed, the narcissistic self has emerged, and mass media politics have become obscene and pornographic. Inundated with communication, true connection has become impossible. Many have wondered what Baudrillard foresaw back then.Today an even darker image rises. "Despite the California illusion, the overlapping of digital networks and organic conscious networks has proved to be a purveyor of chaos. The realization of Reason results in geopolitical, environmental, and psychological chaos, as we are experiencing in the current decade"(2).Most recent, the emergence of 'reasonable' automatons—technical-linguistic hybrids—is not only replacing human reason but also imposing goals upon us and prescribes a version of reason that has ultimately failed. Just when we’re arguing to abandon our ‘bad reasoning’ and language, having been disillusioned by how we thought organisms exist within their environment, language transforms itself into a ubiquitous cognitive automaton that is going to guide our daily life …. forever. Hell, but it aligns perfectly with the epistemological crisis we’re in: we choose to automate our own stupidity. To let this sink in, consider a transversal poem just before technology took over, this one is from 1989! “Just as monstrous and mutant algae invade the lagoon of Venice, so our television screens are populated, saturated, by 'degenerate' images and statements. In the field of social ecology, men like Donald Trump are permitted to proliferate freely, like another species of algae, taking over entire districts of New York and Atlantic City; he 'redevelops' by raising rents, thereby driving out tens of thousands of poor families, most of whom are condemned to homelessness, becoming the equivalent of the dead fish of environmental ecology.” (3) Another transversal poem, this one is from 2023: “Or, as in Purdue Pharma's case, the disgraceful murderous Sackler family killed millions of Americans by injecting poison opioids, into their families, into their houses, and telling them it was safe. It's only peer is Fox News, the most corrupt company in the world, that has done the same but it injects misinformation through the television set. It confuses and misleads, it's a cancer on democracy.”(4)1. Jean Baudrillard 'Ecstasy of communication', 1987
2. Franco (Bifo) Berardi, Unheimlich: The Spiral of Chaos and the Cognitive Automaton, e-flux Notes , March 10, 2023
3. Félix Guattari, The Three Ecologies, 1989
4. Steve Smidt, YouTube, March 19, 2023
In Technotlogy the concept of closure plays an important role. Closure 'closes' the being in the environment, as in the concept of Umwelt, but closure has a much wider and more fundamental meaning. Closure makes being possible.The binary between entity and milieu doesn't exist. Not because its borders are too vague or fluid to separate one from the other, or that the conditions of the milieu define the entity – they do – but because they are one. Since this argument won't hold for one second outside this text we immediately create a binary to exclude the 'living being' or, in Simondonian terms, the individual, from its milieu. And here we are, that's what we did.As everybody can understand, excluding the entity from its milieu destroys both the entity and its environment. There is no environment without entity and no entity without milieu. "Destroying the environment, destroys the organism" to quote Bateson. Here enters the concept of technology. Technotlogy is just that, precisely that, that loops the entity back to the milieu and the milieu to the entity: perceptual, functional, communicational, adaptive to other Umwelten, update of the DNA etc. This looping needs closure, otherwise there can be no systemic coherence, no space nor time and no meaning.The concept of closure originates from math and biology and is related to continuity, feedback, sets, inverse and reverse. In Technotlogy art and techne are its foundations. Then is becomes easy to understand how quintessential Closure is as a concept: it structures biological, psychic, social, literary and narrative entities in their milieus. Closures are timespatial narratives, sculptures, cartographies, and visual representations that capture the dynamic process of becoming within one's environment. Indeed very sketchy as I mentioned before, but with strong hints to language, sculpture, architecture and psychoanalysis.
We're reinventing ourselves for the nth time. Since 1991 we work on Boolean Works, an alternative workspace for the three Boolean operators AND OR NOT – appropriated by code and technology – for a poetic and non-technical art and theory. Boolean Works is our full scope and ongoing attempt to formulate a kind of Technotlogy avant la lettre. But, to be honest, before Technotlogy we were not able to fully define and detect our feeling of ‘unheimlichkeit’ in relation to technology and the fact nobody else shared our intuition, did not help. With Technotlogy we’re getting close, also because we’re in the middle of a disastrous crisis that is both epistemological and undermines our being on this Earth.We are convinced the dystopia of technology is epistemologically related to the way we understand and treat ourselves, our psyche, our communal sense and social constructs and how we understand and treat the living environment.Our question today is: can we think technology (as a concept) even more fundamental than Heidegger did, about something that preceded modern technology and that, at the minimum, started non-anthropocentric and is not causal? Is there something to reconnect what lies hidden behind ‘human reason’? Can we imagine ourselves different from the binaries and workarounds religion and later the sciences offered us to close the loop? And, let’s cut this in stone, that is leading to the destruction of the human psyche, the social and the living environment. This would not be taken as a viable scenario to build humanity on if we started again. But we stuck to it as in a obsessive-compulsive disorder.Yes, we cut Möbius strips in the mid 90’s (even for a live audience), as sculptors we’re from the post-structural ‘skin’ school, of appearance, construction and topology and we finally computer modelled our sculptures, architecture and CGI textures. These skills combined make a basic toolbox for our problem at hand. How is the organism (entity) and its milieu 'connected'? What is a viewpoint when there is no hierarchy? In the counterpoint relations in nature, of leaves and water distribution, of the sun and the eye, through Goethe and Martin Krampen, we related these immense difficult to understand concepts (which we are ourselves) with how living entities create meaning. Through what we call technology.
Fazzination 2012-2019 Our first attempt to deconstruct the Standing Reserve of modern technology. Fazzination.com
Technotlogy is relative
Technotlogy reconnects art, politics and biology to fight the homogenization of today’s technology dystopia, where human subjectivity is dying, the social is already a simulacrum and the living environment is polluted and lost its variety. The heat death of our universe, which is expected to occur in 10^100 years, represents its entropic fate and is unfolding right before our eyes. Technotlogy makes use, of what Freud saw as the manifestation of the unconscious: negating something tends to increase its presence. Negation is a strong force in a scientific environment where reason rules. But when technology is so reasonable, from where originates the breakdown of knowledge and earths exploitation, and the mass media chaos? Technotlogy negates most of what is understood as today’s technology since today’s technology is not technology but ‘modern technology’. Then what is technotlogy? Technotlogy came to existence when life began, when living organisms emerged from dead matter, the same moment the environment was born. Technotlogy relates the relations between organisms and its environment. And Technotlogy reconnects the Greek sources of it, being art and techne. So Technotlogy is about relations, about individuation and about art and becoming. Technotlogy is extended technology, the same but different from Erweiterte Kunst, ‘extended art’, the concept of Joseph Beuys.
TECHNOTLOGY BEYOND HUMAN LIFE
By extending the concept of technology beyond the anthropocentric realm, Technotlogy positions technology as a fundamental aspect of the relationship between organisms and their environment. In this broader sense, technology can be seen as a set of strategies, adaptations, and tools employed by living beings to survive, communicate, and thrive in their respective Umwelten / milieus.This approach aligns with the biosemiotic perspective, which views life as a complex network of signs and meaning-making processes. In this framework, the development and use of technology are not exclusive to human beings but are rather a ubiquitous aspect of life in general. Technologies, in this sense, include the various ways organisms have evolved to interact with their environments, such as the way plants use photosynthesis to capture energy from the sun, or the way birds build nests to protect their offspring.Viewing technology as a semiotic expression allows for a more holistic understanding of the relationship between living beings and their environments. It encompasses not just the physical tools and inventions created by humans, but also the myriad ways in which all organisms adapt, communicate, navigate and explore their surroundings.This broader perspective could lead to a more nuanced and integrative understanding of the role technology plays in shaping our world. It may also help develop more sustainable and harmonious ways of interacting with the environment, as it is recognised that the essence of technology is not technical that treats everything as Standing Reserve.
ART AND TECHNE NEED TO BE REUNITED
In the late 60s, German artist Joseph Beuys seized the opportunity to redirect the power of art towards changing individual and collective agency, emphasising freedom, social and economic equality, and a new awareness of living in harmony with Earth and nature. In the Netherlands, the triad 'Mens, Maatschappij, and Milieu' embodied the same balance and blueprint for this new awareness. At the time, art was powerful and could act as a lever for change, particularly through Beuys' Extended Concept of Art: the Erweiterte Kunstbegriff. The German Green Party emerged as a vital political force from this artistic energy, with Beuys as its co-founder. Today, the party is part of the German coalition.However, since the 1980s, art has lost its power to capital that perpetuates the Cartesian dualisms, obscuring the reality underlying today's predicament. From the 1990s, as technology gained prominence, art became part of the neoliberal coalition, subsequently losing its political and social potential for material change to the market, ideology, identity, and culture wars. This shift fuelled the new powers of private technology and social mass media.As noted, in ancient Greece, Art and Techne were not separated. Technotlogy rises as the extended concept of technology, accompanied by the Erweiterte Kunstbegriff. Art and Techne reunites. By embracing a holistic approach and addressing the imbalances that have emerged in recent decades, Technotlogy seeks to restore the lost connection between art and technology, empowering the coherence between the human mind (mens), the social (maatschappij) and the environment including all living organisms (milieu).
MASS MEDIA ETC.
The political demolition of the social from the 1980s, strengthened by mass media in which the social reappears as an illusion – Baudrillard (1984) speaks of a simulacrum, a copy without an original – was stopped around 2000 with the birth of social mass media technology. Mass media and social technology based in the US, products of Silicon Valley investors techniques since 1950, merged. This was a fusion purely aimed at extracting value from 'living together'. Again, the 'social' was an illusion, the marketing product, that carries the promise of a community within itself. Modern technology is at its best because the disastrous consequences of it can be written off as the fault of human nature due to the public's misunderstanding of the technological nature. Modern technology extracts value from the space around the Earth, from the Earth itself, from communities, and from individuals. Individuals are stripped of their human agency and collective resistance (through social technology?) has become intrinsically impossible. It is therefore incomprehensible, and politicians are not worthy in their protective and predictive role, that left-wing political parties did not resist these technologies from day one. If only because of the perverse ownership structures of them, or because it sedates voters. Whether these parties now associate themselves with one ecology (PvdA through social), with two (GroenLinks through social and environmental) – the third ecology of the mind, where it begins and comes together, is no longer addressed in politics after 1970 – left-wing politics is not possible through modern technology. Therefore, in 2020, we suggested an alternative technology paragraph to the merger partners PvdA/GroenLinks, and in 2022 to the newly established 'De Socialisten'. However, the concept of technology or social media does not appear in the founding documents. My proposal to reject modern technology and social media, stop imperialism at the EU border, received 3 out of 91 votes, with one abstention. I therefore direct my attention to Technotlogy to contribute to diversity in the world along with SOOOS, ANDSTERDAM, Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel, and Per~soon. There is one very good reason to do so and it doesn’t lie in the past or present. Diversity in the future draws from the source of possibilities and potentialities that are laid today. The decline today will exponentially degrade in the future.
Homogeneity, identity, material conditions & what drives us
Homogeneity and identity
Humans, both as individuals and collective entities, have recklessly destroyed the very essence of life - diversity, variety and richness in our relationships with ourselves, others, and our environment. We live in a world where homogenisation and sameness dominate the psychological, social, and biological landscapes. We are bombarded with endless options, yet they all seem to be variations of the same: 25 different types of peanut butter, 50 mass media channels, 100,000 TikTok dance variations of one song, cars under the hood are indistinguishable, and bookstores are overflowing with cookie-cutter bestsellers. The natural landscape in the Netherlands has changed to be dominated by a few plant species due to a disastrous environmental monoculture leading to a loss of variety, diversity, and semiotic richness. Similarly, just a few US based tech companies now dominate global societies' communication infrastructure, providing a social simulacrum to accelerate and redistribute data and proliferating sameness and conflict. Social Mass Media Technology is atomising individuals and collectives and supporting the creation of static identities. People who dare to be different are often met with suspicion, and the fear of being "cancelled" perpetuates this trend towards uniformity.Material conditions
Technotlogy is a response to the material aspects of our lives and its relationship to the decline of diversity and increase in homogenisation. The pressures of modern life have made us "productive" 24 hours a day, with only 8 hours spent working for low wages and the rest spent contributing to social mass media tech companies, by viewing ads and consuming and improving algorithms and adding data to AI models, all for the benefit of the top 1%. Over the last 40 years, the U.S. has seen a massive transfer of wealth from the public to the private sector, totalling $50 trillion. It's important to always pay attention to language, as it often reveals meaning that is hidden by ideology. The word "private" comes from the Latin word "privare," which means "to steal."What drives us?
For the past 30 years, we have been fiercely investigating the complexities of identity and social technology. During this period, especially in the last decade, two concepts have merged. In 2012, we founded Fazzination, a digital knowledge network, to invest in knowledge that is close to oneself, as a counter to the threat of social media. By investing in one's personal knowledge 'architecture' and breaking free from the 'social architecture' invented by technical and business developers, we aimed to reclaim individual agency. One of our learnings during this period is that simply adding alternative software or regulation, even if possible, will not change anything as it does not address the fundamental questions of what modern technology is and how it supports late capitalist ideologies.Our effort is driven by a deep concern about the domination of the collective over the individual, a hallmark of fascism as warned by Michel Foucault. This domination stifles human agency and creative energy at a time when we desperately need to rethink and to stand up against the numerous challenges facing our world - climate change, social and economic injustice, rising nationalism, the erosion of democracy and the irrelevance of contemporary art by, unwillingly, serving the status quo."For those of us on the spectrum almost everything is black or white. We aren't very good at lying and we usually don't enjoy participating in the social game as the rest of you seem so fond of. I think in many ways we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange – especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis." Greta Thunberg
TECHNOTLOGY IS PART OF A LARGER CORPUS
From 2019 we're working on an artistic-political corpus that has since expanded into a municipality, city, political party, garden and the concept for a new living being. In addition, these parts produce their own works. Human being is central to this cosmology: the question is how it understands herself. This question is relevant because each domain in which man and his mentality interferes is disturbed, affecting humans, other organisms and the entire system.We have been grappling with the question of finding a philosophy of technology that can equip us with the necessary understanding to resist the current domination by modern technology. Martin Heidegger provided profound insights, but this was in 1954, well before digital technology infiltrated our minds and collective networks as parasite and hyper-parasite.Technotlogy offers a way out of this conundrum. Not by offering a whole new concept, like Stiegler, Latour or Posthumanism does but that is often non-materialist, but by combining deep insights from theoretical biology, biosemiotics, philosophy, social theory and by studying artists like Joseph Beuys.The general critique in all our projects is the role technology and mass media plays since WO2 and how it infected the mind, the collective and our relation to the environment. Digital technology has further atomised individuals and collectives, losing their agency. For the main part technology contributes to the instrumentalisation, commodification, normalisation and uniformisation of thinking. Now we're locked inside the spectacle, flooded with signification, in the illusion of the social, sedated by technology, the opium of the people. To challenge this condition, we return to where our cosmology started in 2019 and add a new layer to our cosmology of municipality, city, party, garden and per~son: Technotlog as a extended concept of technology."Tέχνη hieß auch die ποίησις der schönen Künste."
In the earlier quote, Heidegger shows art and technology are deeply related, and we still have a sense for this source. But it is hard to connect with it since both art and technology split up and turned their vital source against the diversity of the human mind and thought and collective potentials. We propose therefore a technology that is beyond our daily comprehension, but still close to us, technology in its most extended concept: TechnotlogyWe believe that in doing so, it is possible to reconnect technology with the source of art. Not the art of the image or digital art, art that contributes to the spectacle, but to reconnect with Erweiterte Kunstbegriff, the extended concept of art by the German artist Joseph Beuys. Modern art serves the status quo; therefore art should extend itself to interfere with life, as a social or political concept or collective counter force, to reconnect the mind, the collective and the environment and to enable each person, "Jeder Mensch", to become an artist. Not to make art but to da/design its own life als part in the coherence between mind, collective and milieu. The extension of art applies to technology as well since art and technology share a common source. We need an extended concept of technology to interfere the status quo. When both extended concepts, of art and technology, meet and collaborate we can overcome the challenges we face, in such a way that it will serve life, the psyche and collectives and contributes against homogenisation and the loss of variety.
Revolution of the concepts: 2
Principles of Technotlogy
We lay the foundation of Technotlogy by relating several insights and principles that motivate our projects since 2019. To put it bluntly: we're working on a relational ontology that is grounded in theory of life, information, phenomenology and art. In Technotlogy two fresh concepts are added. Individuation of Gilbert Simondon (1954) which inspired Deleuze, Stiegler and Latour. We relate individuation to identity as 'becoming' to 'being'.Second new is the informational dimension of Bateson and Pierce (1839 - 1914). As you may know we're working on Boolean Works since 1991 so we're very familiar with Leibniz > Boole > Shannon/Weaver information as this lays the foundation of the information society. But this information is not 'relational', leading to the dystopia we are in. We thoroughly believe there is something hidden in the nature of Boolean Logic – the result of a long philosophical odyssee, decoding the logic of human reason – that is expressed in todays dystopia. Tech not logy rejects this since it leaves Life out of the information equation.BECOMING
The first is an advanced understanding that reality and the true nature of life, of all living organisms is becoming. Becoming means that nothing can be reduced, so not even to the 'being' of 'human being'. You always end up in a relation, nothing is. Being is a phase in an ongoing process of individuation according to Simondon and later Deleuze. Think of it: how could an individual ever be, had it not become first? And if it 'is', how to change and adapt without becoming. Look at a young kid or a plant and you understand being is not what it's all about. But in our day to day culture everything is about being (identity) and not about becoming. Becoming is evolving, changing, moving, is relating, is unknown, and this is a mode of existence where it is hard to market products and produce and capture desires.The human organism becomes in its interactive relation with the environment, the milieu, but becoming can be limited by the potential of the organism and the condition and diversity of the environment.Standing Reserve
The concept of modern technology as "Standing Reserve" (Heidegger, 1954). From covering the various Earth's spheres to annexing social structures and parasitising and hyper-parasitising the human mind by social mass media technology. Thinkers after Heidegger – Stiegler, Latour e.o. – have not countered Heideggers deep insight, unfortunately.** Horizontal planes**
According to the French philosopher Catherine Malabou, capitalism has stolen from anarchism the idea of an open plane, on which all is possible. This horizontal plane, life as a platform, is ever further stretching, dissolving differences and is both flattening and homogenising. What seems paradoxical is that the most inspirational contributions in the field of theory and culture today come from cyberculture, from YouTube or podcasts and not from the 'verticalising' institutions of neoliberal academia that are expressions of the status quo. So, ironically (as the final overcoming of the Enlightenment), capitalism, through technology, is at the same time horizontalising, and give rise to the most critical and creative voices and supply a platform for large audiences who are interested what lies under this horizontal plane, hidden from plain sight.Individuation
We argue the current revolt of identity is firstly a response on the social simulacrum, the social that has vanished and is revitalised by mass media and social technology, but eventually grows at the expense of Individuation (Simondon, 1954). Identity prefers 'phase' over 'process' and 'being' over 'becoming'. Simondon's individuation is unique for it concerns all individuals; objects (like crystals and bricks) living organisms and human beings, the psyche and the collective.Separation organism and milieu
The separation of organism and environment is an epistemological misunderstanding turned into an ontological catastrophe leading to the destruction of the environment. The division between organism and its environment in culture and science inspired our conception of Per~son as a relative being. Kurt Goldstein, 1933, Gregory Bateson, 1972 and Jesper Hoffmeyer, 1998 are our great inspirations from the fields of psychology, systems theory and biosemiotics.Erweiterte Kunst
The extension of art into the concept of "Erweiterte Kunst" (Joseph Beuys, 1972) enables art to cover all ecologies and art becomes artistic-political. Erweiterte Kunst, the extended concept of art, engages all people to shape and da/design their world.Erweiterte Kunst is a fundamental critique on the commercial nature of today's art and the art world. The artist, who can be everbody since 'Jeder Mensch is ein Künstler', has the potential to act as a catalyst for personal and societal change.Erweiterte Kunst, a term coined by Joseph Beuys, the pan-ecological German artist, expands art into the psychic, collective and environmental sphere. Art forms are not limited to traditional mediums like painting and sculpture, but also encompass social and political activism, teaching, and other forms of public engagement among them concepts, processes (happenings), institutions, politics, and societal structures.Umwelt
The Umwelt theory (Von Uexküll, 1934) lays bare a species dependent timespace continuum saturated with functional and perceptual cues. Organisms live in different modes-of-existing where the relation between time and space vary enormously. Each species has its own Umwelt, very different from the common understanding of a united living environment. Umwelten can be vastly different from one another, even within the same environment. The human Umwelt dominates by interfering in all other Umwelten.Diversity vs variety
Diversity is hot. We view diversity from a biosemiotic perspective. Biosemiotics claims life has only one goal: the increase of semiotic freedom, the # of ways sign-exchange can expand. Diversity plays an essential role in this: not primarily for the semiotic richness and variety today, as an expression of life's beauty and emancipation, but to keep the source of future diversity filled. Since future diversity (= realisation of potential and possibilities) depends on the diversity that is available today.Cognitive automaton response: "In other words, diversity is important not just for its own sake, but also because it is necessary for the continued evolution and growth of life. The current culture wars, with their focus on winning and losing, are not only divisive, but also harmful to the potential for future diversity. Technology, which is often seen as a tool for progress and advancement, can actually have the opposite effect by exacerbating existing divisions and limiting potentialities."Information
In science and technology Boolean Logic, Shannon/Weiner information, of Sausurian semiotics and genetics in biology – the hard but dumb binary sciences – dominate over biosemiotics, founded on Peircian triadic semiotics, on Batesonian information that is also triadic and universal in all living organisms and systems. Information is a too important concept to have it captured by cosmology, biology or AI. The various understandings need distributed as wide and deep as possible.Cognitive automaton response: "The concept of information has traditionally been understood in a narrow, reductionist way that emphasises only its quantitative aspects, such as the amount of data transmitted. However, more recent perspectives, such as biosemiotics, Peircian triadic semiotics, and Batesonian information, take into account the qualitative, relational, and dynamic aspects of information, recognising that it is not just a one-way transmission, but an essential process that shapes and enables the functioning and evolution of living systems. These perspectives also emphasise the importance of understanding the different ways in which different organisms and systems process, interpret, and give meaning to information, which is why they are considered more holistic and inclusive than traditional binary approaches."The three ecologies
'Tech not logy' is extended technology, to bind and cohere the psyche, the collective, and the milieu (The Three ecologies of Félix Guattari, 1989) into a 'tech not logical' environment.Cognitive automaton response: "The "three ecologies" concept proposed by French psychoanalyst and philosopher Félix Guattari in 1989, refers to the interconnectedness and interdependence of the individual psyche, the collective social systems, and the natural environment. According to Guattari, these three ecologies are deeply intertwined and need to be considered together in order to create a sustainable and harmonious society. 'Tech not logy' is a concept that builds on this idea, suggesting that technology should be designed and used in a way that actively works to bind and cohere these three ecologies, rather than damaging or disrupting them. This could involve using technology to support mental and emotional well-being, fostering social connections and community, and promoting environmental sustainability."Anti-fascist life
Deleuze/Guattari and Foucault's contributions to the "rules" for living an anti-fascist life have inspired us deeply. Also the three instructions on the three ecologies of Guattari (1989) are short and clear: Awakening subjectivity, a constantly mutating socius and the environment in permanent redefinition. To avoid, just as in becoming, that capitalism captures and let you produce desires and thoughts.Cognitive automaton response: "The concept of "Anti-fascist life" is also a central element of the 'Tech not logical' approach, which emphasises the importance of resisting the forces of homogenisation and conformity."
In Heidegger’s ‘Concerning the Question of Technology’ (1954) he clarifies the essence of modern technology. This essence is something different from its means: the essence is not a tool or an instrument. The essence of modern technology is the transformation of all human action into "Standing Reserve" or "Bestand", a way of organising and controlling the world in order to extract value from it and distribute this energy. From agriculture, oil and energy in Heidegger's 1950’s to today’s transformation of human beings into human resources, the appropriation and monetisation of social structures, the technological control over the public and private spheres, the transformation of human communication into data for future monetisation and the technological transformation of language and creative production into standing reserve. All at the cost of human agency, the dissolvement of social resistance against inequalities and young people who are exposed to radical consumerism and technologies that alienate and rob them from their social and political potential. In the final pages of his book, when the danger has been clarified, Heidegger introduces art; only art can resist the essence of modern technology.A battlefield is identity's natural home (Zygmunt Bauman, 2004)
Identity is an a priori in philosophy and social sciences - a pre-existing reality rather than something real. Identity played a huge role during the formation of the nation state and emerged from that process as a standalone and manipulative illusion. With the advent of social mass media technology, identity has been transformed into a feature of high informational energy and media/political value. People have learned to believe and invest in their identity, and treat their supposed identity as a commodity.Social technology
The social body, where public values rule against private domination, vanished after the global neoliberal takeover in the 80's saturated by finance, media, brand and image. In the exploitation of this void, this vast potential, technology remediated a social relational structure, privately owned.Dominance of social technology is not due to the instrumentalisation or mediation of something that already existed, technology as a means, but social technology is the technical simulation of a 'social' that is 'new', 'better' and more collective than social has ever been. This new social simulation is better in storing collective energy, turning it into potential information, and makes it exploitable at any time. And redistribute it where ever its contribution is the highest.Art
Art, long thought of as an oasis in the culture industry, free from the technological mentality, fits in the ordering, as part of the simulation that technology has propagated. The role art once played in the social and in the proliferation of agency and freedom of the human mind has been finally absorbed too as products of cultural politics, of ordering and regulating and supporting the dominant ideology.Life
All living beings, all objects and our psyche and collectivity are 'individuated,' they bring ‘themselves’ into being in the process of becoming. For most of us life in general feels rich, diverse, dynamic, and surprising, always in change and adapting; human life in modern times, though, becomes less and less diverse and vivid and more structured, regulated and guided by a technological force we are subjected to. Identity, as an example, is for young people something to work on, invest in, compete with, improve and identity is their ‘endpoint’, the goal, what is to be achieved. But again, identity is a construction that has no basics in social sciences, it is an a priori. To put it bluntly: today identity is produced by technology into a product where energy is stored for future exploitation. The culture wars, part of the same process, are grounded in the allocation of this potential energy and is a war on time, who owns the future? Social mass media technology platforms these wars. Identity is the symbolic that fuels this wars. To change identity from a technological simulation, and to learn to understand how identity and individuation are related, being vs. becoming, can help people to pull themselves back from these wars. In Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel we started with exercising as a way to connect the two.Modern technology and human consciousness
It is our intuition that human consciousness is unique in the universe, as expressed in language, art, science, psyche and society. Consciousness is not an exclusive human feature, it emerged in many living organisms, without the illusion of an inner self like human beings make. Technology, in contrast with consciousness, is present in all living organisms and its evolvement depends on the complexity of the relation between organism and its Umwelt. Modern technology is a special branch, fundamentally different, ruled by human reason, and evolved over the last 12,000 years. According to Heidegger, the essence of modern technology is ‘Standing Reserve’ (1954): controlling the world in order to extract value from it and distribute this energy. Modern technology is deeply intertwined with capitalism, ownership, and exchange. Think of mining, agriculture, industry, bureaucracy, mass media and technology of the social and the mind, of language, and human imagination. Now culminating in artificial intelligence, which rises as a third entity alongside and above technology and consciousness. It is indeed only syntax and not semantics. But does this matter in a society that thrives on sign exchange and 'spectacle'?In modern humans technology and consciousness collide: modern technology and human consciousness, initially complementary, have become conflicting concepts. This conflict is not surprising since technology and life are familiar, and scaffolding concepts from the very beginning. Human consciousness came much later, has only just arrived, but has become interwoven with technology over time. One from the origin of life, the other human, the two have come into conflict, they are not at all attuned to each other. The becoming character of human consciousness, clashes with the 'becoming' character of modern technology. Now modern technology and human consciousness struggle over each other's origin (life or human) and priority which leads, as Baudrillard puts it, the 'ecstacy of communication' (1984).Human consciousness and modern technology are emergent properties of the body-brain that imagine and relate to how the body-brain becomes (individuates) in its environment. Human consciousness mainly allows the brain-body to check, perceive, process, and perform, and exteriorises the organism-Umwelt relationship. In contrast, modern technology interiorises the organism-Umwelt relationship, and when it overflows by too much simulation and sign exchange, it flows into the subconscious, where it turns into habit and addiction. Suppression and prevention of these effects leads to homogenisation and decrease in variety and diversity. The fusion of modern technology and human consciousness needs a body-brain update.How did we, personally, got here?
Over the past two decades, our work has focused, intuitively, on two of the most pressing issues in contemporary society: identity and social technology. When we started questioning identity, in 2008, social technology had not yet taken over the discourse. Interestingly, during this period, the two concepts intertwined and infiltrated all aspects of public and private life. The proliferation of digital network technology has enabled the further manipulation, appropriation, and control over what is supposed to be identity, and materially decreased individual and collective agency.
Revolution of the concepts: 3
Technotlogy as a Sketchbook
A World Beyond theory
Why has Europe, like Asia, India, and Africa, surrendered to the dominance of US digital technology that destroys human agency, the richness and variety of ideas, and destroys and appropriates the social fabric? After the US's first invasion of TV and advertising after WWII, which turned citizens into consumers, the EU and its founding governments did nothing to protect their citizens or the social and cultural structures against the aggression of US-based technology founded by libertarians. EU citizens and social structures continue to be bombarded by US technology. No anti-missiles or Iron Dome for Europe.Contemporary art has marginalised itself by turning into a capitalist instrument of homogenisation, supportive to the status quo and the dominant ideology. In todays art industry the uniqueness of the human mind (of the artist), as a great source of variation, has turned into the financialisation of scarcity, of the exception, rather than accumulate into an artistic-political movement, alike Guy DeBord or Joseph Beuys, to generally increase human agency, freed from social pressure and conformism, and to inspire individual and collective action for variety, against sameness.
Social technology is mass media
In 1973, the artist Richard Serra (yes, the sculptor) shed light on the structure of mass media in 'Television delivers people', produced by Carlota Fay Schoolman.
Technotlogy and the EU
There is a need for human agency to address the challenges we're facing: climate change, social and economic inequality, threats to democracy and autocracy, and the technology dystopia that we have allowed to emerge. Human agency that is needed to meet these challenges has been effectively diverted to sustain social entertainment and consumption, which has contributed to social conflict and the depletion of natural resources. This has come at the expense of the vitality of the human mind and ideas, the vitality and variety of the social community, and the diversity of the natural environment, all for the benefit of a few individuals and corporations and to preserve the hegemony of the US over the rest of the world.The complex of mass media, social technology, and its private ownership has become one of the biggest obstacles against the growth of human agency.Nearly all social mass media technology originates from the United States and represents the second wave of mass media after advertising and television following World War II. Now the EU is the outlet for this, all initiative comes from the US. And see what consequences this has in the US itself, it has broken up society. To make a new start to free humanity from this yoke, enabling human agency to increase and be available for collective challenges, we started Technotlogy.The EU must technologically emancipate itself from the hyper-capitalist version that the US offers the world. Many things need to change for this, including a more basic understanding of the nature of technology, enabling human capacities to be available for human and life-worthy purposes.To achieve this change, we need to shift our focus away from technology as a means for communication, entertainment and consumption, and towards technology as an attitude for mental, social and environmental revitalisation. This requires a new approach to technology development and deployment, one that values permeability, oppositions, dilemmas and trilemmas, heterogeneity and surprise.Finally, we must prioritise the ethical and moral implications of technology. We cannot allow technology to continue to be used to exploit people and resources for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many. Instead, we must ensure that technology serves the needs and values of all members of society and respects the rights and dignity of all living beings.By taking these steps, we can reclaim technology as the human capacity to build a more just, surprising and sustainable world. This is the vision of Technotlogy, and we invite you to join us in this important work.
Richness and varietyThe coherence between the mind (the world of rich ideas and inner imaginations), society (the exchange of communality and solidarity), and the milieu (the connected Umwelten of all organisms) has shrunk under late capitalism. Richness and diversity suffer from sameness and homogeneity. But future diversity depends on the richness we create today. Social Mass Media Technology contributes to the decline of agency, to the increase of conflict and the breakdown of the epistemological framework for our understanding of the world and humanity's place within it. As Félix Guattari wrote in 1989: "Human subjectivity, in all its uniqueness, is as endangered as those rare species that are disappearing from the planet every day. It is up to us to resist this mass-media homogenisation, which is both desingularising and infantalising".
We founded Fazzination was as a community platform about knowledge, ideas and ideation, both personal and professional, in and between personal and SAAS networks. Back then we were convinced that the content and the user mechanisms mattered in an alternative against US social mass media tech. Today we understand, Fazzination contributed to the "Standing Reserve" and added to the over-saturation of communication, that in itself decreases diversity both in biological and cultural systems (Kalevi Kull, 2005, Maran, 2004).We founded Fazzination in 2012 and built an ecology-of-mind-as-network, in response to the rise of social media; as a counter narrative to it. Our main concern at the time was the potential impact of social media on the mind and the social well-being of society, and to go against the sameness it produces. Sameness is a characteristic of capitalism, and today's technology is its accelerator. 20 political parties in Dutch Congress, 20 candystores in one street in Amsterdam, 20 different flavours of peanut butter in the supermarket, 200 TV channels. Social technology homogenises imaginative and social energy and exploits the human imagination. Therefore, we designed Fazzination around personal and professional fascinations: the platform is safe by design, with a focus on an architecture of permeability and avoiding social acceleration. In terms of business model, Fazzination is without ads or data transfers, and the user is not exploited in any way. How? We merged a free network with SAAS clouds, with the user as the single point of control in and beween both types of networks. This network diversification gave the user maximum control, which turned out to be not always appreciated.We introduced many Dutch cultural and knowledge organisations during the early years of Fazzination. What was their view on de US dominated technology; does it comply with European ethics and social standards? We thought not. VPRO, NRC, Openbare Bibliotheken, OBA, diverse Hogescholen, NPO, Kennisnet, TNO, EYE were among them and we worked with thousands of users, local communities and partners in Fazzination like Gemeente Utrecht, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Avans University.What we didn't know then and what we know now is that you cannot build tech that does not correspond with how people see themselves , and what they expect from a platform like Fazzination. Fazzination was about tinkering, surprise and avoided social acceleration.Below the Fazzination architecture from 2012 presented to the specialists in The Netherlands. "Why do we need another social network when Facebook does such a great job?" responded digital experts in the Dutch Creative and Digital Industry.
Revolution of the concepts: 4
EARLY notions on TECHNOTLOGY
The term "private," as in private property, comes from the Latin word "privare," which means "to rob, steal." Private refers to something that has been taken from the public domain. Modern technolology is always Private technology, meaning stolen from the public.2.
It is widely accepted that the decrease in mental health is the result of the increasing individualisation of society. In the case of social mass media technology this causality is questionable and ambiguous.The human mind is fundamentally embodied and located in time and space. Technology, by compressing time and space, leaves individuals in an undimensional void. Information as space, and news as time, are the equivalents of these compressed, accelerated and hidden dimensions.The architecture and algorithms of social mass media technology claim to enable and optimise personal expression in a safe environment. Expression in a safe environment are the two crucial components for a child to develop a balanced and healthy identity. Social mass media has broken the balance, of this equilibrium, to contribute to the illusion of safety of the social at the expense of the richness of human expression and experiment. Expression in social technology is not meant to create safe / brave spaces for personal expression; these attempts at "becoming" are an intricate part of a social formation based on "being." The transactional communication that target individual users is not aimed at seducing individual minds, but at enclosing them within a sphere of social desire.In social technology human desires are reflected and reinforced through social illusions. Just when i thought i was out, they pulled me back in. Individualisation is misunderstood; it is the social apparatus that individuals should avoid and protect themselves from. The idea of social communities as a safe haven and an ideal is the greatest trick of capitalism and the biggest claim of social mass media technology. Not the individual desires are processed but through them the social bodies are fed and weaponised, in this indirect and roundabout way, to control the individual.This has consequences: in these times of multiple crises and a lack of social resistance, which is blocked and absorbed by social comfort, we depend on the independent minds of individuals to lead us out of our predicament. Social and social technology does not help:"For those of us on the spectrum almost everything is black or white. We aren't very good at lying and we usually don't enjoy participating in the social game as the rest of you seem so fond of. I think in many ways we autistic are the normal ones and the rest of the people are pretty strange—especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis." (Greta Thunberg)3.
Too much communication in too little time to process
Social Mass Media Technology counters the vitality and diversity of ideas, but even diversity of human life itself. The constant flow of information contributes to the idea that too much communication in too little time reduces diversity in both biological and cultural systems.In 1983 the French sociologist and philosopher Baudrillard argued the social has vanished altogether and is resurrected by a structure where everyone is each others hostage ánd terrorist. This is a accurate but gruesome depiction of todays social mass media society.4.
The Valley kills variation
US-based social technology is propelled by venture capital that has been accumulated and managed in Silicon Valley since the 1950s. The business cases, business models, the growth acceleration, software architecture, algorithms, and ideological and commercial exploitation of this technology finally undermine the vitality of the human mind and social variation. Of course we are not against US-based media and tech moguls. EU-based ones like Qwans, Altrnative, or Talpa or Chinese platforms that corrupt their users have our attention too.5.
Trump tweeting on a Dutch platform?
It is important to emphasise that Social Mass Media Technology operates without borders, while users are bound by time and geography. The EU and its member states treat the digital sphere as a global sphere, and in doing so, an unfair level playing field is created. As a result the US invasion of technology and ideology is unprecedented and can not been properly challenged.Have you wondered why US companies and their shareholders are allowed to create immense surplus value, personal wealth, and social and mental damage leading to violence, division, and depression? In the US, this is part of the American dream, but in Europe, it is a nightmare, and US tech gets a free lunch. We Europeans are being foolish. Imagine if the situation were reversed, and the EU took over the US mental, social, political, popular, and media fabric, exploiting and perverting it. How would Musk, Cook, or Bezos like that? Or Trump tweeting on a Dutch platform?6.
Tech takes over the world
The US cultural hegemony began with advertising after World War I, and with commercial television after World War II. It has since hijacked societies all over the world and owns most of today's information, social, and media infrastructure. As a result, it is flooding the world with mental and social garbage and spreading sameness. Alternatively, it completely takes over public sectors and turns them into business divisions. For example, France recently kicked Microsoft out of the education system, where it had complete control over the educational information infrastructure. This is standard operating procedure for Microsoft and its friends, such as Meta, AMS, Oracle, IBM, Google, Apple, Twitter, etc., in many sectors and spheres in EU countries.7.
Technotlogy is not bringing moral and ethical concerns in order to avoid tech wrecks. Instead, we take the mechanisms of capitalism seriously and deconstruct their economic principles to build EU immunity over US technology.8.
Technotlogy, an extended technology concept
Unlike EU alternatives to US social media – such as the Dutch initiative "Public Spaces" – we do not believe that redefining "social" or "public" or applying new design principles can improve communication in late capitalism. The internet is not broken, as some people would have us believe, but is part of the dominant ideology.An earlier Dutch concept called "The Digital City" in Amsterdam hailed as non-commercial, was the dystopian precursor to todays Metaverse. The information clustering (themes, verticals) and the ordering and control were already present in this early Internet. Standing Reserve was in its early stage of expanding into the digital sphere.Heidegger ends his book 'About the question of technology' (1954) with the notion that there is one area of production that is immune to "Standing Reserve': art. But, he added, he had seen signs this was changing too...
LETTER TO NRC, MARCH 24, 2023
Article in NRC NewspaperThe hypocrisy of American concerns over TikTokThe US government's concern over the Chinese app TikTok exposes a glaring double standard, and as a Dutch citizen, I find it disheartening that this narrative has reached the Netherlands. Surprisingly, our politicians are now adopting the same double standard. They condemn TikTok's influence and data collection practices, while turning a blind eye to the tremendous impact American software giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have on the Netherlands, the EU, and beyond. These companies significantly influence mental, social, and political processes through their dominant position in the global digital landscape. By collecting vast amounts of data about their users, American tech companies wield immense power across all communication spheres.As TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, gained popularity, US officials voiced concerns about Chinese espionage and the app's potential to sway US public opinion. However, these concerns fail to acknowledge the broader context in which US tech companies have enjoyed similar privileges worldwide for years. A more balanced approach would be to assess the influence and data collection practices of all technology companies, irrespective of their country of origin. Although concerns about TikTok might stem from legitimate security considerations, it is essential to address the double standards at play.We must strive for a secure digital landscape, in the EU and worldwide, where technology opportunities are returned to users through public digital services. The focus should be on a communication infrastructure that fosters diverse and peaceful coexistence. Imagine allowing commercial parties to participate, while ensuring data remains the property of the user.Public space, as it belongs to everyone, shouldn't be a business model for a select few. Remember the origins of the term 'private': it comes from the Latin word 'privare,' meaning to rob or deprive of public space. Privare takes away the diversity and possibilities from public space, impoverishing it by transforming it into a transactional arena. It's high time we address this unequal distribution of power and build a fairer and safer public digital ecosystem, not just in Europe, but worldwide.As someone who is deeply concerned about these issues, I urge others to consider the implications of this double standard and join the conversation.Johannes Bongers, Amsterdam
Founder of Technotlogy.com
Zilverpest, my first technology
Link to the article Zilverpest (Dutch) from 03/2023In 2012 i gave a lecture for Rob Hundman's PhD festivity at the University of Humanity in Utrecht that was titled 'Zilverpest', Silver Plague. Over the years the concept of Silver Plaque gained ever more relevance.
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