Speed Tribes

September 3, 2007

From 2004, as part of the Cultural Hacking edited collection, is my article “Speed Tribes: Netwar, Affecive hacking and the Audio-social” in which I describe the population rhythms of the hardcore continuum in terms of swarm dynamics around the bpm metric.

“The virtual architecture of dread defines the affective climate of early 21st century urbanism. It is underpinned by the sense, as a character from William Gibson’s latest novel Pattern Recognition proclaims, that “we have no future because our present is too volatile. . .”  Exorcising this dread has been a central objective of cultural hackers. In the late 20th century, through breakbeat and vocal science, it was urban machine musics, and their pre-occupation with generating soundtracks to sonically enact the demise of Babylon, that took up this project. Since the turn of the 20th century, audio futurism has explored the themes of war, speed and sensation. A century later, and under the shadow of ‘shock and awe’, what are the current dynamics of this strain of affective hacking?”

Published in ‘Cultural Hacking’, ed. F. Liebl (2004) pp139-156, Springer: Vienna.

The concept of the speed tribe is pinched from Karl Greenfield’s book of the same name, but given a Spinozan twist.


The Affect of Nanoterror

September 3, 2007

From 2005, the first of several articles I wrote with Luciana Parisi of Abstract Sex fame. Its a quircky one, I think – ‘The Affect of Nanoterror’ in Culture Machine online journal. Writing and reading it gave me a sense of vertigo – a fear of falling endless down through the scales of matter. Funnily enough, thats kind of what its about anyway. I like this bit in particular:

“Biofilms form cityscapes in wetland, dank closets, the stomachs of cows, your mouth, the kitchen drain with a decidedly futuristic look: towers of sphere, cone or mushroom-shaped skyscrapers rising from a hundred to two hundred micrometers upward from a base of dense sticky sugars, big molecules and water. Diverse colonies live in different microneighborhoods. They glide, motor or swim along roadways and canals. “

which is very reminiscent of Greg Bear’s Blood Music.

Sonic Anarchitecture

September 3, 2007

Another short article that has just been published in ‘Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practice’, edited by Angus Caryle (Double Entendre 2007) is called “Sonic Anarchitecture”. The text asks what a sonic topology would be, although in material I am writing just now, a vibrational discontinuum seems more interesting than a vibrational continuum.

Anyway, here is another excerpt from the introduction:

“In an essay entitled “Blob tectonics, or why tectonics is square and topology is groovy”, architectural theorist Greg Lynn outlined the unique problem posed by the ‘blob’ as a formal intervention into the design of urban environments. This short text takes Lynn’s blob on a tangent: the blob becomes not so much an intervention into the visual field of the built environment, but rather into its invisible, affective modulation. As such, ‘Blob tectonics. . .’ becomes an unintentionally key text of bass materialism, implying its own sonic anarchitecture. . .”

More info about it here

A new blog

September 2, 2007

I’ve started blogs before and stopped them or left them in suspension. This new incarnation I’m thinking as a mnemonic aid, and to get my writing machine running smoother.

Sometimes I have no memory. Sometimes I forget to remember. Sometimes I have to remind myself to forget to remember things I don’t want to do. Somethings I really want to do but forget to remember to forget not remembering them.

Anyway, this blog has been inspired by a recent meeting with the writing machine otherwise known as Steven Shaviro.

So the first thing you’ll notice that I’ll be publicly trying to remember is what I’ve been writing over the last few years, things that are in a ‘low-key’ kind of way are starting to dribble out in books and articles. After I’ve remembered all of these texts, I will do something else. . .

Contagious Transmission

September 2, 2007

An article of mine called “Contagious Transmission: on the virology of pirate radio” has just been published in this book. The article attempts to understand what Woebot and Simon Reynolds have seminally discussed as ‘Shanty House theory’ via my concept of ‘audio virology’ against the backdrop of war in the age of digital replication, and Mike Davis’ ‘Planet of Slums’.

Here is the first paragraph. . .
“The summer of 2003. holed up in a small room on the 12th floor of a residential tower block in Bow, East London. . .The sweat is running down the inside of the walls. The floor is carpeted in grime and dust. The room is built inside a larger room, a hastily constructed endo-architecture to cocoon the studio, protecting the pirate transmission and transmitters from intruders. The electrics are sporadic but functional. A decimated fan makes the little air that is in the room circulate, generating a turbulent microclimate of dust and smoke. Wires snake their way out of messily drilled holes (also working as
steam valves), out through windows, trailing and flapping against the outside of the block, leading up to the transmitter on the roof. Inside this pirate radio studio, the megalopolis is screaming through the MCs, at a rapid rate which seems to exceed the limits of the human system of vocalisation. The pressure of millions channelled via a few mouths. They call out the name of their rivals in a lyrical assault and battery so cutting, so acerbic that even the dj winces at the verbal violence as he drags the record backwards, halting the proceedings only to return to the edge and roll again, this time building the intensity level that little bit higher. ”

The station was Rinse, the crew was Roll Deep when Dizzee Rascal was still a member.

The article was accompanied by a sound piece by him called ‘The Last 3 Digits’. I might even ask him to put an mp3 of it online. He might say no however. He’s like that.

allies and enemies

September 2, 2007

here is a blog of someone i know. he’s simultaneously a friend and annoyance. Sometimes I have to tell him to ‘shut it’ ‘cos he makes a bit too much noise when I’m tryin to work.