Archive for the ‘studies in dread’ Category

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