A lien°cene

 

(Dan Mellamphy, 2018)

A lienocene[1] would be a kainós,[2] a new age qua era,
the (pre)dominant character of which would be linked to links
[[‘liens’ in the lingua franca]]: an era the (pre)dominant arena of which
would be the concourse[3] of connections, of connectivity.
This is an age, of course, of ‘coursing’ [[that is, of
running programs and programmed runnings—
hither-and-thither, hýpo-kai-hyper, über-und-unter]]
wherein every given position is always-already/always-ready-to-be
riven and driven elsewhere—there where it can be conjoined to
corresponding correlations/correlatives which would work as
capable clones or distant drones of and for that which has
come to the fore [[i.e. the aforementioned ‘position’
qua thesis/this-is]]. Anything foregrounded gets ground-up
and ground-into the foreground’s background, in and on the concourse of
this coursing, at once short-circuiting staid statements—specific theses/this-ises—
and linking them together with other such statements in a well-nigh
[[well-nihilist?]] Longinian long-circuit[4] the length of which is
[[like the sublime of Longinus]] immeasurable for all its apparent
immediacy—this because it is actually and actively mediated. One is therefore
there foregrounded and backgrounded, ground-up and ground-down into
intertwined and interlinked integuments: different dimensions
qua faςades—faces, facets—of [[as-well-as perspectives on
and permutations of]] supposed/posited positions.
Radical reticulations like these
render every thesis
synthetically antithetical from the get-go.
Ongoing ‘going’ in this era and arena is always a ‘going’
that is)  now-here, and a ‘going’ that is here-now goes nowhere, really—
although anywhere, admittedly, taken virtually[5] [[hence the
pan-dimensional gift of Pandora in Greek myth: its pan-
dimensional pandemonium—the incredible reach
of its radical rift and dimensional {i.e. domain} drift—
is presented as a particular present, indeed encased {in the myth}
within {with-and-in} the bounds of a box—aye, A.I.: compute that!*…*/it does]].
Reticulating the right-here/right-now in its ongoing going-on,
the here-and-now itself becomes then-and-there
an anywhere and everywhere now-here
at once utterly addressed—totally targeted down to the very last detail—
and altogether undressed, disclosed/disclothed as naught but a node,
or more-to-the-point a mere point, a go-dot, which by itself
lacks proper perspective/dimension [[or, put positively,
positively “no lack of void”—hearkening here
back to Beckett and his Godot]].[6]
Reticulation turns out to be a veritable prostituition:
a prostitutoringlesson for the human-all-too-human ‘last man’
and the latter’s not/(k)not-so-humble ‘dernier hum’.[7]
The tone of this hum, like the toll of a
death-knell—or the wind when caught-up
in a very deep well—is for some-ˡᵃᶜᵏ-ᵒᶠ-reason
commanding, like the call of Cthulhu or of Madame Edwarda;
re: the latter, see the third volume of Bataille’s Œuvres Complètes,
where “I was pulled out of my dazed confusion by an all-too-human
voice … [[that of]] Madame Edwarda … And her tone was commanding.”[8]
Turning here to Bataille, one might note that when this theorist who,
by George(s), was always in conflict—indeed, at war—with himself,
realized that “I think like a girl removes her dress” [[or more pre-
cisely the way Madame Edwarda—Bataille’s sovereign madam—
makes ‘war’ and/or ‘love’]],[9] in some sense/non-sense he had
opened himself up—in and through this revelation—to an
‘outside’ that was always already [[and in our present time-period,
the era of a lienocene, all-the-more obviously/obvertly in addition to
covertly/covertiginously]] ‘inside’.[10]  The denuded, the disclothed,
is exposed to the outside and in intimate relation to it;
that which is naked lacks nothing, and yet
to be naked/denuded/disclothed describes a lack
none-the-less—indeed all-the-more—in that that which is naked,
although complete [[let us say ‘completely naked’]], remains
in this condition incomplete. Bataille made much of this
in his writings—and today, at the beginning of a
lienocenic era of hyperconnectivity and
continuous [[not-to-mention ubiquitous]]
communication, much more can be made of
[[and made-out from]] it. Our current immersion in the
mediating milieu of an apparently anarchic but surprisingly synarchic
interconnective internet-of-things [[which elsewhere I have called
the app-alliance[11]—hence our immersion into the app-alliance
amongst its myriad other interconnected/inter-
communicating appliances]] makes ‘off-the-grid’ and/or
‘oblique-to-the-grid’ attempts—for instance via masked, walled-off,
or supposedly-disconnected zones qua bounded blindspots—
glaring guises rather than effective disguises …
hence everything and everyone,
regardless of costumes/accoutrements,
is-and-are ultimately, effectively, nude [[denuded, naked]].
Everything and everyone can be seen and/or ‘sussed’/‘sounded’-out
via, again, ubiquitous electro-magnetic waves-a.k.a-radiation.[12]
We are altogether exposed—obscenely so, [[that is]]
even ‘behind-the-scenes’—in this the holocene’s
supposedly-anthropocenic [[but actually electrocenic]] era:[13]
an era here being called, for the sake of web-savviness [[and indeed
for the sake of this website qua webjournal—namely that of the Alienocene.com,
the innermost reticular rings of which are re-/con-/figured as “the first
outernational[14]]], alienocene. We are caught, in other words/
numbers/digits, in its web; and caught naked, moreover.
We are caught naked because the web, for all of its
covert ‘covers’, also always denudes.
Marcel Mauss, in his day, might have said that a gift is wrapped
only so as to unwrap it—and by extension, the spider wraps
that which gets caught in its web [[or again, by extension,
its Mauss-trap]] only the better to denude, devour and
digest it[15]—nature’s Earl-of-Sandwich-tech-and-technique
prior to earls and sandwiches [[but perhaps not sandwitchcraft]].
Reza Aloysius Negarestani would-have called this a logic—the logic—of
culinary materialism (as early as in his essay on ‘A Good Meal’ and as late as
his anthology of essays on culinary materialism a decade later in Collapse
Volume Se7en[16]); in our contribution Collapse Vol.7 and to the
anthology of essays on Negarestani’s 2008 Cyclonopedia
anthologized as Leper Creativity: Proceedings of the
Cyclonopedia Symposium
(2012),[17] Nandita Biswas Mellamphy and I
took the Tiamaterialism[18] of Cyclonopedia’s Hamid Parsani along with
the Shaihuludian planetology[19] of Liet Kynes in Frank Herbert’s Dune,[20]
conjoining them in-and-as the singular ec(h)ology of a lienocene
and altogether alchemical[21]—that is to say transformative—
operation of interlinking-and-ultimately-ingestion
via planet-wide patch-working/cross-stitching
and hypertextual/hypergraphical hypertitching/hyperstition,
not-so-subtly suggesting that such cross-cutting/cross-connecting reticulations
will in the end devour us [[and have been devouring us from the outset]].
As is the case and condition throughout Frank Herbert’s Dune, this is
a rather Samuel-Butlerian take on the technical textum
(cf. ‘Darwin Among the Machines: To the Editor of the Press,
Christchurch, New Zealand, 13 June 1863’ and ‘The Book of Machines’:
chapters 23-25 of Erewhon, or Over the Range[22]), with its Darwinian vision
of evolution and of evolutionary competition extended beyond the
bounds of the merely ‘mineral’, ‘vegetal’ and ‘animal’ kingdoms
[[ah yes, and those of the human]] to the ‘mechanical’ one—
a.k.a. the machinic milieu and what we currently call
‘machine learning’. It is a trope peut-être un peu trop
prévalent—perhaps a bit too prevalent—in popular film
and fiction today, especially in the are(n)a of ‘science fiction’,
where “the machines are taking over” or “the machines are becoming
our masters” are indeed quite ubiquitous, but as we are coming to realize
more and more, it seems that science fiction is increasingly morphing
[[more and more]] into science fact, giving real traction to these
tropes-de-trop. Even way-out-there [[utterly outernational]]
figurations such as those that China Miéville has categorized
under the heading [[or multiple heads]] of “the tentacular novum”[23]
find their weird realism in the tentacular/multi-linked era of a lienocene
wherein we are overtly and covertly connected to myriad things—
becoming in some respects and/or disrespects ‘things’ our-
selves, as in John Carpenter’s 1982 feature-film [[and the
2011 Heijningen/Heisserer prequel]].[24]
U.C. [[Utterly Connected]], we are ourselves
the alien, the monster, the creature connected to
and always connecting with the otherworld or outerworld,
ever “outernationalizing” our native condition(s).


[1] Dedicated those readers who are radically connected yet nevertheless
remuneratively disconnected [[i.e. un- and/or under-employed
like yours truly, DM]]: “alas, humans!”

[2] The Greek kainós [[καινός]], from the Indo-European root *kn̥-,
refers to that which is new or novel—hence a new era, as in the various
cenes that define geological ages [[such as the pleistocene, pliocene
and holocene—not to mention the “We-are-the-Hollow-Men”-
anthropocene of our own Eliotic age; cf. En.Wikipedia.org/
wiki/The_Hollow_Men#theme_and_context
]].
[[The reader will notice various links to the wickedˡʸ ᵖᵒᵖᵘˡᵃʳ
Wikipedia and its wikis, with a wink on-the-one-hand/eye to
Hawaiian AccelerationismEn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki#cite_ref-6
and a wink on-the-other-hand/eye to what the wonderful A.I. Amy Ireland
called Hawaiian Nietzscheanism—Twitter.com/InfiniteSynths/
status/634601620123156480
—]].

[3] The concoursera, with a tip-of-the-hat/nod-of-the-head to Coursera
[[En.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Coursera#Background]] and other such
globe-girdling online info-instructional initiatives—e.g. ᴱᶠFacebook.com/GlobalCenterForAdvancedStudies/posts/203505363158408 😉

[4] Here referring to the first-century author of Peri Hýpsous (Περί Hýpsous),
that famous treatise On the Sublime; cf. En.Wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Sublime.

[5] Virtually anywhere and actually nowhere.

[6] “There is no lack of void”—Samuel Beckett,
Waiting for Godot (New York: Grove Press, 1954:72-73).

[7] Hmmm…

[8] Georges Bataille, Œuvres Complètes
Volume III (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1971), 20-21,
using the Austryn Wainhouse translation from Georges Bataille:
My Mother, Madame Edwarda, The Dead Man, with Essays by Yukio Mishima
and Ken Holdings (London: Marion Boyars, 1989), 130: “And her tone was commanding:
‘Come here’.” [[Yes, this translation by Wainhouse is fairly loose—but its looseness
allows interesting things to come forth, to ‘Come here’. Loose translations
permit intriguing new angles, novel perspectives—albeit ones which
the likes of a Lovecraft might deem downright demented;
cf. the “twisted menace and suspense that lurked leeringly in those
crazily elusive angles of carven rock” at the beginning of his Call of Cthulhu,
“where a second glance shewed concavity after the first shewed convexity”—
Weird Tales 11.2, February 1928, 159-178/287]].

[9] “Je pense comme une fille enlève sa robe”—Georges Bataille,
Œuvres Complètes Volume V (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1973), 200.

[10] Intel Inside™ according to the trademarks (En.Wikipedia.org/wiki/
Intel#%22Intel_Inside%22_and_other_campaigns
).

[11] cf. Dan Mellamphy & Nandita Biswas Mellamphy,
An Algorithmic Agartha: Post-App Approaches to
Synarchic Regulation’ in FibreCulture_25 (2015),
TwentyFive.FibreCultureJournal.org/FCJ-185-
An-Algorithmic-Agartha-Post-App-Approaches-to-
Synarchic-Regulation
, along with its companion-essays
‘Welcome to the Electrocene: An Algorithmic Agartha’ in
CultureMachine_16 (2015), CultureMachine.net/index.php/cm/
article/viewFile/583/605
and ‘From the Digital to the Tentacular, or
From iPods to Cephalopods: Apps, Traps, and EntréeswithoutExit’ in
The Imaginary App, eds. Paul ‘DJ-Spooky’ Miller & Svitlana K Matviyenko
(Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2014), 230-250.

[12] See, for example, last year’s Business Insider article on how ‘The U.S. government
is eyeing a technology that can 3D-photograph people through walls using Wi-Fi’
(BusinessInsider.com/us-military-may-want-wifi-holography-device-2017-5), or
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s post, five years previous to that,
on a ‘New System that Uses Low-Power Wi-Fi Signals to Track Moving Humans—
Even Behind Walls: Namely, Wi-Vi, based on a concept similar to Radar and Sonar Imaging’
(News.MIT.edu/2013/new-system-uses-low-power-wi-fi-signal-to-track-moving-humans-0628),
or the Kaspersky-Lab Daily’s blog-entry, two years after the latter, entitled ‘My Home is Not my Castle Anymore: Technologies that See Through Walls’ (Kaspersky.com/blog/
watching-through-walls/9254
), or—for a final random exampleThe Law of
Communications
CommLawBlog-entry from 2009: ‘FCC Lets Radar-Company
See Through Walls’ (CommLawBlog.com/2009/12/articles/unlicensed-operations-
and-emerging-technologies/fcc-lets-radar-company-see-through-walls
)
[[Academia.edu/28434402]].

[13] cf. Cultural Anthropology’s recent CULanth.Org/fieldsights/1259-introduction-
our-lives-with-electric-things
CFP and Bernard Stiegler’s various presentations on the topic of an anthropological ‘neganthropocene’ (e.g. ‘A Web for the Neganthropocene’:
Canal-U.TV/video/fmsh/A_Web_for_a_Neganthropocene_Bernard_Stiegler_
Institut_de_Recherche_et_d_Innovation.20499
).

[14] Alienocene: Journal of the First Outernational (Alienocene.com).

[15] Here I would invoke the web-crawling spider in all of its forms
—and indeed ‘in formation’, i.e. as an ever (re)forming/ (re)formulating/
(in)formational ‘thing’ [[see below, at the close of the present contribution]]—
in accord(d)ance with the Bataillian tie-in at the close of Nandita Biswas Mellamphy’s
contribution to Volume_29 of Philosophy & Technology: ‘L’Informe Cybernétique:
Concepts of Information in the Contemporary Sciences’: “the concept of
information,” she explains therein, “remains rather plastic and shifting—
or ‘informe’, to use Georges Bataille’s word. ‘A dictionary begins
when it no longer gives the meaning of words but their tasks.
Thus ‘informe’ is not only an adjective having a given meaning, but
a term that serves to bring things down in the world, generally requiring
that each thing have its form. [What it designates has no rights in any sense
and gets itself squashed everywhere, like a spider or an earthworm]’, wrote Bataille.
I would like to suggest that the Royaumont Conference ultimately shows that
the concept of information is itself ‘informe’—that is, in formation:
both formless (which how the French word was translated into English)
as well as form-taking. From this point of view, the Royaumont Conference
was not a failed attempt, but an exemplary event which furthered the development
and intellectual influence of cybernetics in France and in ‘French theory’. In many ways,
it is by extending, distending, protending the senses of ‘information’ that we come to see
how new structures—and new senses of a concept—emerge and take form,
as Hyppolite himself states in his closing remarks (419). In this regard,
the title of the proceedings is rather misleading and does not reflect
the central tensions (of all the diverse concepts and perspectives)
which held the entire Royaumont event together: indeed, it was not
the concept of information in contemporary science which was the main theme,
but rather many concepts of information as they emerge and forge new paths
in the diverse realms of contemporary sciences” (NBM, closing paragraph).

[16] The first essay, ‘A Good Meal’ (2002), is available c/o Web.Archive.BibaLex.org/
web/19960101000000-20181231235959*/http://cold-me.net/text/meal.html
;
the subsequent anthology of essays on culinary materialism in Collapse
Vol. Se7en (2012), is available c/o Urbanomic.com/book/Collapse-7.

[17] Dan Mellamphy & Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, [[1]] ‘Phileas Fog
or the Cyclonic Passepartout
: On the Alchemical Elements of War’
in Leper Creativity: Proceedings of the Cyclonopedia Symposium,
eds. Ed Keller, Eugene Thacker & Nicola Maciandario (New York:
Punctum Books, 2012), 192-212, available online c/o Scribd.com/embeds/
82832497/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=
key-q8ihwwyt31htgenfj52&show_recommendations=true
, [[2]]
An Ec(h)ology of the Désêtre, Part One’, in Collapse: Journal of
Philosophical Research & Development
Volume VII (2011/2012),
412-435, a rough-draft of which is available on Academia.edu/4184528.

[18] [[Tiamaterialism]]

[19] [[Shai-Huludian planetology]]

[20] Frank Herbert, Dune (Chilton Books, 1965)

[21] “A foray into four ‘A’s” [[∀∀∀∀/AAAA
A_lienocenic And Altogether Alchemical ‘ec(h)ology’]].

[22] NZetc.Victoria.AC.NZ/tm/scholarly/tei-ButFir-t1-g1-t1-g1-t4-body.html,
eBooks.Adelaide.edu.au/b/butler/samuel/b98e/chapter23.html
.

[23] China Miéville, ‘The Efficacy of a Worm-eaten Dictionary
Afterword to the New Anthology from Corvus: The Weird’
and ‘Quantum Vampire: The Weird and Hauntological
Versus &/or And &/or Or…?’ in The Weird Fiction
Review, WeirdfFictionReview.com/by/China-Mieville-2
.

[24] Here I should also point to our friend Peter Watts’ excellent take on this trope,
published a year before the Heijningen/Heisserer one: ‘The Things’, available
online at Clarke’s World: HUGO-Award-Winning Science-Fiction & Fantasy, ClarkesWorldMagazine.com/w\Watts_01_10 (Rifters.com/crawl/?p=3674).


$$$
Dan Mellamphy is a lecturer at Western University (@WesternU)
in Literary, Media, and Interdisciplinary Studies,
one of the inaugural—and ongoing—
research fellows of the Center for Transformative Media
at Parsons: The New School for Design (@TheNewSchool), and
the co-founder of  [3] The Electro-Governance Group (@The__E_G_G) +
[2] The Nietzsche Network (@NietzscheNet) + [1] The Centre for Peripheral Theory 
(@TheoryCentre) at those institutions. … His publications include The Digital Dionysus:
Nietzsche & the Network-Centric Condition (2016), anthologized essays in
Marshall McLuhan’s & Vilém Flusser’s Aesthetic Theories Revisited
(2016), The Imaginary App: MIT Software Studies (2015),
Serial Killing: A Philosophical Anthology (2015),
The Funambulist Papers (2014),  Alchemical Traditions
from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde (2013), and Leper Creativity:
Essays on Cyclonopedia (2012), in addition to articles in journals
such as Deleuze StudiesFoucault StudiesDalhousie French Studies,
CultureMachineFibreCultureParrhesiaPaideusisPlatform,
CollapseCyclopsSymposium and Modern Drama.