Seminar: Axiomatic Earth

April 23rd, 2016

The Axiomatic Earth describes a condition in which calculation becomes a site of political struggle. Technologies of calculation do not simply present an improved perspective of the world, but a different world altogether.

The Axiomatic Earth describes a condition in which calculation becomes a site of political struggle. Allowing different modes of seeing or measuring, technologies of calculation do not simply present an improved perspective of the world. Instead they present a different world, and thus allow the formulation of different problems.

 

The threshold that distinguishes between the calculable and incalculable is a paradigmatic site of conflict since increasingly it forms the conditions of possibility for that which is deemed worthy and worthless, valued and valueless, what can and cannot be insured, what can and cannot be made to circulate. In this sense, we believe there is no single technosphere, but rather multiple wavefronts of calculation that expand throughout the planet, incorporating more and more of life and matter into systems of abstraction and machinic reasoning. These forms of power, work continually to generate new automated couplings between matter, machines, and human beings. They are political in so far as they are contested in ways that constitute new forms of collective subjectivity.

Every technology redistributes a set of affective coordinates and opens up possibilities for political reimagination, whether this is a conflict over the resolution of remote sensors, the classification of hydrocarbons, or estimates of financial credit rating. This seminar will argue that the technosphere is harnessable to political effect, which is contrary to the epistemic hegemony that has reduced the Earth to a problem of financial value. Different modes of measuring will open up the possibility of a different aesthetics and of a radical reformulation of the politics of inhabiting the Earth.