Fiction of the Network Society Day 5: Zero History
Today • Brief background Gibson • Concept Zero History • Milgrimand Hollis as “cosmopolitans” inhabitants of Space of Flows • Interconnectedness of world • Function of brands in Network Society • “signal” cutting through “noise” • Paranoia around technology
Zero History • Milgrim’s state • Wider state of culture/meaning in era of information overload • Objects like Hounds clothing that have no readily locatable context
“Signal” and “noise” as metaphors for meaning in context of information overload
How do Hollis and Milgrim function in Network Society? Castells: “Elites are cosmpolitan, masses are local” Where do we see these characters navigate the globe with ease?
Toyota Hilux as image • What kind of life does a heavily armored, expensive truck seem to symbolize? How does this connect to other images in the book?
Hollis Henry as Network Citizen • How does Gibson/Bigend describe Hollis on pages 22-23?
Tactical as a marketing adjective • “How tactical are they?” asked Bigend as the first photograph reappeared. “Are we looking at a prototype for a Department of Defense contract?” (41) • If we think of “tactical” as both a marketing category and a form of identity, what strange intersections appear here?
“The one they entered now was like one of those educational display corners in a Ralph Lauren flagship store, meant to suggest how some semimythical other half had lived, but cranked up, here, into something else entirely, metastasized, spookily hyper-real” (82) • ->Builds on notion that copy can be more “authentic” than real
What is strange about the military being subject to the same “branding” logic as skateboard designers? • And there's a symmetry between designers wanting hot young skaters wearing their equipment and people aspiring to military contracts wanting elite young warriors to wear their equipment. It's the same mindset really. That's historically new. We didn't have that before - it's a late twentieth century shift. What is strange about this shift?
What do we know about this “secret brand”? Why do we think it’s interesting in the context of the Network Society? How does it function as “signal” through the “noise” of the Internet? Gabriel Hounds Frdvtipyion 76-79 “the Internet functions as a necessary instrument of a global economy in which branding, marketing, and fashion are essential aspects.”
Terrifying connectedness • Technology does not always act benevolently here: • RFID tags • Neo (26-28) • “He turned it on, and it began to ring” (29) • “Since this is England, really, you aren’t to consider any phone secure” (67) • Later, Milgrim will fear that Sleight is tracking him through the device • Security cameras (57) • Blue Ant figurine—listening device • Twitter as “darknet” (87) • “grateful for having a pre-You Tube career” (60)
How is the network threatening here? • “Next he’d take the first train to Leicester Square, the shortest journey in the entire system. Then back, without exiting, having assured himself that he wasn’t being followed. He knew how to do that, but then there were all these cameras, in their smoked acrylic spheres … There were cameras literally everywhere, in London. … He remembered Bigend saying they were a symptom of autoimmune disease, the state’s protective mechanisms ‘roiding up into something actively destructive, chronic; watchful eyes, eroding the healthy function of that which they ostensibly protected” (57). How does this moment relate to other moments in the text?