A Small Onyx Frame of Immanence

I conclude with additional briefing details for my future software assignment to the one-half of architects. Any such development is fraught with risk, not only because of what it would leave behind but because of what it might accomplish and quickly lose ability to control. The experimental half turning its attention to the Turing City should consider the five conditions (or admonitions) below. Each represents a limiting opportunity for future projects, of both risk and reward.

The co-evolution of urban behavior and urban software: the iPhone City is embryonic, but it’s evolution will happen quickly. Furthermore, the devices themselves and their capacities will appear to be evolving more in relation to each other than to us. This Darwinism of the device will make it seem that we are their media and not the other way around. Appearances can be factual.

The co-mingling of the hypersocial & the post-social: the explosion of hyperlocal and hypervisual information will both amplify and multiply the intensities of social interaction, but will also reveal the complexity of communication between non-humans (animals, ecologies, infrastructures). Just as collective urban cognition comes online it will be exposed as a hopelessly outflanked minority discourse.

The diegesis of the cinematic interface: the computational intensification of the interface will make it more and more cinematic, and more affectively factual. This will exacerbate everything we already know about the instability of cinematic memory, action, projection, repetition and pixelation, and will bring these deeper into everyday life.

The affinity of things: pervasive computing will make inanimate objects see, hear and comment on our interactions with them. This experience will, in many cases, be indistinguishable from a psychotic break, or from the rituals of classical Animism.

The activation of imagined communities: finally, in a recent interview, Paul Virilio, notes that today’s qualities of technology –instantaneity, ubiquity, immediacy — are those associated with the divine. The killer app of pervasive computing is not advertising to the hipster flaneur, it is religion. It’s impact on Abrahamic monotheisms will be turbulent, existential and fertile. The iPhone City is post-secular.

iPhone City – Benjamin H. Bratton

I found these last two paragraphs particularly enlightening.