Note — Sep 20, 2020

Stones that Calculate

Quite an interesting “collection of resources about post-digital materiality.” For a few reasons;

  • The topic: “Digitality promised us immaterialness, equality and disembodiment. It never came to be.”
  • The format. An examination of a research field, where the authors explored the “digital conditions within materialist discourses” through three topics (material of the digital, power and geopolitics in the digital, and bodies of the digital) and derived sixteen aspects, which they present here.
  • The website itself as the artefact of that exploration.
  • The sharing of all their sources, which are integral to the presentation. It’s Creative Commons licensed, and they made it available on Github.

The appreciation for the materialistic aspects of technological infrastructures goes hand in hand with the discovery of temporal dimensions beyond anthropomorphic and anthropocentric reductions. Whereas we cannot get rid of the former, as we always conceptualise time from our bodily perception, we can at least expand our temporal notion to the geological realities of our environment. […]

The idea of the Anthropocene as the new geological era assigns humanity a special role in the Earth’s ecosystem. This insight is undoubtedly important, but humanity is not the measure of all things. On the contrary, a view directed solely at humanity is blinding for larger systemic connections. […]

Platforms form new economic entities by providing infrastructures. These intermediate position profits from network effects, which strives for monopolies. This phenomenon is often described as platform feudalism as it concentrates power in private hands. This is especially alarming as few (ever-expanding) companies control critical technologies and services such as AI, social networks and shopping.