Project Proposal: Interface, Inter-relationality, and Ecology

Project Proposal:


I’ve been fascinated by thinking about the relations embedded within the production of our relations. The interface is an apparatus that allows for certain relationalities to be produced. Within a technology-human relationship there is a certain level of subjectification that occurs that produces ways of being-with technology that then mediates new human-human and human-technology relations. However, I’m curious also about how this subjectification might be considered as movement towards technological and human progress. However, I feel our accelerationist nature has focused much on our relationship with technology and the progress it affords, but not necessarily with the relational costs of technology. I’m proposing a New Materialist analysis of the materiality of interfaces, specifically to think about the faces behind the interface. As our subjectivities are formed by technology, some peoples subjectivities are formed in new and not so productive ways in the production of those technologies. I think it’s important to outline the types of subjectivity juxtapositions being produced by the rhetoric of progress within nature/culture binaries, and to expose the relational costs of our progress at the cost of the conditions of child miners, the network of conflict minerals, and ecological catastrophes.


In terms of theory I’m thinking about approaching this project through a Harrawayen String Figure analysis: connecting the possible relations embedded within an apparatus in order to better understand how the apparatus and it’s relations operates.


This project will operate under a New Materialist framework thinking critically about the materiality of these relations embedded within the String Figures—minerals, labor, subjectivities, environment.


The exigence for this project is to continue to work against the nature/culture binary that deems nature as being an innate object at our disposal for the sake of progress in the Capitaloscene alongside of the new labor subject relations.


My hope is to put into question our response/ability (Barad) to these newly formed interfaced subjectivities and the relational cost of our progress.


I was kind of surprised that the concept of Desks showed up in this book. Although, I guess it’s a philosophical tradition to discuss our world through tables—anywho. There is one thing that Flusser made me realize that I don’t think I necessarily thought of before. The Desk and it’s various orientations signifies are certain materiality of power. In the beginning of the chapter, Flusser mentions that desks have the ability to organize chaos (125) which connects quite niceley to his previous comment about his previous comment about writing as being the gesture of “wanting to-be-free from the stolid resistance objects present to subjects. The digging aspect of writing is an informative gesture that seeks to break out of the prison of the conditional, that is, to dig escape tunnels into the imprisoning walls of the objective world” (12). I find his explanation of writing as being a means of ordering, organizing, creating a solid state for the chaos in the world to be interesting especially in conjunction with his notions of power. Where power for Flusser seems to be this notion of creating restraints for others, the same way that writing creates restraints for entropy. One thing I couldn’t stop thinking about though was this notion of the desk as being a powerful thing. It made me realize that objects have the ability to place restraints around phenomenon producing that relationality of power Flusser discusses. Which made me really begin wondering, what other materialities are embedded in simple everyday things in terms of their affect—they things that they make possible.

Predicting Planned Obsolescence?

Disclaimer: This book is outrageous, my claims might be as well haha. Also, my claims operate on the notion that Trystero exists, which I understand is debatable O_O

I’m beginning to wonder if Trystero was meant to function as an allegory for the obsolescence of certain technologies and relations. I’ve only come to this conclusion because of this really long section (I’m reading the novel off of a pdf I apologize for the lack of page numbers) where the Yoyodyne executive sends out a column attempting to inquire about whether or not anyone who was in his situation had thoughts of suicide. Following that context there is an event where he enters his kitchen and douses himself in gasoline with the intent of replicating the Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in protest. In the process of doing so a man enters with his wife—the man who replaced his job with the IBM 7094. In that moment when he was about to light his zippo and end his life he realizes that the letters on his possession had the Trystero muted horn symbol.

I’m thinking more now about the obsolescence that a technology brought to a man’s life—no longer being an executive and in losing his wife to the efficiency expert who displaced his position of being a bread-earner of his household—which could simultaneously function as a theme of alienation in a postmodern framework and the alienation that masculinity must have been experiencing from the transition of the hard working business man of the 50’s *eye roll*. In that moment, his relationship to his career is dissolved by technology, and his relationship with his wife, is dissolved by the man who dissolved his career.

Furthermore, I think the Trystero symbol in that moment is meant to function as the obsolescence that an entire group of people are experiencing not only with the alienation of their existence considering the letters were on the topic of suicide but also with the dissolution of an interface due to the Trystero’s obsolescence in society as a postal service.

So…yeah. Maybe that’s the point? Or one of the points? Idk anymore. Thanks for reading! I’m wondering if anyone else has thoughts about the themes of alienation or obsolescence =D