Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PROBE : Kroker Update/Remix

"A superstar today is just another word for a sitting duck."
- Marshall McLuhan

"The recombinant commodity has no (earthly) home, only an electronic sim/porium. A rootless nomad, it wanders restlessly through the liquid circuitry of wired culture. Renouncing its interest in property-relations, it yields fealty only to the empire of speed: the new polity of pure process (economy). Abandoning the tired dialectic of use-value and exchange-value, the recombinant commodity finally discloses itself as a fatal doubling of abuse value: process-abuse for the organic body, and a fatal register of the coming abuse of the standing-reserve of surplus flesh, surplus labor, surplus populations, and surplus states. The recombinant commodity must abandon use-value because the rest position of the referential signifier is death. It must renounce the (alienated) pleasures of exchange-value because recombinant culture occupies the mirrored world of recursive space. Refusing both the alienation of the laboring body in capitalist market exchange and the reification of the fungible body in the promotional phase of the high-intensity market setting, the recombinant commodity works the (fibre optic) vein of the ecstasy of disappearance.

Politically fascistic, culturally a cynic, relationally a sociopath, and psychologically an exponent of object-relations theory, the recombinant commodity is the operating system at the (algorithmic) centre of virtual economy. All the rest is a (computer) *application*: TV channels as abstract vectors of data entry-points into the electronic body; designer fashion as digitally coded applications of technology outreach by promotional culture; model body types (the 'waif look' so fashionably cachet in the 1990s) as bionic constructs straight off the shelf of wired culture; and sudden audience mood shifts as psychological registers of the channeled flows of the media sensorium.

As the operating system of virtual economy, the recombinant commodity functions as a *circulating medium of virtual exchange*. Think of Marx's (virtual) theory of the fetishism of the commodity-form in (re)combination with Talcott Parsons' perceptive, but as yet theoretically unappreciated, analysis of a full-fledged cybernetic system (Virtual America as the world hologram) consisting of dynamic homeostatic exchanges among 'symbolic media of exchange'. Here, the organic body vanishes into its electronic Other as the recombinant commodity works to impose a virtual system of *moral economy* as the new world cybernetic grid. Driven by the dynamic language of the will to virtuality, the cybernetic grid has as its underlying logic the enhancement of (its own) adaptive capacity by the continual redefinition and resequencing of virtual (value) patterns. Virtual debt, virtual populations, virtual labor, virtual money, virtual resources, and virtual wars result. The conquest anew of the disappearing zone of the organic is processed through the violent circulatory system of virtual exchange. Certainly not static, the medium of virtual exchange undergoes accelerated phases of radical expansion and contraction. Its *expansionary* phase comprises the will to virtuality; and its *deflationary* phase is marked by neo-fascist forms of direct action. Neither purely virtual nor essentially fascistic, the circulating medium of virtual exchange *is both, and simultaneously so.*" - Arthur Kroker and Michael A. Weinstein, DATA TRASH: the theory of the virtual class. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994, pp.72-73.

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