Raley and Capital

Many of these visualizations and programs (ecosystm and Black Shoals) look cool and dole out information in a comprehensible way, but, as I mentioned in the first part of this response, to what end? Again, the value in these seems to be an intellectual awareness of the inner workings of some system — in this case, the capitalistic one. And whereas it may seem to be not only an interesting, but also pretty, project, I have to wonder what the actionable item here is. This project seems similar to – we can see these connections, these companies and and these visualizations are interesting and eye-opening, and yes, they bring about a certain awareness that may have been lacking before. And then?

Again, in this chapter, Raley retains a certain sense of optimism about the possibilities of new media to “disrupt” the system – or more accurately, for their interpretive qualities to somehow become disruptive and interruptive. And I think there is value to this – that the little changes will somehow coalesce into big change, but that direction isn’t clear. Maybe it’s like this. ( Which just completely argues the other side of my tirade about the seemingly ineffectuality of these projects… I suppose this is the ultimate hope for new media and tactical media projects – that through bringing awareness, people may start changing the way they live, get involved with an organization, etc. I particularly like this game, which raises awareness about poverty (, and do think that the value in projects like these is to raise awareness in hopes of prompting people to take action to affect change.

One question I found particularly interesting is that of whether anything can exist outside capitalism. I often wonder how strongly the framework of capitalism is, and if it is truly all-encompassing. I tend to think not. I believe there are societies that live outside of global capitalism, but not many. As technology progresses, the idea of informational capitalism is one that is present and compelling – the decrease of material capitalism, and the rise of representational capitalism – where money becomes immaterial, and representative as a form of exchange within information systems. It quite reminds me of Marx’s idea that “all that is solid melts into air.” But the Raley brings us back (via Leyshon and Thrift) from speculative capital to the materialism of humans and society, which I very much appreciate. I find oftentimes that discourse revolves around theories, issues, and transcendent thoughts, at the exclusion of talking about the material.

And…speaking of the digital controlling our markets

Kevin Slavin also does a great TED talk about algorithms that addresses high-frequency trading and the ways in which we have relinquished the flow of our markets to machines.

These were two incidences I was thinking about during the discussion of the “Internet as an organic entity” (Raley, 134). Which I think is technologically determined and not productive to think about in a way that Robins and Webster speaks of it (if I’m reading them correctly). I much rather like Terranova and Zizek’s take in that the material, labor, and power are still huge factors – external ones that play upon electronic information.

Back to Response to Raley Part 1


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