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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Materialism and universal devices

Last night I was talking to Phil Jones about the politics of piracy. What seems to be at stake, more than fighting against all limitation of access over information and goods, is the defence of some sort of universality. The defence of a universal computer over specialised devices, the defence of a universal fabricator over specialised 3-D printers. Universal machinery means widespread capacity for ontogenesis. It is not about reproducing the existing crystalized objects, in the suitable terms of Joni Kemp, but rather about letting new objects arise. The specialised devices are like controlled flows that a corporation or a government can plumb. A more universal device is an open flow that can go in all directions.

This universality is akin to that of matter. Matter can flow in several directions, the closest to matter one is, the closest to open potentialities one gets. Objects, on the other hand, portrayed as ready-made in their central actuality as Kemp has them (objects are always crystalized items), are like circumvented flows. Matter is what makes it possible for concrete things to become interchangeable - rubbish to become spaghetti al pesto in a fabricator or a bicycle to become part of a layer of the earth after a quake. If this is right, the politics of the Pirate Party should be about matter, about allowing for access to universal ontogenerators and not only to controlled, specialised devices to give rise to more of the same objects.

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