Col­lat­eral Dam­age: Clouds, Criminality and Chatbots


Session Title:

  • Without Sin: Taboo and Freedom within Digital Media

Presentation Title:

  • Col­lat­eral Dam­age: Clouds, Criminality and Chatbots




  • Panel: Without Sin: Taboo and Freedom within Digital Media

    “The prob­lem of lan­guage is at the heart of all the strug­gles be­tween the forces striv­ing to abol­ish the pre­sent alien­ation and those striv­ing to main­tain it… Under the con­trol of power, lan­guage al­ways des­ig­nates some­thing other than au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.” _All the King’s Men, Sit­u­a­tion­ist In­ter­na­tional, 1963

    This paper takes the po­si­tion that the lan­guage[s] of tech­nol­ogy, and the ap­pli­ca­tion of lan­guage within dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ments, con­tinue to be in­ti­mately en­twined with the on­go­ing strug­gle against “the pre­sent alien­ation”, as well being im­pli­cated in the un­der­min­ing of au­then­tic­ity (the lack of a true iden­tity). Sup­ported by Adorno’s ob­ser­va­tion that “[O]bjects do not go into their con­cepts, with­out leav­ing a re­main­der…”, (Neg­a­tive Di­alec­tics), the ways in which lan­guage frames ex­pe­ri­ence, iden­tity, and po­lit­i­cal and so­cial re­al­i­ties, in on­line con­texts will be thought through. If, as Adorno sug­gests, lan­guage is a total sys­tem which re­sults in con­cep­tual clo­sure, and mis-di­rects ex­pe­ri­ence, where might we glimpse the lin­guis­tic ‘re­main­ders’, with their po­ten­tial for rev­o­lu­tion/re­de­f­i­n­i­tion, within the dig­i­tal con­text? A close read­ing of All The King’s Men, and other texts on lan­guage and power, will be pre­sented along­side a se­ries of ex­am­ples which high­light the prob­lem of lan­guage. If we are col­lat­eral dam­age to the con­tin­ual tyrrany of lan­guage, how do we re­sist this, in the new in­for­ma­tion en­vi­ron­ments and play­grounds we in­habit?  If the per­sis­tent  taboo which haunts lan­guage is mak­ing any at­tempt to stand out­side it, in order to as­sess its in­flu­ence, how do we break out of this dou­ble-bind?

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