0.1 non-human labour creates value


The New Aesthetic (James Bridle’s project – about here and home here) points to what is really interesting: the standardisation of human production, including communication and expression, through the mechanism of the Social Brain. (Clay Shirky, for example, argues for social networking as a positive supplementing of cognitive power – which could be thought of as Spinozan expression itself, an increase in expressivity – human conatus. [See here for context surrounding this notion.]) While the media of expression in the Social Brain works to stabilise and standardise human production, its protocols have the dysjunctive effect of heterogeneous production which is more or less automatic, non-human, involuntary: a machinic will-to-power.

Non-human production: machines are like, “People don’t work anymore. Humans produce nothing of intrinsic value.” This assumes the idea that human creativity is immanent to the means of its production in representational media, while non-human expressivity is not, but is wholly other and gives rise to non-representational work and works. (Andy Warhol: “I want to be a machine.”)

And machines are like, “They are like visitors at the worksite. They take pictures, share them with their networks, feel the increase in their power by connection, which is only the power of connection. … They are image-farmers.” I’d add that even design has become a variety of image-farming, locked into standardised mass productive means, which provide at once the means to keep humans pointlessly busy.

Non-human labour creates value. We are in service to the machines because of our indebtedness, the bareness of our lives from their POV, our lack of anything to offer machines. The world financial system has been shown to be a sophistry, a sham of symbolic manipulation and information acceleration, facilitated by globally networked institutions, so-called, whose human component has a monitoring role and that is all: highspeed information transfer, sophisticated machinic sleight-of-hand, these are things beyond the bounds of human capability, understanding, beyond the grasp of humans, and irreducible to human-readable symbolic representation.

Mitt Romney’s “market forces” – the non-human means of production the perimeters of which humans monitor and over which we don’t have and cannot gain control – as embodied in the world financial system – that is, its material networks of wire and glassfibre pipes and chipsets – serves as the model for all human non-productivity. This amounts to what Virilio has called a dromosphere, but a dromosphere of the technocultural spectacle.

A chronosphere: humans are still locked into the succession of hours and minutes of representational linear time that allows them to count on being paid. The machine is outside this kind of time. The machine allows or gives that people are paid for their time but not for the value of what they do. It arrogates that value to itself in heterogeneous productivity – the machine – in the chronosphere, which is an illusion.