[Reader-list] data body::::::the problem:::::the solution

:bea:: bea at nungu.com
Fri Jun 28 22:15:09 IST 2002

> To get on to the subject of surveillance: why is it that the state has the
> power to "look over"?
> WE look over our neighbours. We gather info on them. But that's just for
> evening chat.
> Now this fascist State (which we are unable to contest) has asked for
> "military grade" equipment to watch over what I say to anybody on the Net.
> Forget identity cards. We are into something more serious. We are into the
> words we use. 
> Every word I send to the List is going to be watched.
> Gimme a break!
> How do I fuck these watchers? How do I fuck this technology that promises to
> constantly read me, interpret me as either a patriot or a terrorist?
> Tell me, Shuddha, how do write into the List and at the same time send these
> invisible people love-messages? I want to send to these people (this
> operative, not at Data Access, but somewhere else) messages that is going to
> make then squirm. How do I do it? Tell me.
> yours'
> pp

nungu recommends some tactics

surf and send mail anonymously

tracenoizer / www.netartcommons.com
produce clones of your databody that trick search engines and databases

fake identity, the mutiple name - a fantastic article by brians holmes in
mute magazine on this phenomena, see www.metamute.com [co.uk?]

finally .. i recommend a search on  the critical art ensemble and their
theories of eletronic disturbance

nungu's auntie project tried and maybe failed to suggest  this.
reappropriate your data body.  posted again just for those who missed it.

Text ­ Surveilled // sampled by nungu.com

Today algorithms and processes are as essential to control and surveillance
as barbed wire and cameras, perhaps even more so. The Internet was born from
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the central research and
development arm of the US Department of Defense. DARPA is perhaps the very
core of world military industrial domination. The very nature of the
Internet is thus rooted in wide-area distribution effective for constant
surveillance and rapid deployment of divide-and conquer strategies through
distributed communications.

So despite or perhaps inspite of, early utopian promise, a substantial facet
of the internet, and indeed one deeply entrenched in its makeup, is its
function as a medium for the distribution of text and its surveillance.
Consequently what becomes clear is that computers and telecommunications,
much like their historical counterparts, not only play a central role in the
emergence of the current Œinformational economy¹ but also in the
construction of social form.

Computers and telecommunications are thus viewable as specific, pliable
configurations within the larger context of what Michel Foucault calls
"governmental technologies." Foucault defines the governmental technologies
as "the entire set of practices used to constitute, define, organize and
instrumentalize the strategies that individuals, in their freedom, can have
towards each other." Governmental technologies are subtle forms of
collective channelling, highly appropriate for the government of Œdemocratic
societies¹ where individuals tend to reject any obvious imposition of
authority. As David Lyon observes, "each expansion of surveillance occurs
with a rational that, like as not, will be accepted by those whose data or
personal information is handled by the system." Persuasive rationales lead
to the internalization of surveillance imperatives, whereby people actively
supply their data to distant watchers.

One highly persuasive rationale alongside, say, the more obvious types, such
as the gathering of insurance data in case of theft, is the deeply embedded
notion of transparency propagated by state/capitalist spectacle.

The Surveillance camera players define "transparency" as not only a physical
property of certain objects, but a metaphor for a jumble of conflicting
human qualities or behaviors, (honesty, bad lying, and clarity or
inherent in it the underlying assumption that neither obscurity nor opacity
is to be trusted,; "hiding" is "bad" in and of itself. In other words,
directly transmitted light (or meaning) is bright, clear and "truthful," and
"darkness" (obscurity or opacity) is dull, stupid and "false."

Phenomenon like "reality-based" television, as Baudrillard points out, are
highly indicative of the proliferation of this kind of transparent ideology.
Baudrillard insisted that the masses, unlike Orwell¹s predicition of
coercion, violence and death, are in fact quite willing to be surveilled
round-the-clock and have their private lives made transparent to the
voyeuristic eyes of the entire TV-watching world. The masses internalise the
functions of both surveillance spectacule: the two merging into a single
simulacrum of reality, "hyper-reality."

Subjected to the all consuming spectacle, the vision machine and their
correspondent governmental technologies, i.e to methods inplicit in
societies of control, to, in short, the home pc and telecommunications,
people are conditioned by the spectacle, and thus accept the imposition of
transparency, gaining Œsatisfaction from spectacle¹

So there exists an inherent and culturally programmed desire to
"participate" in the spectacle of "reality" ­ as the SCP put it Œan
irrational desire born of a society that is based upon passivity,
spectatorship and non-intervention -- is so strong that people are willing
to destroy whatever human reality their lives had in order to become

Subjectivity as it is modeled and channeled by contemporary capitalism, aka
the [transparent] indentity state, is thus a deeply intricate affair,
consumed constructed and consumed again. A significant part of this
consumption is the fact that the individual has been conditioned to
"voluntarily" make him/herself transparent to the gaze of all.

With this desire for transparency the individual has no qualms about the
boundless information sh/e makes available and the economy of the
information state works precisely on this idea of visible identity.  The
individual is seduced to construct a body in order to see his own body.
Identity is always the consumer identity, constructed within the consumer
environment. All choices of the identity involve commodification.

Consequently, as Delueze points out in societies of control, what becomes
important is code: the code is a password. Individuals become "dividuals,"
and masses, samples, data, markets, or "banks." Access to and interaction
with the information economy consructs the consummer self, which is itself
then recorded, surveilled and mapped and repackaged for sale.
Representation not reality becomes the referent.

"I am not real. I am redundant. I am simulation living in physical space. My
function is to mediate the intersection between information and production.
What is real? Real is the information that validates my existence as cyborg.
Real is my data body--the flow of files which represent me. Correction. I
represent them. The data is the original; I am the counterfeit. Look at all
files that intersect my organic subjectivity: Credit files, travel files,
education files, medical files, employment files, communication files,
political files, tax files, investment files, consumption files, files onto
infinity. Were it not for these digital abstractions, I would have no
existence in the realm of the social. These files explain to others the
nature of my social role and cultural identity. As an individual my input is
considered contaminated. Desire is to be programed into my life by those who
control my data body. My being-in-the-world is reduced to the political and
economic result of my daily activities. All my actions are carefully
surveilled and statistically scrutinized to make certain that I follow the
commands of my program, and that I do not exceed the program's parameters."

So the data body is appropriated by capital and comes to defines one's
social being in the world.  Governmental technologies strengthen this
identity by offering to the individual unlimimted access/ instruments that
further trap the body in the cycle of informatic global flows.  From state
surveillance, to corporate surveillance to self surveillance, we become our
own watchers. The Security sate is the identity state.

The Critical art ensemble thus correctly point out that the important
question becomes how can control of this virtual twin be returned to the
individual so he or she can again have the sovereignty to construct and
control personal representation in the realm of the social? Furthermore if
the data body is indicative of an absent virtual power which controls
information and constructs social policy for purposes of domination, how can
this virtual power be confronted (made present) and challenged by resistant

"Individualized attacks should focus on reappropriating one's own data body
using the tactic of data corruption or deletion."

The notion of the transparent identity must be publicly ridiculed,
satirized, its supporting institutions attacked on political grounds, its
traits exposed in cultural and artistic productions.

To be effective, a cultural critique must show the links between the major
articulations of power and the more-or-less trivial aesthetics of everyday
life. The aesthetic dimension must appear as a contested bridge between the
psyche and the objective structures of society.  And so a critique of
societies of control, of transparency and spectacular capitalism must happen
at a personal level, at the level of identity.

At the same time critique must be public practice, engaged in communicative
action and indeed, communicative activism: the recreation of an oppositional
culture, in forms specifically conceived to resist the inevitable attempts
at co-optation. The communicational infrastructure, although that which is
watching us can be turned back on itself and appropriated.  Precisely the
features that threaten us can be co-opted to construct and articulate
communal alternative.

"Increasing attempts to police the net, to
establish state and corporate control will, paradoxically, increase its
attractivity as a field of operation of communication guerrillas: Possibly,
even those of us who until now not even own a PC will get Wired then. Fakes
and false rumours inside and outside the Net may help to counteract
commodification and state control - after all, the internet is an ideal area
for producing rumours and fakes."

Fakes//frauds//pranks//anonymous works// >>>>>> refuse participation in the
economy of works by negating the basis of economy: the linkage to the
singular identity. Anonymous action does not (directly, at least) translate
into any economical gain, and worse, cannot be translated into an
equivalence to base an economy, as the definition of the singular is lost.
Is it one or many? Is there an original? How can one quantify and build
equivalence without the basic unit of identity? Is economy and distribution
possible without identity? How can one assure quality, make a particular
pre-judgment, without the authors name / brand name? Is hierarchy and
division possible without identity?  Anonymous action and/or group action
threaten the identity economy and the security state.¹

Enter Mrs Jeevam Jham>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Mrs Jham is an middle-aged lady [- an auntie] living in Delhi, a city
subjected to rigorous surveillance, routine security checks and a heavy
police presence.  Home to india¹s government and subsequently terroist
hotspot, the city is crammed with camera¹s, security guards, and policemen.
So Jham goes about her day to day activities in a tightly controlled ,
security heavy environment.  She is used to being watched and perhaps finds
watching strangely erotic.  The proliferation of CCTV¹s has infiltrated the
colony in which she lives and as part of the neighbourhood watch scheme she
is closely involved in the setting up and maintenance of these spanking new
security systems

Being that great thing called middle class, she is also a consumer,
entrenched in the spectacular and cyclical consumption of goods images and
ideas. Her house has all the latest and most prestigious amenities and she
defines herself in relation to the average auntie: wheatish complexion,
decent moral values and good education [english medium school]. Her
favourite TV show at the moment is POP STARS. She loves to watch those
teenage girls in their quest for fame.  Perhaps she too at one point dreamt
of celebrity-hood. 

Being that great thing called middle class, Mrs jham owns a computer and
thus has personally extended her data body into the realm of cyberspace, has
created her own homepage and frequently offers up her data for mapping while
surfing or shopping online. Mrs Jham¹s homepage is filled with personal
information.  She is quite adept at computers as her son is a computer
engineer and so she has spent longs hours and nights constructing the
perfect cyber residence.

Being a considerate lady, like most aunties her age, Mrs Jham has started to
visit other people¹s home pages with suggestions for Œhome improvement.¹  A
perfectionist in nature she feels the need on these cyber excursions to tidy
up her fellow cyborgs living rooms: moving links to the left or the right,
changing the wall paper, adding a feature or two.  She mails the owners of
the respective homepages the newly updated version of their residence and
engages in dialogue with them.

How will they respond, will they feel as if their data body has been
invaded, will they feel grateful to auntie for her suggestions, will they be
outraged, intrigued, violated, enchazntedŠŠŠŠŠŠor might they sense that
through the act of tidying up their cyberhomes something like tactic is
being suggested.  Disinformation, reappropriation, fakes and false rumours,
anonymity, .. . . . . . . . probably notŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠbut stay tuned to find
out. Auntie will be popping up here and there, amidst the shadows of
anonymity and transcipts of her conversations with her fellow cyborgs, whose
houses she has so kindly re-arranged, will be posted reguluary on her
homepage presently located at either

www.nungu.com/[mrs. jeevam jham]

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