MachineMachine /stream - tagged with garbage en-us LifePress <![CDATA['Great Pacific garbage patch' far bigger than imagined, aerial survey shows | Environment | The Guardian]]>

Giant collection of fishing nets, plastic containers and other discarded items called a ‘ticking time bomb’ as large items crumble into micro plastics 13.02 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 4 October 2016 13.

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 12:37:38 -0700
<![CDATA[The Dark Web Is Mostly Full of Garbage]]>

The dark web—the portion of the deep web only accessible through specific software—exists to serve the needs of hackers-for-hire, hitmen, internet drug kingpins, child pornographers, and their inevitable customers. That’s the public consensus. Then there’s the counter-narrative.

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:15:13 -0700
<![CDATA[The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the myth we needed to save our oceans.]]>

In early August 1997, Charles Moore found himself floating through the North Pacific in his Tasmanian-built catamaran.

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 01:42:48 -0700
<![CDATA[Crabs With Beach Trash Homes – Okinawa, Japan | Okinawa Nature Photography]]>

It’s important to photograph the hermit crabs in their natural habitat.  I prefer to photograph them using a wide angle lens to achieve a unique perspective. Hermit crab in a glass bottle- Yomitan, Okinawa.

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 11:14:15 -0700
<![CDATA[Compulsive Decluttering: The Opposite of Hoarding - The Atlantic]]>

As long as she can remember, Annabelle Charbit has loathed “stuff.” She hated birthdays because birthdays meant gifts. And gifts meant finding a way to toss them. At 5 years old, Charbit would sneak toys into her younger brother’s room.

Wed, 09 Sep 2015 11:27:54 -0700
<![CDATA[Myth of the Garbage Patch – The New Inquiry]]>

You are probably already aware of the mass of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Trash Vortex or Trash Gyre or some combination thereof.

Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:14 -0700
<![CDATA[Cleaning Up “The World’s Highest Junkyard” | GOOD]]>

A lot has changed since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first scaled the freezing peaks of Mount Everest in 1953. For one thing, attempting to summit Everest, though still perilous, has become a sort of rite of passage for X-treme yuppie adventurer types.

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:46:40 -0700
<![CDATA[Litterplugs |]]>

We all know it’s not cool to litter. If our hands are burdened with the weighty responsibility of an unwanted and snot-spent tissue, or an empty aluminum can that once held some Dr. Skipper, or even a gentle gum wrapper, the worst thing — the worst possible thing — would be to throw it on the ground.

Mon, 11 Feb 2013 09:33:07 -0800
<![CDATA[Kipple and Things II: The Subject of Digital Detritus]]>

This text is a work in progress; a segment ripped from my thesis. To better ingest some of the ideas I throw around here, you might want to read these texts first: - Kipple and Things: How to Hoard and Why Not To Mean - Digital Autonomy

Captured in celluloid under the title Blade Runner, (Scott 1982) Philip K. Dick’s vision of kipple abounds in a world where mankind lives alongside shimmering, partly superior, artificial humans. The limited lifespan built into the Nexus 6 replicants  [i] is echoed in the human character J.F. Sebastian,[ii]whose own degenerative disorder lends his body a kipple-like quality, even if the mind it enables sparkles so finely. This association with replication and its apparent failure chimes for both the commodity fetish and an appeal to digitisation. In Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, mechanisation and mass production begin at the ‘original’, and work to distance the commodity from the form captured by each iteration. Not only does the aura of the original stay intact as copies of it are reproduced on the production line, that aura is actually heightened in the system of commoditisation. As Frederic Jameson has noted, Dick’s work ‘renders our present historical by turning it into the past of a fantasized future’ (Jameson 2005, 345). Kipple piles up at the periphery of our culture, as if Dick is teasing us to look upon our own time from a future anterior in which commodity reification will have been: It hadn’t upset him that much, seeing the half-abandoned gardens and fully abandoned equipment, the great heaps of rotting supplies. He knew from the edu-tapes that the frontier was always like that, even on Earth. (Dick 2011, 143) Kipple figures the era of the commodity as an Empire, its borders slowly expanding away from the subjects yearning for Biltong replicas, seeded with mistakes. Kipple is a death of subjects, haunted by objects, but kipple is also a renewal, a rebirth. The future anterior is a frontier, one from which it might just be possible to look back upon the human without nostalgia. Qualify the human subject with the android built in its image; the object with the entropic degradation that it must endure if its form is to be perpetuated, and you necessarily approach an ontology of garbage, junk and detritus: a glimmer of hope for the remnants of decay to assert their own identity. Commodities operate through the binary logic of fetishisation and obsolescence, in which the subject’s desire to obtain the shiny new object promotes the propagation of its form through an endless cycle of kippleisation. Kipple is an entropy of forms, ideals long since removed from their Platonic realm by the march of mimesis, and kippleisation an endless, unstoppable encounter between subjectness and thingness. Eschewing Martin Heidegger’s definition of a thing, in which objects are brought out of the background of existence through human use, (Bogost 2012, 24) Bill Brown marks the emergence of things through the encounter: As they circulate through our lives… we look through objects because there are codes by which our interpretive attention makes them meaningful, because there is a discourse of objectivity that allows us to use them as facts. A thing, in contrast, can hardly function as a window. We begin to confront the thingness of objects when they stop working for us… (Brown 2001, 4) This confrontation with the ‘being’ of the object occurs by chance when, as Brown describes, a patch of dirt on the surface of the window captures us for a moment, ‘when the drill breaks, when the car stalls… when their flow within the circuits of production and distribution, consumption and exhibition, has been arrested, however momentarily’. (Brown 2001, 4) We no longer see through the window-object (literally or metaphorically), but are brought into conflict with its own particular discrete being by the encounter with its filthy surface. A being previously submersed in the continuous background of world as experience, need not necessarily be untangled by an act of human-centric use. The encounter carries the effect of a mirror, for as experience stutters at the being of a thing, so the entity invested in that experience is made aware of their own quality as a thing – if only for a fleeting moment. Brown’s fascination with ‘how inanimate objects constitute human subjects’ (Brown 2001, 7) appears to instate the subject as the centre of worldly relations. But Bill Brown has spun a realist [iii] web in which to ensnare us. The object is not phenomenal, because its being exists independent of any culpability we may wish to claim. Instead a capture of object and human, of thing qua thing, occurs in mutual encounter, bringing us closer to a flat ontology ‘where humans are no longer monarchs of being but are instead among beings, entangled in beings, and implicated in other beings.’ (Bryant 2011, 40)

Brown’s appraisal of things flirts with the splendour of kipple. Think of the landfill, an engorged river of kipple, or the salvage yard, a veritable shrine to thingness. Tattered edges and featureless forms leak into one another in unsavoury shades of tea-stain brown and cobweb grey splashed from the horizon to your toes. Masses of broken, unremarkable remnants in plastic, glass and cardboard brimming over the edge of every shiny suburban enclave. The most astonishing thing about the turmoil of these places is how any order can be perceived in them at all. But thing aphasia does diminish, and it does so almost immediately. As the essential human instinct for order kicks in, things come to resemble objects. Classes of use, representation and resemblance neatly arising to cut through the pudding; to make the continuous universe discrete once again. You note a tricycle wheel there, underneath what looks like the shattered circumference of an Edwardian lamp. You almost trip over a bin bag full of carrot tops and potato peel before becoming transfixed by a pile of soap-opera magazines. Things, in Brown’s definition, are unreachable by human caprice. Things cannot be grasped, because their thingnessslips back into recognition as soon as it is encountered: When such a being is named, then, it is also changed. It is assimilated into the terms of the human subject at the same time that it is opposed to it as object, an opposition that is indeed necessary for the subject’s separation and definition. (Schwenger 2004, 137) The city of Hull, the phrase ‘I will’, the surface of an ice cube and an image compression algorithm are entities each sustained by the same nominative disclosure: a paradox of things that seem to flow into one another with liquid potential, but things, nonetheless limited by their constant, necessary re-iteration in language. There is no thing more contradictory in this regard than the human subject itself, a figure Roland Barthes’ tried to paradoxically side-step in his playful autobiography. Replenishing each worn-out piece of its glimmering hull, one by one, the day arrives when the entire ship of Argo has been displaced – each of its parts now distinct from those of the ‘original’ vessel. For Barthes, this myth exposes two modest activities: - Substitution (one part replaces another, as in a paradigm) – Nomination (the name is in no way linked to the stability of the parts) (Barthes 1994, 46) Like the ship of Argo, human experience has exchangeable parts, but at its core, such was Barthes’ intention, ‘the subject, unreconciled, demands that language represent the continuity of desire.’ (Eakin 1992, 16) In order that the subject remain continuous, it is the messy world that we must isolate into classes and taxonomies. We collate, aggregate and collect not merely because we desire, but because without these nominative acts the pivot of desire – the illusionary subject – could not be sustained. If the powerful stance produced in Dick’s future anterior is to be sustained, the distinction between subjects aggregating objects, and objects coagulating the subject, needs flattening. [iv] Bill Brown’s appeal to the ‘flow within the circuits of production and distribution, consumption and exhibition’ (Brown 2001, 4) partially echoes Dick’s concern with the purity of the thing. Although Dick’s Biltong were probably more of a comment on the Xerox machine than the computer, the problem of the distribution of form, as it relates to commodity fetishism, enables ‘printing’ as a neat paradigm of the contemporary network-based economy. Digital things, seeming to proliferate independent from the sinuous optical cables and super-cooled server banks that disseminate them, are absolutelyreliant on the process of copying. Copying is a fundamental component of the digital network where, unlike the material commodity, things are not passed along. The digital thing is always a copy, is always copied, and is always copying: Copying the product (mechanical reproduction technologies of modernity) evolves into copying the instructions for manufacturing (computer programs as such recipes of production). In other words, not only copying copies, but more fundamentally copying copying itself. (Parikka 2008, 72) Abstracted from its material context, copying is ‘a universal principle’ (Parikka 2008, 72) of digital things, less flowing ‘within the circuits’ (Brown 2001, 4) as being that circuitry flow in and of itself. The entire network is a ship of Argo, capable, perhaps for the first time, [v]to Substitute and Nominate its own parts, or, as the character J.F. Isidore exclaims upon showing an android around his kippleised apartment: When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. [my emphasis] (Dick 1968, 53) Kipple is not garbage, nor litter, for both these forms are decided upon by humans. In a recent pamphlet distributed to businesses throughout the UK, the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign made a useful distinction: Litter can be as small as a sweet wrapper, as large as a bag of rubbish, or it can mean lots of items scattered about. ENCAMS describes litter as “Waste in the wrong place caused by human agency”. In other words, it is only people that make litter. (Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, 3) Garbage is a decisive, collaborative form, humans choose to destroy or discard. A notion of detritus that enhances the autonomy, the supposed mastery of the subject in its network. Digital networks feature their own litter in the form of copied data packets that have served their purpose, or been deemed erroneous by algorithms designed to seed out errors. These processes, according to W. Daniel Hillis, define, ‘the essence of digital technology, which restores signal to near perfection at every stage’. (Hillis 1999, 18) Maintenance of the network and the routines of error management are of primary economic and ontological concern: control the networks and the immaterial products will manage themselves; control the tendency of errors to reproduce, and we maintain a vision of ourselves as masters over, what Michel Serres has termed, ‘the abundance of the Creation’. (Serres 2007, 47) Seeming to sever their dependency on the physical processes that underlie them, digital technologies, ‘incorporate hyper-redundant error-checking routines that serve to sustain an illusion of immateriality by detecting error and correcting it’. (Kirschenbaum 2008, 12) The alleviation of error and noise, is then, an implicit feature of digital materiality. Expressed at the status of the digital image it is the visual glitch, the coding artifact, [vi]that signifies the potential of the digital object to loosen its shackles; to assert its own being. In a parody of Arthur C. Clarke’s infamous utopian appraisal of technology, another science fiction author, Bruce Sterling, delivers a neat sound bite for the digital civilisation, so that: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (Clarke 1977, 36) …becomes… Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from [its] garbage. (Sterling 2012)  

Footnotes [i] A label appropriated by Ridley Scott for the film Blade Runner, and not by Philip K. Dick in the original novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, who preferred the more archaic, general term, android. Throughout the novel characters refer to the artificial humans as ‘andys,’ portraying a casual ease with which to shrug off these shimmering subjects as mere objects. [ii] A translated version of the character, J.F. Isidore, from the original novel. [iii] Recent attempts to disable appeals to the subject, attempts by writers such as Graham Harman, Levi R. Bryant, Bill Brown and Ian Bogost, have sought to devise, in line with Bruno Latour, an ontology in which ‘Nothing can be reduced to anything else, nothing can be deduced from anything else, everything may be allied to everything else;’ (Latour 1993, 163) one in which a discussion of the being of a chilli pepper or a wrist watch may rank alongside a similar debate about the being of a human or a dolphin. An object-oriented, flat ontology (Bryant 2011) premised on the niggling sentiment that ‘all things equally exist, yet they do not exist equally.’ (Bogost 2012, 19) Unlike Graham Harman, who uses the terms interchangeably, (Bogost 2012, 24) Bill Brown’s Thing Theory approaches the problem by strongly asserting a difference between objects and things. [iv] I have carefully avoided using the term ‘posthuman,’ but I hope its resonance remains. [v] The resonance here with a biological imperative is intentional, although it is perhaps in this work alone that I wish to completely avoid such digital/biological metonyms. Boris Groys’ text From Image to Image File – And Back: Art in the Age of Digitisation, functions neatly to bridge this work with previous ones when he states: The biological metaphor says it all: not only life, which is notorious in this respect, but also technology, which supposedly opposes nature, has become the medium of non-identical reproduction.

[vi] I have very consciously chosen to spell ‘artifact’ with an ‘i’, widely known as the American spelling of the term. This spelling of the word aligns it with computer/programming terminology (i.e.’compression artifact’), leaving the ‘e’ spelling free to echo its archaeological heritage. In any case, multiple meanings for the word can be read in each instance.

Bibliography Barthes, Roland. 1994. Roland Barthes. University of California Press. Bogost, Ian. 2012. Alien Phenomenology, Or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. University of Minnesota Press. Brown, Bill. 2001. “Thing Theory.” Critical Inquiry 28 (1) (October 1): 1–22. Bryant, Levi R. 2011. The Democracy of Objects. Clarke, Arthur C. 1977. “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination.” In Profiles of the future?: an inquiry into the limits of the possible. New York: Popular Library. Dick, Philip K. 1968. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Random House Publishing Group, 2008. ———. 2011. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Eakin, Paul John. 1992. Touching the World: Reference in Autobiography. Princeton University Press. Hillis, W. 1999. The Pattern on the Stone?: the Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work. 1st paperback ed. New York: Basic Books. Jameson, Fredric. 2005. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. Verso. Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS). YOUR RUBBISH AND THE LAW a Guide for Businesses. Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. 2008. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. MIT Press. Latour, Bruno. 1993. The Pasteurization of France. Harvard University Press. Parikka, Jussi. 2008. “Copy.” In Software Studies?: a Lexicon, ed. Matthew Fuller, 70–78. Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press. Schwenger, Peter. 2004. “Words and the Murder of the Thing.” In Things, 135 – 150. University of Chicago Press Journals. Scott, Ridley. 1982. Blade Runner. Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller. Serres, Michel. 2007. The Parasite. 1st University of Minnesota Press ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Sterling, Bruce. 2012. “Design Fiction: Sascha Pohflepp & Daisy Ginsberg, ‘Growth Assembly’.” Wired Magazine: Beyond The Beyond.

Sat, 25 Aug 2012 10:00:00 -0700
<![CDATA[In New York Sanitation Dept. Garage, an Art Gallery -]]>

This two-story brick building is nothing special, even a bit decrepit, but as you walk up its crooked metal staircase toward the second floor, you will find the first hint that something wholly different, even a little dazzling, hides amid all that dingy gray: there it is, on the right, a painting of

Wed, 08 Aug 2012 02:54:00 -0700
<![CDATA[Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization is Indistinguishable from Nature]]>

In Western cultures, nature is a cosmological, primal ordering force and a terrestrial condition that exists in the absence of human beings. Both meanings are freely implied in everyday conversation. We distinguish ourselves from the natural world by manipulating our environment through technology. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly proposes that technology behaves as a form of meta-nature, which has greater potential for cultural change than the evolutionary powers of the organic world alone.

With the advent of ‘living technologies’ [2], which possess some of the properties of living systems but are not ‘truly’ alive, a new understanding of our relationship to the natural and designed world is imminent. This change in perspective is encapsulated in Koert Van Mensvoort’s term ‘next nature’, which implies thinking ‘ecologically’, rather than ‘mechanically’. The implications of next nature are profound, and will shape our appreciation of humanity and influence the world around us.

The Universe of Things, by the British science fiction writer Gwyneth Jones (2010) [3] takes the idea of an ecological existence to its logical extreme. She examines an alien civilization whose technology is intrinsically alive. Tools are extrusions of the alien’s own biology and extend into their surroundings through a wet, chemical network.

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 04:34:52 -0800