Code and Critical Theory
Intervention dans le cadre du colloque international "The digital subject #4 : codes", organisé du 16 au 20 novembre 2015, aux Archives Nationales, à l'Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis et à l'École nationale supérieure des Arts décoratifs.
As Maurizio Lazzarato points out in a recent book, “…machines … can be found everywhere except in contemporary critical theory” (in Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity, 2014). How can we understand our present conditions if we cannot write about the machines with which we are entangled? My message to critical theorists is that we need to invent new, critical, machine languages to challenge the machine languages now in power and, specifically, we need to improve upon the lexicon of “machinic assemblage” still in circulation in science studies, finance studies, and critical studies of capitalism (incorporated into, for example, actor-network theory) now decades after Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari assembled that machine language. In short, critical theorists of today need to become skillful coders because to write about and – especially – to rewrite the machines of today is to write software.
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