The execution in transmission
I am not too sure how to navigate the wiki page layout... (so im pasting stuff sequentially)
"Write a few lines to define execution means to you at the moment of time (or how you want to approach the notion of execution)"
execution : i am still interested in the etymologie of the term execution, and how this has changed over time. for example, it dates from French used in 'the executor' (who deals with the deceased's estate). how did it initially get appropriated in computer science? and how did that change over the last decades? and how might it reflect societal changes, like how Chun talks about the term program changing from a verb to a noun and how that reflects neoliberal politics.
Audrey Samson, Transmission: site of execution
In computer science, execution is the process by which a set of instructions is carried out, such as the lines of code in a program. Memory is often regarded as something to which data is written, and stored. As Wendy Chun points out, memory and storage have been conflated with the advent of computers. We think of data as being stored in memory, both human and machinic (such as hard drives). Yet recent cognitive neuro-science studies, such as those conducted by Karim Nader, have shown that memory is perhaps not simply an inscribing process (called consolidation). In fact, even the recollection of a memory changes its nature (and therefore its content). Thus recollection is a process of transformation/mutation, rather than storage. Remembering is a process of reactivation that requires protein for its synthesis. As such, information is chemically transmitted through synaptic networks that also alter memory in the process. The execution of memory retrieval is therefore not only the shifting of information (from one place to the other), but simultaneously a transformation process. In other words, the transmission shapes memory. What might be the consequences of this paradigm shift? In '1984', the constant re-writing of history effectively effaces politics, one could say before they even happen. Time is flattened. Contemporaneous examples of this exist in international media, where stories are changed through swift censorship of online publications. Recounts are re-versioned multiple times to reflect the current politburo's ideology. The execution of memory re-writing becomes a political event, outside which politics and time seem to loose their point of reference, the unit of mesure is lost, like in Orwell's dystopia. As Jacques Derrida says: "la mesure de la mesure nous manque". Data is networked around the globe and furiously transmitted at quantum speeds through cables and wireless infrastructure. Our memories are no longer only stored in our brains but also externalised in and through these systems. As such, transmission, both synaptic and through internet protocols, must be reconsidered as an agent. If execution is not only the fulfilling of a set of instructions, but a transformation in itself, how do we begin to think of transmission as a political process, having its own agency?
//Hello!! Audrey to consider the politics of transmission seems really urgent and important! I am really interested to see how you expand on what is transmission, I’m thinking here about Braidotti’s work in which transmission is described as “not linear and not necessarily voluntary and direct, but rather involuntary and indirect”. - Helen
//Hi Audrey. Memory is such rich subject matter. The whole genre of memorials also points to the politics at play in dictating memory. And the recent slew of automatically generated “this is my year” Facebook summaries points to another kind of agent in the memory game. I really appreciate the emphasis on transformation and transmission in the act of execution (in this case of memory) and think it will be a helpful point to explore. >>>> who wrote this?? ^^^^
//Hi both, I’m just wondering if either of you have read Reverse Engineering Social Media: Software, Culture, and Political Economy in New Media Capitalism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014. - I haven’t, but Eric your mention of social media and its relation to memory made me think of this book, and I am wondering if this is something Robert Gehl touches on? There is a review of it in Computational Culture. - Helen //No, have not read this one. -Eric
//Hi Audrey, I really like your approach of relating “the site” of execution to a non-site, a process of transmission. And I of course appreciate the study of the politics of such processes :-) Did you read Derrida's Mal d'Archive? If not, it might be useful, since it is all about the transformation process which you are mentioning: the continuous double movement between (power) structures and content, and how such structures, in your case the transmission process, is rewriting the content. Again it could be good to know more about the examples you will be analysing - will you be looking at transmission protocols, search algorithms or ...? /linda
//Hi audrey, I am thinking the by-products of politics is also a set of instructions that have to be executed. I wonder how you would describe the process of transformation in itself? Is it through computational indeterminacy or thinking through the human agency? or both? I am also interested in the linkage between transformation and transmission. (both are big terms though) Of course, i like how you put forward the thinking of memory with politics :) -Winnie
//hey linda - you know mal d’archives was my bedside reading during half of piet zwart (lol) -- but i do not make the connection with process of transmission. how interesting, i will have to go back to it. as for examples - i think transmission protocols - but i really dont know yet tbh.
//miss winnie - i think computational indeterminacy (parisi style). what do you mean by transformation? you mean like how a memory is ‘modified’ when it is remembered? i am just now thinking - back to linda’s question of what examples i might use and your question about human agency… in the ne.me.quittes.pas project, packets were sent in the post (like internet packets lets say), and one of these enveloppes was lost, and so the msn communication of a certain person (from when he was an adolescent) are sitting somewhere between new-zealand and hong kong, or perhaps have been destroyed. could we make parallels with entropy/incomputability between post and internet?... (through looking at this project)... thinking out loud here (i also have no interest in ‘comparing’ human and non-human so to speak).