archive, intelligence, thought

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You: Reflections on Movement, Relation and Memory

(submitted by sean smith to the intersections 2010 conference in communication and culture at york university)

Street Chess in Amsterdam

In 1966 the Fluxus-influenced artist Yoko Ono presented Play It By Trust, a conceptual work featuring a chess board with two sets of all-white pieces facing each other on a grid of all-white squares. The opponents become indistinguishable from one another in the absence of traditional visual signifiers, and as the hypothetical game progresses the entire binary of militarized competition becomes subject to reconsideration. Using Ono's white chess set as a model I will put the game into play, so to speak, as a means of questioning the interrelated concepts of movement, relation and memory within this ludic space. Drawing primarily on the theory of Deleuze and Guattari, Kittler, Massumi, Manning and Agamben, I will contrast the archive as technical apparatus with a more embodied and intermediated form of collective remembering, as well as explore their implications for political sovereignty in the age of Empire.

Street Chess in Amsterdam

Two passages from Jean Baudrillard:

- from "Beyond Artificial Intelligence: Radicality of Thought," in Impossible Exchange, p. 116:

"Kasparov has on his side the human passion of the challenge; he has an other ranged against him, an opponent. Strictly speaking, Deep Blue has no adversary; it moves within the scope of its own programme. This is a decisive advantage for the human, the advantage of otherness, which is the subtle precondition for play, with its possibilities of decoying, of 'overplaying one's hand', of sacrifice and weakness. The computer, by contrast, is condemned to play at the height of its capabilities."

- from "Deep Blue or the Computer's Melancholia," in Screened Out, p. 163:

"When up against the machine they have themselves programmed (let us not forget that it was men like Kasparov who programmed Deep Blue), human beings can only subtly de-programme themselves, become 'technically incorrect' to stay ahead of the game. They may even have to take over the machine's own place. … This is the only possible strategy: if you become technically correct, you are unfailingly beaten by the machine."

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2 responses to archive, intelligence, thought

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  1. Greg J. Smith says:

    Hey, thanks for this. I didn't know about Ono's chess intervention - what a great project. If you haven't seen Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine - you should!

  2. sportsbabel says:

    hey greg, after seeing your other post about chess machines and automatons i thought you might enjoy. if the paper gets accepted to york conference, i'll drop you a shout in case it's of interest.