The Overcompressed City

Hollywood was the first great project of the industrialization of information compression, folding entire buildings and cities into a few square miles of gated Los Angeles suburb. Notably, its nine massive hillside letters were cleverly positioned just out of reach of the other three great American landmarks destroyed on September 11, 2001. Military, political and economic symbols were all struck that day (in material or discursive form), though it was the entertainment symbol and all it represented at the frontier of westward expansion that gave the semiotic raison d'etre for their destruction in the first place. From expansion to compression — not explosion to implosion — for if there is an information bomb of the nuclear sort it is not only because the vectors of transmission have enveloped the earth in unprecedented fashion, but also because the compressed density of information is such that explosiveness-in-potential trembles deep within.

From the forthcoming essay:
"La Bombe Philosophique: An Archaeology of the Stereoscopic Present (Or, Sorting Through the Shrapnel)"


One response to The Overcompressed City

- rss feed for this comment thread
  1. sportsBabel » Gestures Sacred and Profane says:

    [...] the swine flu virus that has been spreading around the world. The discourse networks that link (and compress) the city are continually relaying locally-relevant information concerning H1N1 contagion, [...]