VIRTUAL FIREFLIES

Behave expectedly. Do not raise suspicion. Stick to the rules and scatter your body in endless databases. That is the only way to get access to the system. If you insist in staying out of the system, you won’t be able to move. If you are in the system, you’ll gain access, but your movements will be tracked. Welcome to the City of Fear!

(This is the script I wrote for a piece broadcast on Resonance Fm on 12 December 2008. You can listen to it here. The script continues below.)

While you wander around the streets of the City of Fear you’ll be constantly reminded of the dangers you are exposed to. You will incessantly face the limitations of so-called security systems or measures of control. In the ecosystem of fear, control systems are a corner stone. Rather than actually securing anything, they exist to promote the feeling of security. And yet, they feed the vicious cycle of terror. Control systems become infectious, saturating the atmosphere with a gaseous threat: An insidious technology for mood modulation. Subtle yet pervasive.

The surveillance epidemic has escaped human will. Agglomerates and colonies of tracking devices spread via crosspollination and thrive in every corner of the city. An infectious plague covering the urban landscape at high speed and announcing the age of omnipresent control.

Within 3 seconds someone’s put a security camera there. 24 hours later he begins to wonder why. There is no time to think. Actions are dictated by the guest. Decisions are taken due to an infection. And in the promiscuity of the City of Fear we are all hosting. The process is highly virulent. The route of transmission is epidermal: control systems suppurate threat into the atmosphere, they feed the paranoia of risk, and the substance they suppurate infiltrates our body. And it is never about avoiding contamination; it is about juggling with channels that are open for intoxication. I am the host of multiple agents and my aim is to establish a sensual relationship with them, open myself to a symbiotic existence.

A threat is always a fiction. It is a virtual entity arriving from the future, making an announcement of something yet to come. I am pointing you with this gun. The bullet is still here but something has travelled towards you. A possibility. A dark potential. A threat. A threat is a fiction in the sense that is has not been actualised yet. But future is polluting the present. A virtual entity penetrates your body, the virtual double of the bullet, and fear is the immune response to this invasion. Fear is the result of an encounter between an actual body and a virtual threat, a residue in the present of a future entity.

Surveillance cameras, swipe-card technology, devices of data collection and unscrupulous database convergence. Data is the price you pay for any service. Services are offered always in exchange for traceability. The capacity to make a phone call, in exchange for your acceptance to carry a GPS whispering about your location; the possibility to talk remotely, for a contact mic in your pocket in case you are under suspicion. Oyster card and we’ll draw your moves, credit card and we’ll study your consumption, e-mail account and all your intimate matters, Facebook and the dream of Control 2.0.

Tracking technologies, technologies of suppuration, mass modulation of fear, infection via fiction. And if you are still reluctant with regards to what a fiction can achieve maybe is time to stop and look around. Castles in the air! The age of the virtual. It is not that we are incapable of distinguishing between fiction and reality. Trash that post-modern rhetoric! Fiction is responsible for the production of reality.

Want an example? Take the fiction of the threat of terrorism. A paradigmatic example of the use of a fiction as a means of producing a controlled reality, to justify further and more intrusive measures of control. The fiction of threat is a noxious cloud polluting the atmosphere. Whether we believe it or not is irrelevant, we cannot avoid its toxicity. We are constantly reminded of The Threat and we suffer the consequences at every step. No matter how much we agree with the likelihood of the risk, the virtual presence of the catastrophe is already polluting our body. The massive governmental campaign allows no space for reflection. The fiction does not address our rationality, there is no point in trying to argue; it addresses our guts and operates from within. The reminder that you are being watched at all times, the constant announcements promoting the collaboration in reporting any suspicious behaviour, the proliferation of sirens and uniforms, become an infectious epidemic, absolutely real.

In an era of feverish communication, where staying in touch means to be traceable, where the device of communication itself is a tracking device and the networks over which the signal travels are under corporate surveillance, I find merely oppositional resistance an inefficient solution. To not be tracked I shall not give signal.

I am for resistance but I am not against this jungle. I am for discovering its layers and the possibilities for recombination. I am not an external. You might find that an integrated position. I will give signal, and work under surveillance; but always in search for back alleys, and grey zones, for failures in the system. Are possibilities shrinking irreversibly or as they close up other dimensions open elsewhere?

While listening to this, wherever you are, toxic fiction is polluting your body. Fictional capsules travelling via electromagnetic waves; trafficking between the plane of the virtual and the actual, working as a carrier of deviant affects, forcing reality to mutate, actively interfering in its emergence.

Intense fear awakes your body and your courage, gets you ready to fight. But here, in the city, fear is atmospheric, it’s faint. It is an engine producing homogenised movements, never rising enough to provoke response, operating on a parasitical level. This is the jungle, the ecology of fear, a complex system working to keep its consistency.

But there is no consistency, there is only complexity. Multiple force-fields ready to fall apart. In this complexity of force fields swarms of fireflies stalk the peripheries. Acentred peripheries, worlds on the surroundings of worlds, coexisting and making contact at some point, making contact and igniting a hundred fireflies, peripheral bugs transmuting fear into a luminous caravan. Hundreds of fireflies igniting desire, and your body is caught in this rush, suddenly this ephemeral instant of hope and magic. You established communication with a peripheral world.

I discover this mesh of peripheries, this multiple universes overlapping on different levels, on different phases, and suddenly a strong desire to establish communication, allow a signal to go through, this time unnoticed, this time over an unprotocolled network, this time using more esoteric paths, using the paths of intuitive and fictional intervention. Allowing those worlds to pour inside my reality, in front of my consciousness. While I know that far from it, far from my consciousness, thousand of events are taking place, here, in a periphery of scale, on a microscopical level, there on a periphery of phase, on a virtual level. Here and there, no spatial sense anymore.

Swarms of fireflies, you are already feeling their effect now, hedonist bugs of the peripheries, entering your body via fictional infection, awakening desire, daughters of the ecology of fear, nocturnal swarms of mini-warriors, transmuting gaseous threat into sparks that unleash geysers of intensity.

Fireflies. In an era of virtual control, virtual subversions. To the hyperstition of today’s recombination of infinite paranoias, the hyperstition of sonic warmachines. Little bugs swarming the air, coming from the future, hijacking the same energies produced by societies of control, forcing their deviation, capsules of fiction working as catalysts for intensity, exorcising fear and triggering desire.

Postscript

-Unleash desire is one of the strengths of fictional tactics. Is it enough? Does it actually change anything?
-Is it really a mode of deviation or I am walking along a pre-existent furrow, that of expected deviation, of a STABLISHED alternative course?
-Isn’t deviation another fiction that’s been sold to me to make me feel active, while I’m passively executing what’s been written? No! I hate this discourse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Contact Me

    olga [AT] ungravitational.net
  • Bio

    Olga carries practical and theoretical research in the field of media arts. She works as a co-editor with Furtherfield.org while she pursues a practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths. Her research project looks into assemblages of sunlight, human bodies and machines. She is particularly interested on subtle modes of communication across bodies of radically different nature. She looks at the ways in which electronic circuits, computational systems, endocrine processes and neurological happenings intermingle. The tools she develops are speculations about the undercurrents of body communication.
%d bloggers like this: