cultural theory

The I assume young but nevertheless venerable Larval Subjects has an excellent post on the destructive nature of what I’ve been calling “Auditland”, in which work practices are subject to the long and failed history of cognitive bureaucracy, that same bureaucracy founded not only by cold war scientists, but by the likes of Hayek, ironically in the supposed service of freedom. I’ve been working on this for a long time, whenever the anger subsides long enough - and I can escape said bureaucracy long enough - to work calmly and sensibly. In any case, here’s a draft of something I’ll probably try to cut back, improve and publish one day. I’ll leave it up for a while at least if anyone’s interested. It’s impossible long and perhaps clunky, but is maybe becoming at least a little timely.

Auditland- Education and Cognitive Labour

I guess I wanted to add something else on reflection. No, this is not the thing we all have to say at this juncture - “of course I’m in favour of quality” (well of course I am but I’m already enveloped in the rhetorical haze of Auditland the moment I say it). The final note is rather that Audit cultures resist even what would seem their own logical outcome, if such cultures were truly serious about the real world working better. They tend to haunt the non-Deleuzean middle ground of the great avoidance - avoidance of either what is going on on the ground, or of the more interestingly abstract, the theoretical, the idea. Occasionally you see glimpses of what might happen if audit culture drifted closer to the ground (I doubt we’ll ever see it head towards theory/ideas). A few years back I saw a news item on root cause analysis. Now I’m no friend of continuous improvement (ok - not that I’m against improvement, it’s just that I’d rather spend my time improving things than improving my improvement of things). However, at least root cause analysis sometimes finds that the problem might be the bureaucracy (in this case in the health system).

And if you see what happens when people really want things to work, it’s pretty amazing. I go to Denmark a lot and I’ve been lucky enough to talk with quite a few designers and academics there about innovation. What can I say - they really do seem to have figured out how to make things work (and they still go home at 4-30).

At the same time, maybe The Big Lebowski got it right. Maybe the question is about “what condition our condition is in”. Now there’s a question.

This was a short (5-minute) presentation I gave last year at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney, for the New Mobilities Symposium. I was of course trying to write a longish article, but instead it’s a short manifesto. At the same time as presenting this, I showed a video of a slow-mo dog pouncing on a mobile phone. How serious was I? I don’t know really …

14 theses and 21 ghosts for locative and mobile media
Andrew Murphie

Mobile and locative media are now at the core of things. This is an unstable core. It’s this instability I’m interested in today. I’m not trying to “pin down” mobile and locative media. Rather I’m interesting in how what I’m calling “loco-motion” propels an ongoing variation in living and technical systems. This has implications for thinking about media, but also for much else. I’m also interested in loco-mobile media as inter-temporal. By this I don’t mean that we have lots of modes of living available to us, that we can switch between. Rather I’m suggesting that the switching itself is becoming our prime mode of living, not only with mobile phones, or locative media, but all media events, for example VJing.


1 - If ‘a body coincides with its own variati0n’ (Massumi) then mobile media coincide with their own variation

2 - Location is Mobile

3 - The Locative Opens a Field of Variation

4 - Loco-motion remakes communication - but not as communication studies style communication. Here “Communication is a mutual adjustment of
” (Sean Watson)

5 - Loco-motive battles are not over content, or communications, or intellectual property, but over affective distribution.

6 - Work with loco-motion is transdisciplinary, beyond even this perhaps. There are no “stable” media to pin down in a discipline. A self-satisfied Media Studies perishes.

7 - Mobility is often immobile, if immobile intensity. However, it’s also true that mobility creates mobility.

8 - It’s the phone that’s mobile, not you.

9 - Loco-motion resists “art”, but is good for chasings

10 - Loco-motion brings the “postcognitive” into fuller operation (Mark Amerika)

11 - New inter-temporalities proliferate.

12 - So do new “pre-accelerations” (Erin Manning). So do new preterritorialisations

13 - loco-motion is about targeting (servomechanisms rule the world in most spheres of life)

14 - loco-motion “fractalises” (Guattari) “the screen” and with it the society of spectacle (there is no attention, no “capture”, no time of the gaze, only inter-times)


1 - Location itself

2 - Mobility - it’s all around us, and yet ..

3 - that which remains hidden .. as Derrida once wrote, “The hidden theme is the hidden theme” (as Nick Mansfield was fond of quoting to me)

4 - Cognitive Capital

5 - Politics, that is, the Polis

6 - the haptic, the proprioceptive (and proprioceptive enslavement)

7 - down time

8 - possessions

9 - Possessions of Possession; Shamanism and Exorcism

10 - Animal Spirits

11 - Ghosts at the Edge of Infinity

12 - Ghosts with No Name (the asemiotic)

13 - Devas (that is, new forces of production that we might have to talk nicely to)

14 - the world (do we still believe in it, see it)

15 - abstraction - misplaced concreteness (Whitehead) and “concrete misplacedness” (Matthew Fuller)

16 - “Standard Objects” (Matthew Fuller)

17 - forgotten networks

18 - Work … as a separate activity from other activities

19 - Love … as assembled from non-standard objects

20 - the synaptic (Guattari)

21 - Escape