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In August 2014, Forensic Architecture — a project of Goldsmiths, University of London — deployed an open-source media aggregation tool in their research into the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Called Pattrn, the software is a collaborative tool for users to collate evidence to model and visualise unfolding events. Significant about Pattrn is that it mobilises the full spectrum of digital tools and sources to such critical detail that historical events can be remodelled, calculated and decoded. As the founder of Forensic Architecture, Eyal Weizman, writes:

While the number of images and available information in the public domain has been amplified, bringing new sights, sounds, and issues into the eyes and ears of an extended polity, these images also call for new practices of trawling through, looking at, and looking again, interpreting, verifying, decoding and amplifying messages and broadcasting them further. …


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In Intelligence and Spirit, Reza Negarestani studies the conflict between twofold models of time, that of the “phenomenological” and “cosmological”

See: Ricoeur, Paul. Time and Narrative, Volume 1 (trans. Kathleen McLaughlin & David Pellauer). University of Chicago Press, 1984

— meaning that time is at once an experience of being-in-the-world (in our case, the experience of the broad present) and the objective, universal time that exists exterior to ourselves. The conflict is both a questioning of historical experience and one that attempts to conceptualise self-transformation of humans within an age of increasingly intelligent computation. He writes:

In a world without the flow of time, there is no becoming. Absent becoming, the existential status of the future as the coming-into-being of events in the world is compromised, since, without becoming, there will be no novel event and no indeterminate future. Without the future as the site of indeterminacy and novelty, there will be no human freedom, no prospects for emancipation. For without becoming, we are living in a wholly deterministic world of mere being. …


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To create history is to have an awareness of the capacity for action. Without action, history, which guides us towards the possibilities of the future, becomes obsolete. The equivalence is that without a teleological compass, action becomes meaningless and unpredictable. The horizon of possibilities that once adorned our present historical consciousness has disappeared, but not because there is no exit from this stagnation. It has disappeared because we do not yet understand how to free ourselves from the weight of history in this programmatic age.

In our everyday interactions with the digital milieu, participation is a prerequisite for experience and social exchange. History is the byproduct of these interactions. Today we have reached near synchronicity in the consumption and production of history. Mere connections produce synthetic footprints and registrations of intention. Actions and traces that would garner little significance in the physical world are harvested and commodified. …

About

Australian artist, living in Belgrade and Sydney— https://alexmurray.info

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