7 November 2013

Article: Maria-Daniella Dick and Robbie McLaughlan, "The Desire Network"

With Twitter hitting Wall Street hard yesterday and bouncing twice as high as any rubber ball stuffed with money, it seems appropriate to showcase one of the newer contributions to CTheory's Theory Beyond the Codes: Maria-Daniella Dick and Robbie McLaughlan's "The Desire Network". Casting their eye on Facebook, the authors conduct an intelligent theoretical and political examination of the Zuckerberg effect, which has "largely passed without any thorough critical analysis" through the same academy that saw its inception and disseminated it.
While perhaps touting the flag of rhizomatic relations, Dick and McLaughlan argue that in fact this angel of social networking phenomena not only represents but constitutes the ideology of a kind of liberal democracy predicated on the reshaping of desire as a process of perpetual production and, consequently, on a mutated capitalistic machine.
"...the truly revolutionary aspect of social networking is not how knowledge has become privatised, but the revolution that it has instigated in the way in which being now functions within this era of cyber-entrepreneurialism; this ontological shift effects, we argue, a correlative mutation in the function of desire which, in turn, effects a mutation in capitalism."
A "neurotic" portrait of Facebook's workings includes an analysis of David Fincher's 2010 film The Social Network, a quick cameo of Sean Duffy, and (more substantially) a compelling description of Facebook's enactment of the endless deferral of the real. What the authors somewhat chillingly conclude in their psychoanalytic sketch is a model in which "desire becomes its own network", endlessly producing without object or exit.
"The Desire Network" is available online at ctheory.net. While there, take some time to check out their new offerings, including Jussi Parikka's interesting "Dust and Exhaustion: The Labor of Media Materialism".

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