Possible Bodies

Archiving the Data-body: human and nonhuman agency in the documents of Kurenniemi

Item number: 036
Item title: Archiving the Data-body: human and nonhuman agency in the documents of Kurenniemi
Author(s) of the item: Michael Murtaugh, Nicolas Maleve
Year in which the item emerged culturally or was produced industrially: 2016
Entry of the item into the inventory: 06 april 2017
Inventor(s) for this item: Possible Bodies

"To Kurenniemi the body is an obsolete envelope that humanity will leave behind in the necessary course of evolution, but having done so it will fall into eternal boredom. The archive of the body will be the only distraction available and way to hold on to the memory of what it was once like to have a body. However, it is not a question of leaving the body behind at all but understanding its active presence in complex and material assemblages that extend its, and our, understanding of agency - in co-constituted form. Kurenniemi recorded his life intensively and in particular his bodily activity (such as walking, sitting, eating, defecating, urinating, having sex, singing, yelling, sleeping) yet the various recording devices clearly cannot be abstracted away from the material realities they are archiving and being archived simultaneously."

"Historical and biological agents are bound together in new assemblages that allow for new conceptualizations of power-knowledge. But this goes further than the assertion that power largely determines the body through various forces such as the archive, as Foucault suggests. Rather the boundaries of human and nonhuman agency – distributive agency – are challenged by the acceptance of power as demonstrating a broader view of materiality and the dynamic qualities of matter.[22] Material agency includes bodies and social structures but also technologies as in the case of computational nano/bio-technologies presenting new human machine assemblages and hybrid forms. Barad’s claim is that agency is emergent through the ‘inter-action’ of elements and signals different and distinct agencies acting together. In the case of the archive we need to account for social practices and human bodies, but also various nonhuman agents as part of this machinic assemblage. Our example is the way a program can only be understood as part of a distributive agency that includes the programmer, computer, network, factory worker, and wider scientific, military, economic, medical, political system within which data is materialised."

full text by Geoff Cox, Michael Murtaugh and Nicolas Maleve -> http://activearchives.org/wiki/Archiving_the_Data-body:_human_and_nonhuman_agency_in_the_documents_of_Kurenniemi