Software Release

Virtual Entity Alpha Minus Minus – CODENAME JAILBIRD – August 2009

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Intervention #5 by Sylvère Lotringer

Sylvère Lotringer will be the gues for Intervention #5: Born 1938 in
Paris; editor of Semiotext(e), he is professor of French Philosophy at
Columbia University in New York and Jean Baudrillard Professor at EGS
in Switzerland. He is credited for introducing "French Theory" in
America. He has published catalogue essays for the Guggenheim, the
Moma, the New Museum, the Musee du Jeu de Paume, Modern Kunst in
Vienna, etc. and edited dozens of magazines and books.

Bakhtin’s theory of the utterance

Bakhtin’s theory of enunciation is a ‘carnevalesque’ integration of all
the elements that Hannah Arendt’s theory of action and the word had
emptied out or subordinated to the totalising power of language. The
recognition of the multiplicity of the semiotic, the polyphony of
matters of expression (both verbal and non-verbal), the heterogeneity
of linguistic and non-linguistic elements, becomes on the one hand, the
basis of a ‘strategic’ theory of action between speakers whereby it is
possible to define meaning as an ‘action on possible actions’ (to use
Foucault’s expression) [1], and on the other hand, it is the basis of a
theory of creativity and production of subjectivity.

On Bakhtin: Symposium with Arianna Bove, Maurizio Lazzarato, Angela Melitopoulos

Intervention #3 will be centered around some of the theories of the
Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin. The "imaginary property" research
group invites to a small symposium on May 16th featuring three guests
and a screening: After "Passing Drama" a film by Angela Melitopoulos,
Arianna Bove, Maurizio Lazzarato, and Angela Melitopoulos will give
presentations that are linked up with Bakhtins radical
reconceptualization of the relation between self and other. Bakhtin
suggests an event-like relation between “possible worlds”. The other is
neither an object nor a subject; it is the expression of possible

"Bakhtin’s philosophy can still speak to us because it poses the
problem of the relationship between life and culture, between life and
art, a problem that traversed the entire beginning of the century, and
the 1920ies in particular. The solution given by Bakhtin to this
problem is markedly distinct from the solution of the ‘avant-gardes’.
According to Bakhtin, in order to ‘overcome’ the separation and
opposition between art and life, between art and culture, the
elaboration of a ‘first philosophy’ is required: The philosophy of
event-being. Art and life cannot and must not tend towards
identification, as was the case with the Situationists, for example.
But, in order that the enriching, excessive and productive difference
between art and life be able to express itself, it is necessary to
possess a theory which, whilst maintaining the irreducible differences
between these two dimensions, articulates them in the achievement of
the event." (Maurizio Lazzarato: Dialogism and Polyphony).

The Beauty of Chaos

The festival Liwoli, happening in Linz between April 23rd and 25th, and named ‘Hacklab for art and Open Source‘, was a great gathering of very interesting people. Among other things, including a very crazy performance
that culminated with the total erasure of the system while making real
time video with Pure Data (without back up and in a totally unsafe
fashion), the Virtual Entity ‘research software’ was presented during
the Friday evening session.

Eyal Sivan on “The common archive”

property // Intervention #2 has been delivered by filmmaker Eyal Sivan.
He presents "Towards a common archives: Manipulating the enemies
images". Eyal Sivan is a London based filmmaker, producer, essayist and
professor in media production at the school of social sciences, media
and cultural studies at the University of East London (UEL)
. Sivan
directed more then 10 worldwide awarded feature-length political
documentaries and produced many others. He is the founder and Chief
Editor of ‘Cinema South Notebooks’ in Israel – a journal of cinema and
Political critic, editor at the Paris based publishing house ‘La Fabrique’ and member of the editorial board and columnist at the French social studies journal ‘De l’autre Côté’. Among Sivan’s films: Aqabat-Jaber (1987 & 1994); Izkor, Slaves of Memory (1991); The Specialist (1999); Route 181, fragments of a journey in Palestine-Israel (with Michel Khleifi 2003); Aus Liebe zum Volk / I Love You all (2004 with Audrey Murion). Currently he is finishing his film "Jaffa-story of a brand name".

Time Structures

The first Imaginary Property intervention inspired a new thread of
research. As we decided to implement a non-structured experiment, Ted
Byfield, our guest, was invited to improvise on the topic of Imaginary
Property following a very loose and open structure. His intervention
revealed, by the end of the meeting, a powerful new approach to the
topic. Ted started introducing himself following salient events of his
own biography which could inject a reflection on our research; by the
end of his speech, I could draw an unexpected connection on my note
book: there are similarities between systems to define time, so to say
calendars, and domain name systems.

The noise margin

We all use to be enthusiastic about this possibility of copying and
copying and copying. So we all think the copy is just the same as the
original. Maybe the copy is in fact the ‘original’, but how many
originals are there?

Substances and Metadata

Any copy of a file can be defined as an instance of the file entity.
The main idea of Virtual Entity is that, any time a native file is
created and uploaded to the Net, it is possible to initiate a Soul for
this file. The Soul of a file, according to Ve’s imaginary, is the
combination of a set of Metadata plus editable space for information
interchange, not very dissimilar from a wiki. Digital entities are
subdivided is four main substances, that are Text, Audio, Video and
Image. All entities are either natural born analogue or natural born


Digital artificial world is structured by specific rules that are
somewhat different from those expressed and manifested in the physical
world we normally experience. One relevant difference is the definition
of identity. Since every ‘singularity’ is reproducible in infinite
number of identical copies, and there is no substantial difference
between copy and original, because the copy of a copy is exactly the
same as the copy of the original, the basic distinction between copy
and original is not relevant, and digital identity is not unique.