Theory Rising


IMAGE: Ted Hiebert, Excerpts from the Library of Babel (book 28). Kirlian photograph, 2013

We begin our special series, THEORY RISING, with four important expressions of the theoretical imagination: Jean Baudrillard, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Friedrich Kittler and Paul Virilio. Aesthetically, the stubborn and increasingly aggressive inertia of a reality principle that runs on empty is challenged by Baudrillard’s “The Rise of the Void Towards the Periphery.” Politically, against the epistemic violence of imperialism, Spivak’s reflections in “Practical Politics of the Open End” accelerate in their significance for understanding imperialism and the production of the gendered subaltern subject in the 21st century. Technologically, Kittler’s insurgent perspective, “There is No Software,” with its thesis that all software is, in the end, only an entropic tendency in a computer-generated reality dominated at its essence by hardware rises to challenge contemporary fascination with the question of software. Historically, Virilio’s “Speed and Information: Cyberspace Alarm?” with its chilling premonitions concerning the “fundamental disorientation” introduced by absolute speed, immediacy and instantaneity continue to provoke critical reflections on what’s gained and lost in the blast of the “information bomb.”

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, Editors