Conjunctive and Disjunctive Networks

Affects, Technics, and Arts in the Experience of Relation

Authored by: Anna Munster

The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138844308
eBook ISBN: 9781315730479
Adobe ISBN:


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As sociotechnical assemblages, networks are both singular and nonlocalized. They are constituted by standardized communicative protocols that operate across open architectures that make them available to artistic intervention, corporate takeover, and nonpartisan political ends. Yet the ways in which networks experience, as well as human experience in and of networks, must be thought in close proximity to questions of affect. For networks are not simply organizational forms or maps of contemporary life. They involve processes of joining with and disjoining from others, not to mention technical elements and their operations. This chapter takes affect, technics, and their relations as primary in the experience of online networked life and looks to the ways in which early online, artistic cultures experimented with these relations. My engagement with the critical networked culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s was formative in the development of my current approach to thinking through these relations as an “aesthesia” of networks. This concept approaches the experience of networks through technical, affective, human, and nonhuman elements. It sees the transitions and breaks in their relations as critical for an understanding of contemporary media and culture.

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