Organised Autonomous Networks

Short Essay by Carlo Milani

Drawing on the work of Gilbert Simondon, this article explores
the creative, subversive potential of organized autonomous networks through an
examination of the possibilities and pitfalls of a collective, Net-based practice of writing.

KEYWORDS: Internet, organized networks, cooperation, creativity, writing, authorship, Simondon, individuation,
identity, knowledge

The web and us

In the age of profi t and extreme individualism, collaboration and free cooperation between persons
holding each other in mutual esteem may seem an untimely notion. Not to speak of conviviality: who has
the time and inclination to sit and chat, make plans, create or, quite simply, spend time with like-minded people? The “convivial” implies the existence of a stable “we,” or at least
a “we” capable of telling its own story, representing itself,
taking care of itself, building collective spaces and experiencing shared
moments. And yet the pronoun “we” has become almost derogatory: it
is redolent of archaic community and village-pump localism. It is, thus,
the “I,” the ego that holds center stage in the theatre of contemporary
life. The successful ego, as current wisdom has it, has no need of
strong ties to a community: one’s own ambitions, sustained by the
necessary skills or, in other words, the ability to sell oneself well, are
all that are needed. These personal resources have been accumulated
in the traumatic changes one has adapted to in one’s work: industrial
restructurings, periods of overwork alternating with periods of forced
inactivity, and “lifelong learning.” Non-working time is perhaps affected
even more by structural instability: endless relocations based on the
choice of the “right opportunity” and friendships operating by email
(or on Facebook) are the experiences that have forged the fl exible ego.
No wonder, then, that after thirty years of “weak relationships,” life is
a whirligig of anxiety, euphoria, and depression (see the analyses in
Sennett 1988, 2009).

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