In the third seminar of New Centre’s ‘Outer Edges’ course, Nick Land outlines two commonly held models of geopolitical organisation: high integration, high connectivity (globalisation, multiculturalism, unions) and low integration, low connectivity (tribalism, xenophobia, separation); and then suggests “the positive critical diagonal” — linked to Patri Friedman’s Dynamic Geography — a low integration, high connectivity option. This terminology is simple, neutral, and outstandingly vivid, lurching right into core issues of sprawling diversity, complex networks, strategies, etc.
‘Connective distintegration’ immediately makes me think of Cyberspace, with countless amounts of users and programs, delocalised from their immediate geographical standings, and functioning on a vast informational network, interconnected, yet disintegrated, operating in niches with filtered content, but capable of instantaneously moving on a trajectory linking many newer, foreign nodes. The power, productivity, and scale of this monster is unprecedented, and neither will its disintegrating Entfremdung (alienation, estrangement, depersonalisation, reification) of people. High-I./C. and Low. I./C. could both be viewed as attempts of creating and maintaining identities (the latter for obvious reasons, while the former in the fashionably ‘progressive’, cultural-assimilation sense), but Connective disintegration dismantles them, creating potentials of joining and separating from a variety of groups, appealing right down to a philosophy and aesthetics of the nomad, the wanderer, precisely in the Deleuze & Guattari sense, entangled in the rhizome, where “every point is connected to every other”, but immense diversity, local stable substructures, and complexity is maintained.
It is a strange subject, however, with no fixed identity, wandering about over the body without organs, but always remaining peripheral to the desiring-machines, being defined by the share of the product it takes for itself, garnering here, there, and everywhere a reward in the form of a becoming or an avatar, being born of the states that it consumes and being reborn with each new state.
Not only is space conceived as fragmented, but space itself is also dynamic, mobile (imagine moving platforms). Patchwork doesn’t delineate a rigid set of neighbours for each patch, but allows local structures to change internally and with respect to its outside: some patch might want to cluster next to some set of microstates, another time escaping them, or drifting out into the open smooth cosmos, alone, but perhaps connecting via the immense cyberspace, or even stranger vistas, to the others. Just like the individual subject – strange, not-fixed, mobile, “garnering here, there, and everywhere” through connections, but not integrations. Travelling.
A lot of this is science-fiction, but undoubtedly a new age has ushered in, and continues to accelerate. A mechanic continuously innovating and demonstrating the obsolescence of old (even “modern”) ideas is set in motion, and judging by Cyberspace it will involve a lot of Connective disintegration. In any case, the truth is always, that ‘we haven’t seen anything yet.’