Machines in Flames (Dekeyser & Culp)

L'internationale Destructionniste présente un film de Thomas Dekeyser et Andrew Culp (2022)

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Une enquête sur le CLODO et sa "soudaine disparition". Un de ses thèmes est l'ironie d'utiliser les mêmes outils informatiques que le CLODO voulait combattre.

"O.R.", operatons research, was a new way of thinking that saw the world as something that could be mapped out into a series of decisive steps with mathematical specificity. The most crucial piece of machinery was calculation as embodied in the device of computers. Computers were initially people, like the typewriter before it, in which there was no conceptual or linguistic distinction between the machine and the person who used it (usually a woman). And the rise of O.R. after the war would place computers in decisions-making positions, spreading machines thoughout all society. (...) Time and again, O.R.'s highly-technical decision-modeling approach would break down, as in Robert McNamara's cold, calculating war on Vietnam, through latitudinal numbers and precisely figured body counts broadcast on the nightly news. And in turn, the bloody march of computation came to hide behind a series of numbers, graphs and commands.

This is what distinguishes CLODO's attacks from those of Luddites - unlike the loom-breakers of the 19th century, they neither expressed fear over machinery replacing crafts, nor workerist concerns over the conditions of labour. Nor was their attack a primitivist call for a return to earlier societies. "It is stupid to try and turn back the clock", they wrote in their self-interview. Even still, CLODO denounced the current evolutionary path of computers. "We are essentially attacking what these tools lead to", they write, "files, surveillance by means of badges and cards".

Rather than attacking a particular technology, or even a specific company, what CLODO attacked was a generalized synthesis collapsing the borders between the state, capital and the military. The most dramatic version of this technology would become contemporary surveillance, whose techniques have been embedded so deeply in our everyday lives that we do not see omnipresent information collection for what it is. Whereas in the 1980s it was much more clear how identification technology was being introduced to make tracking, management and differentiated access the primary processes through which society could be made.

In the spirit of anti-imperialism, Sperry Univac had it coming. Destruction was not an unfamiliar sight for the firm - violence was its business model. It knew, very well, that computers were introduced as machines for killing.

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