re: stack platforms aka “earth, cloud, city, address, interface, user”

Platforms offer a kind of generic universality, open to human and non-human users. They generate user identities whether the users want them or not. They link actors, information, events across times and spaces, across scales and temporalities. They also have a distinctive political economy: they exist to the extent that they generate a platform surplus, where the value of the user information for the platform is greater than the cost of providing the platform to those users

Via McKenzie Wark On Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack for Public Seminar


e-flux #64

Great edition. Features essays such as;

Justin Mcguirk on how Airbnb (along with networked culture and IoT) isleading to the wholesale commodification of domestic space“. Also on some of the “ethical implications of the smart home” and Smart Cities.

Keller Easterling laying out a clear argument for why “Space is currently an underexploited medium of invention, governance, and stealthy or undeclared politics“.

Finally, Eyal Weizman examining materiality, violence and “threshold of detectability“. As well as “Glomarization“.

giving high-frequency trading a face aka mapping high-frequency trading infrastructure(s)

Late last year Alexandre Laumonier started publishing a multi-part (I-V) look at high-frequency trading infrastructure(s) in Belgium. The ‘HFT in my backyard‘ series highlights the infrastructural nature(s) of information transmission between financial exchanges and more broadly financial markets. The posts included; Mapping the HFT Microwave Networks (built on the bones of old microwave networks built by the US Army and NATO), A Crazy Visit to the Houtem Tower, a third which outlines the current players in the market and their networks, a fourth about tax havens and The Latent SuperMontage, followed by a response from Latent Networks to his series and then, the finale.

In one interlude to the series, tying together his sleuthing he argues;

“All of this is a little bit confused, but I am pretty sure all the HFT firms who visit this blog know what is going on here. Two of the major (and historical) HFT firms from Chicago are working together to build a super-microwave network in Europe, joining their towers/licences and reselling all the stuff to customers who will always be slower than them.”

For more on HFT, see Donald MacKenzie in London Review of Books (Sept. 2014).

re: an “anthropology of infrastructure”

Cultural Anthropology published Commentary from Nikhil Anand, Johnathan Bach, Julia Elyachar, and Daniel Mains.

There Nikhil Anand related, “I have found it helpful to think about infrastructure as a social-material assemblage; a process of making relations between bodies and things that is always in formation and always coming apart. Thinking about infrastructure as a process enables us to better theorize how our simultaneously social and natural worlds are constantly being made.

Las Indias – a transnational worker cooperative

Neal Gorenflo, from Shareable, Michel Bauwens, from the P2P
Foundation and John Robb, from Global Guerrillas, interview Las Indias’
David de Ugarte.

But we have a vision for us – the phyle – and a wish: to see the birth
of a wider, transnational space of economic democracies. We imagine
networks of phyles generating wealth, social cohesion, and ensuring
liberties for real people rather than the governments’ power and their
borders and passports.

We are not naive nor utopian. Distributed networks gave our generation
the opportunity to build a new world. But this new world, based on the
commons, communities, economic democracy and distributed networks,
isn’t completely born. And the old world, based on the artificial
generation of scarcity, corporations, inequality, and centralized
networks, isn’t dead.

h/t Bruce Sterling