Treatise on Jellyfish Memetics

(This post is in English, for my dear internaut friends in #telekompaketet)

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Jellyfish Internetional Stamp. Unlimited visa.

Axiom 1 – The territory precedes netizenship expressions

When the internet becomes something which is really important to people, something which changes their lives and transforms worlds, then what should be done when it is being attacked by states and corporations?

The enlightenment way of doing it would be to claim the universal rights for humans, thus elevating them to the status of becoming citizens. Citizens would then have rights and duties in relations to the law, and crucial to this process would be to fall inside the definitions of being a citizen, only then rights and duties could apply.

However, in practice, such rights were never universal. They were always territorial, granted only by the support of nation states, and usually trespassed and abused by strange regimes.

With net politics there is something else, which is described rather successfully with the jellyfish and the meme – two phenomena common to the force of connected infrastructures – which are neglecting the old and fictive borders that cut up old territories.

If there are such things as a netizen rights, they are derived from being internet, not from a transcendent ideal of rights and duties. They territory makes the internaut, and their passions are made before they can be claimed. Movement in space is therefore essential, and it precedes any legal definition.

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Proposition 1 – Force is derived from affective middle spaces, which are siphonophoric and deterritorializing.

In a sudden burst of joy, the words, ”puissance du internet, joissance du data love <3” happened to spread virally on IRC. This is a common feature of internet memes, and despite their sudden motion, they sometimes contain interesting observations.

In the works of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, the term ”puissance” means more than just power. It rather means ”capacity” or ”potentiality for the existence to affect and to be affected” (following Spinoza). This capacity, for affects in all directions, would be the closest way of describing the intense work that is laid out in various parts of the web.

With affects, as with the Portugese Man O’War ( which is not really a jellyfish, but contains four distinct organisms) capacities are rendered not from the organism, but from the flows in between organs. Affects are siphonophoric, rather than colonial (in the biological sense). Packs, instead of masses.

Thinking of the internet as siphonoporic, instead of as if it were an organism (which in turn would be organised), introduces a whole new aspect, even a new ethic. Organizations, such as companies, states, parties or clubs, are necessarily territorial. A territory can consist of a piece of land, often with fictive borders as in the case of nation states, a stratum of people, as in the case of clubs, or of consumer groups and products, such as with companies and enterprises. Territorial regimes stop flows, in order to re-construct its borders.

Siphonoria on the internet is a result of series of tubes and protocols. Siphonophoria overrides shizophrenia, and constructs a channel-plane, which forms a tiny micro-assemblage of actions and passions.

Axiom 2 – The internet is in Brownian motion.

You will see a multitude of tiny particles mingling in a multitude of ways… their dancing is an actual indication of underlying movements of matter that are hidden from our sight… (Lucretius, 60 BC)

Protocols, clients, users, groups, formats, indexes, archives, visualizations… the means of transferring data are numerous, the modes of connecting and forming larger aggregates are almost infinite. This is attested by the use of social network analysis. Take the piespy robot, which maps the connections made between users of an Internet Relay Chat, and we get this output:

Telecomix Jellyfish Ensemble from Telecomix News Agency. Get full quality version on The Pirate Bay.

This video was captured only a few days ago in #telekompaketet on Each instance i the Piespy bot helps us detect the momentary relations of an internet conversation, were every picture-frame is one collective action. In one respect, it looks like a Shakesperian novel, played out in real time. However, this one is not fictional, but is taking place in millions of places around the world, on more than 1500 IRC servers. It resembles more the unorganized (but still organic) siphonophoria mentioned above.

There is a sudden formation, each with its own capacities, but the formation is only stable as long as it interacts. A conversation, such as the activist chat room of #telekompaketet, could vanish sooner than it appeared. The disorganized chaos is only meaningful, as long as affects are in between users.

Lucretius, who was the first one to write about such seemingly chaotic movements (which resemble the modern notion of Brownian motion), proposed that there were ”underlying movements of matter that are hidden from our sight”, that in turn brought about the visible movements, perceptible to us.

Concerning the energy that drives the internet-Brownian motion, we would fail to describe this as a force related to extensive substances, such as ”matter”, ”god” or ”law”. The energy is only meaningful within concrete assemblages and territories – The eagle’s vision are only useful when flying over a steppe looking for prey, the fur of the racoon dog changes with the temperatures of the forest and the biosonar of dolphins can only become capacities if they bounce on fish or rocks.

Proposition 2 – Legal overcodings are passive.

If Axiom 1 is true, followed by the first Proposition, then internet is primarily an asignifying chaos. With Axiom 2 we discover that the geometry is held together by forces (puissance). Then, we must necessarily add a coding process in order to find what we all seem to talk about in relation to net politics, in the ”common sense” view. We must inquire to the semiotic processes of coding, re-coding and de-coding the ideals of integrity, freedom, net neutrality etc.

Coding processes take many shapes. The most obvious ones are legal overcodings. Lately, regulatory frameworks of global, regional and national authorities have tried to define what the internet is about. Internauts are often defined as ”consumers”, ”markets”, ”audiences”, ”data” or even, in extreme cases, ”terrorist groups”.

These could maybe be resisted by arguing reactively with ”freedom”, ”citizens”, ”integrity” etc. It is worth a try, why not.

These legal codings, however, pale in comparison to jellyfish memetics. Make politics subsonar, submarine, without leaders as an asignifying practice! Leave only traces of water and slime! Fax your biosonar! Ping your way through the oceans, an make sure your harbours are filled with data love!

Conclusion – Jellyfish memetics are fractal.

Updated: Spelling (if you find more errors, please comment).

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