[THE SPECTACLE OF THE VOID OR THE VOID OF SPECTACLE?]
Allnut to Sayer:
“Boat’s got to go faster than the water or you can’t steer.”
“If I was to let the engine die going down the rapids, we’d be goners…”
Steering was the projection of influence needed for the African Queen to navigate the Ulanga. The river represented a context of autonomous agency (the rushing water), while the Queen’s onboard engine was an extension of the boat, whose power was itself a cybernetic extension of Allnut.
Projection is essential for movement through any context of independent action. In this sense, the journey of The African Queen symbolized navigation through societal hyperspace — a context where the extent and potency of cybernetic reach defines influence.
Without extension, Allnut could not have navigated the Ulanga. The Ulanga would have navigated him.
Cybernetic influence is built in modules whose reach extends from agents as systems, superimposed on one another — as architectural stacks, or machine instructions accreting in layers, atop palimpsests of operating systems.
Tools of influence evolve in stages, each re-amplifying underlying logic circuits, to an extent limited only by the stress-bearing capacity of its modular array.
Operations manipulating operations which, themselves, are operated upon — in a multidimensional stack which ultimately constitutes its own agency, whether individual or organizational, either private or “public.”
This is how power is projected, always.
The structural design of these stacked, influence-extending forms is their architecture.
Evolutionary architectures emerge as reactions to contextual forces — and function either due to, or in spite of their characteristic complexity. Other, pre-meditated architectures are simplified, if not elegant — though indentured, in the end, to the quality (or lack thereof) of a single design, and possibly of a single designer.
The most effective architectures are configured to synchronize with the process and logic of their agents. Cybernetic structures are constellations — architectural environments whose collective influence delimits the agent body, in the broadest sense of the term.
We each seek influence to navigate through a social context where all agents aspire to navigate. No one wants to be pushed around.
Societal architectures are distinguished by their projection design — imperial, feudal, theological, etc. — although in practice, societies are constrained by multiple modes of projection, operating both simultaneously and in union.
Dominant societal architectures are hegemonies of oligarchic agents who use an assortment of such levers to extend their reach. These levers vary in their approach, but are all confidence games: psychological manipulations made to operate on discrete targets, but which are scalable without limit. The effect of these cons is to produce consensual and cooperative subjects of influence.
Such action requires an insidiously seductive psychology, while social proliferation demands an epidemic psychological pathology…
Spectacle is not merely a form of hypnosis — effected by the acceptance of a superficial likeness of reality, offered in place of actual reality — but a paradigmatic trap within which the “subject” is defenseless against the general epidemiology of power. In its most visible form spectacle appears as entertainment, advertising, information, news, and all types of mass media, aesthetics and “image culture.” Yet it extends beyond the merely visible into the full array of social platforms. Inculcation begins at birth, as the inception of consciousness itself…
Spectacle is the broadcast manipulation of platform-capture: subjection to the autonomous agency of power itself, congealed as a constellation of self-ramifying influence. Within this constellation, the most powerful actors are corporations, who manipulate through “public relations,” and the “mass” media who produce and exploit the attractions of a prescribed audience type, whose seduction is bought and sold to fulfill capitalist desire.
In liberal societies, oligarch corporations are fully integrated with governments who wish what they wish (the Corporate-State Apparatus): the subduction of individuals into obedient identity blocks which, for oligarchs, are malleable, exploitable instruments.
Individuals assert themselves in accordance with their own characteristics, so an effective consciousness harvest requires the normalisation of character types. This is accomplished within paradigms of spectacular commodity-realism, where “individuals” are reconfigured into specific stereotypes, whose parameters are maximalized in advance. Membership within one of these block pseudo-societies requires the abandonment of all curiosity beyond the spectacle. Inter-constituent distinctions evaporate, as these groups meld into massive, homogenous blobs which are easily directed to any type of action — as an audience; or as advocates, consumers, labor… as instruments of propaganda or political action, or for any purpose.
Oligarchic agents amplify and extend influence through the exploitation of these vehicles, which are fundamentally indistinct from colonies.
Identity blocks are the crownlands of new empires.
Oligarchic hegemony is assured by societal architectures designed to emaciate the power of all non-incorporated agents, by alienating them from one another, and from themselves.
These architectures are structured as subordinate machines of highly specific action, built upon successive layers of more generalized machines in a sort of inverse hierarchy.
Such an expansive, integrated, and operationally redundant network is impervious to isolated challenges, and may be subverted only by way of a strategic counter-architecture, whose actions undermine both the availability of resource blocks, and the efficacy of the established confidence game maintaining their pliability.
Elegant design exerts a synergy derived from the animation of congruent structural features, in frictionless modular alignment.
Potency of personal environment as a direct cybernetic extension of the individual is optimized through an idiosyncratic spatial arrangement of customized instruments, aligned with the process and logic of their agent. Spaces which integrate as they extend, enable an epiphanic dexterity …
The same potency extends through integrated home, workshop, and exterior space (be it urban, or wherever). Formal and informal extensions between agents activate further cybernetic projection.
Agents with diversified initiative, derived from unitary motives, are extensible in all psychological directions.
Appliances must be coordinated, and musical — they must be instruments of harmonic environmental dexterity, responsive to neural commands.
Network constellations of mutually extensible agents amplify operational countermeasures able to negate the virulence of identity blocks by quarantine, and subvert the totalisation of spectacle…
Anti-hegemonic architecture occupies margins, beyond block limits. Subversion along block frontiers may impress peripheral constituents, while fulfilling the role of cordon sanitaire.
Counter-architecture must also subvert identity blocks from within, through the infiltration of perspective to extant constituency gaps. Provocations curious enough to inspire interest may expand these intrusions like water freezing within concrete.
Here, voids of spectacle negate constituent valence, producing the possibility of “emancipated” micro-environments.
Free from imposed structural traps, attention funnels, and other instruments of intellectual larceny, a critical anarchitecture overcomes hegemonic pseudo-social blocks — which fold back into debris, depriving oligarchs of the very resource which defines their significance…
“Et sic in infinitum.” (Robert Fludd)
 James Agee, The African Queen. 35mm. Directed by John Huston. Los Angeles: United Artists, 1951.
 Guy Debord, La société du spectacle (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967).