IBM's recent US advertising campaign for its computer hardware systems has focused
on the univocality of technology. In a series of commercials using a kind of heartwarming
humor known very well in advertising strategy, we look in on the use of computer
technology in other countries and other very specific cultural contexts which are intentionally
obscure or clearly removed from the common scenarios of the average individual. Italian
nuns in the cloisters of the convent, a Japanese brain surgeon in the operating room, African children and their elders playing juju music riffs on a laptop,
or a lost safari in what is undoubtedly the South American rain forest are examples
of IBM's rhetoric of the demise of land, the overcoming of technical limitations,
and the projection of the idea that any bit of information is just the click of a mouse
In these attempts to demonstrate that not only is technology accessible, it thoroughly presumes an international code of status as well as giving us the ONLY language we may all know. Despite the seduction of this campaign, it is not difficult to see through the rubric of progress posited by IBM. Though technology is now, especially through the computer and the media, a form of popularized scientific knowledge, it still remains available to those operating fully within commodity based cash flow cultures.
The centers of cultural and economic power are simultaneously volcanoes of images and information and black holes of human and technical resources. But at least since the early 1970's when the horizontally integrated systems of productions were developed vis a vis the explosion of the information economy, distant points of production have been coordinated with amazing results. With Honda's made in Kentucky or a hard drive in Singapore, networks of organized production have distorted the face value of the global surface.
4.3 overcoded maps: SPHERES OF INFLUENCE
Technology coerces a flattening of the world through its attempts to be horizontal and to be in all places at all times. It creates a new form of global projection or a new cartography depicting phenomena surrounding the flowing plasmas of money, knowledge, power and politics. The new map is not a sphere tectonically, but a series of spheres of influence, regions of power which lay out the saturated and overcoded landscapes of desire.