I agree with Barlow’s initial claim that “Cyberspace consists of transactions.” Following Marx, objects become commodities at the point in which they accrue the ability to be exchanged, valued, and most importantly, participate in the performance of transaction. To Marx, it is the possibility of transaction that allows an object to become a commodity, without its materiality inherently changing. Although Drucker’s article did not overtly mention transaction or the commodity of technology and digital media, I think transaction is an important, if not central, aspect of performative materiality when theorizing “Cyberspace.” While it is easy to see personal computers as commodities in and of themselves, which accrue performative power through branding (as evidenced by corporations like Apple) and exacerbated costs (as evidenced again by Apple), I think it is important to specify, again, that “Cyperspace,” itself, “consists of transactions.” Here Barlow complicates his own myth that Cyberspace can exist outside or beyond the “world” of government totality, “borders,” and is a place where “all may enter.” To say that a performance of digital transaction could exist beyond these codes mentioned by Barlow not only demonstrates the mythological aspects of this sentiment. Drucker demystifies this notion during the careful examination of evidentiary and forensic materialities. Using Drucker, I would contest Barlow’s myth by pointing out his use of “transaction” as denotative of something evidentiary and intrinsic, when a transaction is connotative of a complex set of performative economic practices that are not just culturally specific, but also a means in which objects accrue performative materiality without a change to their evidentiary materiality.

A similar situation is presented in Barlow’s myth that cyberspace could ever be a place that doesn’t have borders. This only relies on a belief that borders are both specifically evidentiary material (and concerned with land) rather than ideological and culturally specific, and further that the architecture of cyberspace is separate from the physical and ideological boundaries of non-Cyberspace. Or more simply, the myth that Cyberspace is separate in some way from non-Cyberspace. Post-structuralism would encourage the notion that these boundaries, or borders, already and always collapse in on each other, and that one cannot invoke theories of “Cyberspace” without invoking non-Cyberspace. Considering the geographic perspective raised by Paglen, the creation of Cyberspace was and is involved in the creation of space, so therefore Cyberspace cannot exist beyond a greater notion of physical space. Contrasting Paglen’s point and returning to Drucker, each time we invoke Cyberspace, we are not creating a new geography but are instead instantiating its material choreographies, which in turn instantiate movements and rhythms that reverberate beyond Cyberspace.

homework week 1
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