On immateriality

Just reading a bit more from this very good collection of interviews, Economie de l’hypertatériel et psychopouvoir, that Stiegler did with Philippe Petit and Vincent Bontems in 2008:

As to the ‘immaterial’, I don’t believe in it: it does not exist. It is an easy word that is used even by people of the highest quality, like André Gorz [L’Immaterial. Connaissance, valeur et capital, 2003], where it names what are in fact evanescent states of matter which remain, nonetheless, states of matter. there is nothing which is not a state of matter. And, to produce these evanescent states, a great deal of matter is required: lots of apparatuses. Thus we live in an economy and epoch rather of ‘hypermatter’ as well a ‘hypermaterial’ one.

I call hypermatter a complex of energy and information where it is no longer possible to distinguish its matter from its form — what first appears with quantum mechanics, necessitating the abandonment of what Simondon called the hylemorphic scheme. This is the manner of thinking according to a pairing of concepts, form (morphè) and matter (hylè), that are thought as opposed to each other. I call hypermaterial a process where information — which is presented as a form — is in reality a sequence of states of matter produced by materials and apparatuses, by techno-logical dispositifs in which the separation of form and matter is also totally devoid of meaning. (p.109-110).

The commentary then characterises the speed race of this conversion of everything into information, of the rush to nano-second and nano-scale informationalisation via the digital dispositifs, how the IP version 6 addressing protocol is able to come up with a separate address coding for more than the individual atoms on earth, etc. A quasi-permanent extension of the accessible states of matter able to be rendered informationally. So the ‘dematerialisation’ of the economy is a hypermaterialisation: the infinitely small and the infinitely short. Matter becomes invisible, not immaterial.


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