Localization in Counterfactual Worlds
Interference, as Turing postulated, is the primary process enabling intelligence, be it human, machinic, or otherwise. Interference is the medium of learning, training an otherwise unorganized substrate (like an infant cortex), into a metastable, organized state called a configuration. These metastable configurations establish the framework for contending with future interferences, developing a particular sensitivity to them. However, what goes by the expression ‘habit of thought,’ reveals the inverse consequence of any given configuration: an insensitivity to interference that may threaten its very organization, at the sacrifice of what could be learned. The process through which a world encodes and trains artifactual and informational encounters with interference, goes by the name ‘localization’, such that worlds can be described as localizing machines: there are no worlds without localization.
In this study session we’ll reflect on the necessity of localization, yet for worlds that do not concretely exist in the here and now, for which we give the descriptor “non-adaptive localization”. Speculating on the possible epistemologies belonging to the domain of art, we’ll examine the production of external ‘stuff’ as abductive mediators against patterns of insensitive cognitive habituation – the ultimate meaning of ‘unlearning’.
Patricia Reed is an artist, writer and designer based in Berlin. Recent writings have been published in Pages Magazine, Glass Bead Journal, The New Normal, Construction Site for Possible Worlds, e-flux Journal, Making & Breaking, Para-Platforms, and e-flux Architecture. She also co-wrote the Xenofeminist Manifesto (2015) as Laboria Cuboniks, which was republished by Verso Books in 2018.