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Marco Deseriis on the "Politics of Condividuality"


In the latest issue of the journal Transversal, Marco Deseriis explores what he terms the “politics of condividuality”—a politics that he suggests has the potential to “exceed algorithmic control.” While the “individual” is a single person defined by a set of properties or traits, the “condividual,” writes Deseriis, is an entity consisting of properties derived from multiple people and combined via networked communication. Deseriis points to the hacker collective Anonymous as an example of condividuality. Here’s an excerpt from the text:

The fact that digital capitalism mines and correlates our data raises the question of whether there exists a space for a politics that may also begin from the composition of dividuals to go beyond capitalism. In other words, is it possible to imagine a networked politics where the datum is the point of departure of a compositional process that exceeds algorithmic control? What would be the compositional logic of this kind of _con_dividuality?..

It is through this path that we can return to our initial observation that informational capitalism interpellates the subject as a signifying entity (the social media user, the investor, the news reader) to then extract value from the recombination of her dividual transactions in a potentially infinite variety of data sets. These condividual assemblages go beyond the subject and the community in that their production is algorithmically managed, without the active involvement or knowledge of the humans who generate the data. In this sense, the condividuality of metadata and financial derivatives could be seen as going beyond the constituted identities and social roles typical of interindividuality.

Simondon’s notion of the transindividual, however, implies a disindividuating effort on the side of the subject. Such effort “necessarily takes the form of a momentary loosening of the hold of constituted individuality, which is engulfed by the preindividual”—a temporary disindividuation that is “the condition of a new individuation.” To illustrate how this temporary disindividuation that sets in motion a trandusctive process of condividuation may take place I will now turn to the case of the hacktivist network Anonymous.

Image of Anonymous via CNN.