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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Virtual - Page 18

chaotically, the social space of those who use them.10

The Net is a rhizome, the structure of the general text, the disseminative "space" of all information and of those who attach themselves as functions to it, an atopic utopia, a skein of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies; the Net is also a device for catching gullible fish, and profit after overhead in the counter-culture industry. At one and the same time, the Net is cast over us as a liberated zone in which the proper fantasy of virtual existence can be played out as real, and a technology already appropriated by apparatus of control.11 The computer terminal is both an embarkation point for the new human and the end-point (NB: stupid-critical pun) at which we ourselves finally, fully become apparatus, the very medium in which the state pursues its own becoming-rhizome. The Net is a liminality that further inhibits the distinction between individual and society and belies the autonomy of both on the vastest scale; it is the projection of a "new" hybrid of individual and social in a space and mode of existence neither has inhabited before, and yet reproduces all the old relations of dominance and subordination in the very act of superceding them, and yet disrupts them in the very act of preserving them in a disguised form. The exhilaration of these disintegrating boundaries has already been preceded and prepared for by a remapped capital.

Virtual

[15] The invention of VR goggles and gloves lags far behind the vast array of prosthetic subjectivities that already exist, and helps to conceal the insistent possibility that whatever is offered to or claimed by us as reality has never been anything but virtual, a matter of surrogation. As always, the fact that everyone already knows this has not in the least prevented everyone from pretending to forget it. The invention of specific appliances should not blind us to the fact that virtual reality is already epidemic, that it is the bacillus of the real itself. The place for VR was secured in advance by the very medium of culture. What we encounter here is the tendency of everything in culture, every one of its structuring principles, to rise, eventually, to the level of the device, either theoretical or technological, or, in this case, both; and then to be marketed, with great success, as radical, the moment after it

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