While Gastropoetics is a marginal practice, these culinary experiments explore the relational dynamics of cooking, hospitality, and eating as persistent humanistic practices, even as such practices are increasingly mediated by "food selfies" and other emerging, performative taste practices. Key to understanding the appeal of gastropoetics is the ad hoc nature of human production and consumption (see de Certeau's "everyday life") performed under the constraints of the generated menu, of the platform, and of the mnemotechnical system itself.
Intro: This paper will be my least-paper-like presentation to an ELO conference. In the past, I felt the responsibility to treat my conference presentations like papers, packing them with critical references and laboring to establish the illusion of credibility against the reality of my own idiocy (Latin, idiota, “ordinary person”; Greek, idios, “personal, one’s own”). But 2021 finds me totally defeated as a scholar—teaching has become inorganic online and students are fatigued; at home the spiraling personalism of academic labor collides with family obligations (to teach children who are also on “distance-learning” in the home and who have no social opportunities beyond its borders); and colleagues have become irritable and impatient. As everyone is also experiencing a similar malaise, interrelational bonds have collapsed and everything once regarded as duty has become optional, while many new things are mandated. Fear has put an aggressive edge on everything, as insipid altruism devolves into antagonism, and the social spaces that we are corralled into as proxies for the social have, in many cases, only accelerated the feeling of disaffection while propelling us headlong into hollow tribal formations. The world outside has become a flattened wall of emotions shuttered behind masks, small talk has become furtive and risky, and casual affections (a hug, a peck on the cheek, a hand to hold, an arm over the shoulder, the smell of a stranger’s breath) have evaporated. It feels risky, even, to lament the loss of the dirty world that I loved before 2019. Zoom is like being all alone while everyone watches. Instead of thinking I should labor in vain against the hegemony of media industries, social networks, and the inertia of clique-bait (not a typo), I have decided, at least for today, to give up on scholarly writing. Instead, I write a love letter stuffed into a bottle and tossed into the sea.1The socially awkward “incel” is a stereotype of programmer culture. But the idea is of someone (typically a man) who is hyperattuned to rule-based systems and disconnected from social cues yet fixated on the unsatisfied expectation of romantic success. This person, an involuntary celibate, or incel, follows all the “rules” that they can glean from heavily programmed (often screen-based) contexts, yet remains eternally frustrated. This frustration gives way to rage as the social power that supposedly comes with various measures of merit-based “success” never translates into romantic attraction, and thus the incel feels entitled to something that they fail to attain, but rather than looking inward, they place blame on the object of their desire. Granted, this is a stereotype of programmer culture and there are many counterexamples (though some of which [see, for instance: “simp”] seem to be equally obsessive) and I cannot help, in all this, to see that social life framed by platforms as expressions of economically powerful people who excel at creating rule-based systems. Similarly, the notion that Zoom (or the coming Metaverse or loving a robot) will be equivalent to living with others is something that only seems plausible to people who have nothing to lose from a world of sloppy social entanglements.
In an effort to dispense with the formalities that I have grown accustomed to, I will offer some ideas to frame what follows by pulling out key concepts from the abstract that I am obligated to fulfill:
1. Futurist and Dadaist antecedents: F.T. Marinetti’s La Cucina Futurista (1932), Barbara Turner’s Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook (1961) which feature’s Man Ray’s “Menu for a Dadaist Day,” Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala (1973) are notable antecedents that foreground avant-garde recipes (rather than merely recipes by artists). Fluxus artist, Rikrit Tiravanija has developed an entire body of work based around cooking and eating together. Literary references to food are intrinsically weird, in that food itself is a richly affective cultural metaphor. Like music and other sensuous forms, it is non-representational, whereas the Modern literary arts are largely semiotic. Food is corporeal, often “sculptural,” and can be formed into symbolic objects, though the physical form must be destroyed to be consumed and the primary sensual experience is non-figural. On the other hand, foods can remind us of other tastes, smells, and feelings (and their associated contexts). It is the liminality of food—transformed from living matter to a meal, ingested in the passage from plate to body, its symbolic character shifting from form to experience, etc.—that make it an ideal subject for avant-garde consideration (I’d argue that these same qualities make food a rather consistent ritual object in human history, as well). While there is a temptation in scholarly writing to create some lineage of influence, I wish to argue that food has a primal resonance that precedes the pull of culture. Yes, we can cultivate culinary practice and taste, but in the end, what’s good is good, and this goodness is singular, changing from person to person, from year to year, from one moment to the next. What one needs or what one has just tasted can determine what one wants next. On the other hand, food might ask us to consider whether or not conceptual work is avant-garde at all—it could be less about what happens next and more about what is not happening now. At least this is the case with Fluxus, moreso than Futurism and Dada. While Futurism and Dada provide interesting examples that subvert common aesthetics, Fluxus is less conceptual in the sense that its goal is not to transcend tradition (Futurism) or rationality (Dada), but to expand aesthetics by breaking with bourgeois expectations of “art” to allow more of life into the space of our aesthetic consideration.2A reviewer notes, “Also, a great example of such practice of foodstuff seen as a process rather than product within the Fluxus movement (broadly defined) could be self-decomposing food art by Dieter Roth. Feminist art using food to criticize, transgress or subvert the rigidity of dominating gender discourse might also be worth mentioning in the context of art that resorts to food as its medium of expression (Carolee Schneemann's Meat Joy comes to mind).” Eating reminds us (as Latour likes to say) that “we have been modern” (nor have we transcended it).
2. Taylorization of social life: Frederick Winslow Taylor introduces “scientific management” to the process of human labor. Rather than working holistically at craft production, Taylor argues, labor should be streamlined to remove all unnecessary movements. An engineer must examine all aspects of the production process, reducing productivity to a series of iterable processes that can be broken apart, rationalized, and then reorganized to remove all unnecessary motions. This innovation, in addition to transforming the way human bodies labor, makes automation simpler, allowing greater coordination of the machine and human in the industrial assemblage. At first blush, the idea of social life might seem antithetical to such a process, as the social carries connotations of informality and excess. But, as with all things, it is possible to frame the sociopolitical as an assemblage of psychological and biological needs (see: biopolitics), which can be streamlined and optimized through therapeutic interventions. In this way, various sensual experiences are essentialized as entertainment experiences that can be recorded, formalized and transmitted via commercial media products (movies, games, theme parks, meals, etc.). Even fairly singular experiences like grief, love, despair, seduction, joy, relaxation seek to be captured and transformed into various kinds of labor (sex work, emotional labor, counseling, self-care, etc.). Under the microscope of social media, even formerly idiosyncratic events like interpersonal conversation, arguments, condolences, flirtations, illness, triumphs are placed under the panoptic gaze of data-mining industries—our every move analyzed and enhanced through predictive optimization, customized reciprocity, and further analysis. The singular stuff of life that was once sheltered under the umbrella of political power has become the umbrella itself, underneath it, power is protected (see: neoliberalism and governmentality). As a result, nothing escapes the ever-seeing eye of the automatic engineer.
3. The grammar of language and platform: Language, which is a symbolic representation, is subject to grammar. Historically, many types of mimetic representation have escaped from the prescriptive character of grammaticization. While descriptive grammar is considered as a less repressive approach to language than its prescriptive cousin, it is merely a way-station on the road to grammatizing everyday life, which heretofore, had been largely resistant to normalization. While human behavior is loosely organized by norms and expectations, social life tends to reward deviation and surprise in inverse proportion to the degree to which normative expectations dominate. In other words, manners and customs enable tactical play, and these subversions are the spice of life. However, the advent of digital platforms as spaces for everyday life presents a challenge to these kinds of tactical subversions. The common notion that if you can think of it, you can find it on the internet is more of a curse than a blessing. Those who are obsessed with normality have no trouble finding it (even if we don’t want it). Those of us (and we all do so in our own ways) who struggle against conformity must now drive further to find it. For instance, a platform like Reddit has made it relatively easy to find subcultural communities of one’s choosing, but one quickly discovers that each community exists readymade with a set of normalizing discourses and mechanisms for evaluating contributions according to the platform’s metrics. The effect is to establish a common infrastructure of organization at the fringes of culture, in the same way that satellites, drones, and cell phone networks have expanded the social reach of global urbanization without the material investments associated with the construction of a city and the productive power created by intermingled populations. The effect is a kind of ghettoization without place, a biopower strategy that robs the dispossessed of accidental conviviality and occasions for solidarity fostered by proximity. Instead of making peace with one’s neighbor, one remains physically (and psychically) estranged from a proliferating array of “others” that can only be encountered as anthropological subjects of platforms (subjects whose sovereignty extends no further than subscription via “consent” to terms of service). This might create some interesting possibilities for subculture, but it has a way of accelerating anti-social tendencies by requiring more from would-be deviants than they would otherwise require in a metastable locality. The coupling of extreme normativity with ever-radicalizing notions of resistance provides excellent fodder for machine learning while wreaking havoc on livable communities. Platforms have accelerated conflict while strip-mining the pleasure of the everyday.
4. Aestheticizing politics. We often think of “the aestheticization of politics” in relation to the way in which fascist regimes wrap themselves in aesthetic packaging to fabricate a picture of social unity. To this, Benjamin introduces an oppositional tendency, the “politicization of art.” Debord does a better job in the Society of the Spectacle, by pointing to the collective formation itself as that which has been “aestheticized.” In other words, the masses themselves cease to be “political” in the sense that they are a site of conflict in which the actions of the state are produced. Instead, the masses exist as a proxy for the expression of the will of the state, they are a spectacular form used to legitimate the actions of power, rather than the participants in a more Arendtian vision of the public sphere in which the demos negotiates the production of power. This distinction works very well with the contemporary American conception of politics—two parties representing competing styles of governance, with policy produced by leadership, mediated through the elite pluralist model. Here, politics is something we subscribe to, like Netflix streaming into our lives, without access to the means of its production (though we are told that in subscribing and selecting with streams to view, we provide the necessary input for the creation of the content we wish to access). In this respect, our political system is thoroughly aestheticized following the advent of social media, where a tight feedback loop is created between the public sphere as an object of consumption. Thus, when we think of the aestheticization of politics, we might do well to go deeper than the casual understanding of American electoral politics and, even, Benjamin’s prescient discussion in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Stiegler’s notion of “adoption,” which is discussed in Symbolic Misery, performs the necessary reframing of this question in the contemporary moment. It is the public itself that has become aestheticized, and thus politics along with it, a process which may not be possible without the enormous apparatus of social networks, which make the surveillance, organization, and grammaticization of the everyday possible. Downstream from this, we see the pathological performances of symbolic misery itself as the political gesture par excellence of American consciousness—the collapse of community, the thorough commodification of the self, the fungibility of everything, punctuated by desperate attempts to reclaim the singularity—through ever broadening regimes of sousveillance, through hyperbolic performances of affect, through customized modifications of a self that we no longer believe in, through competitive taste cultures, through works of art entangled in absurd cryptographic schemes, etc. In other words, platforms do the ideological work of normalizing social collapse as progress towards the rationalized reorganization of body politic into
taste communities and other post-digital demographies. This is the upheaval phase of what the Davos crowd calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” and the proletarianization process proceeds with culture as its terrain. Your hopes and dreams are tropes and memes.
6. Gastropoetics: In spite of the great wave of rationalism that we are living through, there are plenty of moments and places where people still live human lives. Even in Amazon warehouses and the new plantations of global manufacturing, people continue to live, in spite of the totalizing aspirations of their expert managers (and their machine intelligence). People still break laws, violate norms, and flout received opinions, so the situation is not hopeless. For though there are traitors who are seduced into imitating the logic of surveillance and control (typically, who imagine that they will share in the monitoring and administration of order and that compliance will protect them from their own deficiencies), the nature of such a control society is not to eliminate pirates, rather it is to make pirates of us all. If the panoptic gaze teaches us the virtue of self-regulation at the service of the cop in the tower, then the extrapolation of panopticism towards a universal accountability to the massive digital apparatus also places us all in a universal default. The always-on, eternally-archived, pseudo-omniscience of the network makes us all vulnerable to it (not necessarily for what it knows, but for what it claims to know). And every bit of ourselves we obscure or reserve is a crime against the empire. We are all guilty. We are all fugitives from the law. We are all pirates. The choice we face each day is whether to become privateers or be free. The sooner we accept this is the ethical terrain of the 21st Century, the sooner we reclaim our vita activa from the prescribed, performative pseudopopulism of platform spaces. The aporia in meaning is not an artifact of language belched into existence by grammatical dysfunction. It is not an engineering problem to be solved by a sociopathic wunderkind with a quantum computer. It is your différance which makes a difference. And, so, the emerging control society forces us to take sides—do we anoint ourselves with the authority of illegitimate power and use our vulnerability to negotiate a decoding strategy that papers over its brutal errors? Or do we live lives of lawless imagination, in a constant state of dissemblance against our own aestheticization? The aporia is in your belly.
Eater-Response Theory: Gastropoetics is not the last pirate ship sailing the seas of consciousness. I only wish to hold it up as one practice that does something difficult but necessary, something between a “moveable feast” and a “last meal,” that defers definition and achieves a kind of poetic resistance to the rapacious instrumental drive of platform spaces. While Gastropoetics is a marginal practice, these culinary experiments explore the relational dynamics of cooking, hospitality, and eating as persistent humanistic practices, even as such practices are increasingly mediated by emergent practices like
food selfies and other performative taste practices. Instead, this is a call for a hundred thousand billion such marginal practices, with many more being hatched in the imagination. Such a world is closer than we think, as this practice is already in progress, the only thing it lacks is our will to think it. The possible world is not one we are burdened with bringing into being, the possible world is the unrealized world that we desire.
Key to understanding the appeal of gastropoetics is the ad hoc nature of human production and consumption (see de Certeau's
As is the case for much of electronic literature, the outcome for this project is not a static published text. But further than that, there is no artifact that encapsulates the work, either. In the case of a work like Montfort and Strickland’s Sea and Spar Between (2010), the work contains a staggering array of possible reading experiences, but all exist as a finite (and quite specifically coordinated) range of combinations that are bound within the artifact that is the code base. Similarly, the initial iteration of Montfort’s Taroko Gorge (2009), while it builds stanzas randomly in real time as the work runs in your browser, is also a bounded object whose entirety can be understood by examining its code.
Or can it? A work like Taroko Gorge, as elegant as it is as a standalone work, has achieved widespread attention thanks to the wave of remixes that it has inspired. The ever-growing list includes works of varied quality, some of which could stand alone as unique achievements, but all of which are enriched through the discursive space opened up by the originating work. This highlights an interesting fact of the literary: while professors and their students are often trained to collect works of art as artifacts to be subjected to a hermeneutic process—the pleasure of the literary contains its own gratifications. And while I am not going to provide a complete taxonomy of these gratifications, I will describe a particular kind of gratification that this work illustrates—that of an instigating moment. For many readers, a work like Taroko Gorge initiates a process of decoding, translation, and experimentation. The pleasure such an experience provides can be as simple as a moment of “realization” when one peers at the source code and understands the ingredients to the recipe, when one analyzes competing versions and enjoys the detournements of the text, when one copies the work into a text editor and creates a new page that runs from their desktop, when one creates a semantic system that works with Montfort’s engine, when one creates a compelling text generator of their own, and/or when one enters into a community with other hijackers. José Aburto’s Grita (2005), which requires readers to scream the poem into their browser; Judd Morrissey’s LAMENT (2017), which is a live performance informed by a generated substrate; or ALIS’s Typomatic (2015), which is a platform that creates visual poems using words furnished by guests, are just a few works that are best understood as machines created to initiate processes. Viewed in this context, Memmott and Rettberg’s experiments in gastropoetics represent an extended instance of literature as an instigating process (rather than a bound text that itself is a performance of distinction as erudition, the extreme example being something like Norton Anthology). Instead of adding a dead text to one’s cultural repertoire (as we do when preparing for exams or cultivating a social media profile), a gastropoetic menu is a pinpoint on a long arc of practice, preceded by countless hours of noodling in the kitchen, tasting, sipping, giving, receiving, hacking, and repeating. The menu is succeeded by a meandering evening, beginning with a game by which the guests create and name a cocktail from randomly selected cards, continuing with chefs in the kitchen, guests at the table, beverages and plates passing in and out of spaces, dynamic conversations—the meal itself is the scaffolding for an elaborate and unpredictable social interaction.
While I did not dine at the July 2019 Limerick Diet (I only tuned in and out of the video stream), the March 31, 2019 test kitchen at Memmott’s home offered an opportunity to experience the experience more fully. Joined by Carrie Heckman and Joe Tabbi, Memmott invited us to sit for an evening of machine generated meals. We began the evening with a card game, and though I do not remember all the particulars, I felt fairly lucky to be dealt a hand of cards which I parlayed into something called “Cayley’s Regret,” a kind of modified Mesoamerican Manhattan, made from mezcal, sweet vermouth, a splash of bitters and black pepper, with maraschino cherries. Talan, on the other hand, enjoyed the now infamous “Patchwork Mule”—whiskey and sweet vermouth garnished with black pepper and sardine coated in candy sprinkles. Aided by a bit of alcohol, the evening progressed via the following menu:
The Winona Test Kitchen Menu March 30, 2019
INISHBOFIN COD LIBERTINE
In Inishbofin they serve up some Cod
Made with Courgettes a very fine scrod
Broiled with White Wine and garlic
Sure to get a like click
Oh, that toothsome Inishbofin Cod
TIPPERARY PRAWN OBSCENE
In Tipperary they have the best Prawns
Served with Local Greens to turn diners to swans
Broiled with White Wine, Capers, and garlic
Will not make you sick
You'll die for those Killarney Prawns
KILKENNY PRAWN ANTHROPOCENE
In Kilkenny they serve up some Prawns
Served with Heirloom Tomatoes that soon will be gone
Sauteed with White Wine, Sesame, and thyme
Made for primetime
You'll die for those Kilkenny Prawns
DUNDALK COD SERPENTINE
In Dundalk they serve up some Cod
Made with Heirloom Tomatoes fit for a God
Steamed with Butter, Dill, and thyme
In a brocade of lime
Nothing better than Dundalk Cod
DINGLE FOWL DU MONDE
The Broiled Fowl and Edamame of Dingle
With Garlic-Mustard Sauce makes you tingle
With enough Mushrooms
For sure to crush gloom
Don't miss the Broiled Fowl in Dingle
GALWAY FOWL ZAMBONI
There was a Oulipian from Galway
Whose Cayenne-Red Wine Sauce is made in the French way
Topped with Pop Rocks
Like wearing clown socks
Oh! the Broccoli and Cayenne of Galway
CORK BEEF NAPOLEON
There was a Beef-Monger from Cork
Whose Garlic-Vodka Sauce was historic
Add Some Mushrooms
Whizbang and zoom zoom
Oh! the Beef is fantastic in Cork
DUBLIN BEEF DE RIGEUR
There is a Beef dish known in Dublin
Pan-Roasted with Au Jus is quite humblin'
So many Hot Peppers
Spliced in like striped zebras
Oh! the Onions and Cinnamon of Dublin
I remember my meal (Kilkenny Prawn Anthropocene and the Cork Beef Napoleon), but more importantly I remember the evening. As it pertains to the specifics of the meal, I remember being excited and curious to see how the meal would progress from menu to table. Joe had made a trip from Chicago to Winona to visit in advance of an international move to Bergen, Norway. Talan had offered up the opportunity of an experimental meal, and invited Carrie to join us. But we all knew that we were being treated to the test-run of a project that had been in the works for months. So, we sat down at the table, dealt up the cards with which we played out our cocktails. The winner would select the first machine-generated menu. And so the evening began.
A menu exists as a kind of contractual space, between which a restaurant and a diner agree upon a set of expectations. The kitchen agrees to provide what is described on the menu and the diner agrees to pay for this meal, in between there is the work of preparation and consumption, both of which exist beyond the instrumental contractual obligation between the two parties. Here, the chef has knowledge, skill, and varying degrees of latitude to interpret the meal as it is prepared. The guest has expectations and tastes that ultimately test the activity of the chef. Apart from the “agreement,” the experience is a social interaction mediated by service, ambience, conviviality at table, and the meal itself. In this, the guest and chef play their part, but there are many variables at play. In a perfect world, meals provide the pretext for a kind of radical hospitality and conviviality.
However, we are also accustomed to purely instrumental and industrialized forms of eating. Famine and hunger at one end dictate a purely expedient form of eating, in which getting food into an empty belly takes priority over all other considerations. Similarly, cultures of efficiency provide us with constrained moments of consumption—the grab and go meal, the fastfood kitchen, convenience cooking—all of which provide a kind of relief from stress and mark a kind of material abundance that masks a kind of spiritual poverty at the core of prosperous societies. Finally, there is a kind of pathological eating, which can be excessive or constrained, that provides a kind hypernourishment or hyponourishment, which is characterized by a kind of carelessness. When I say carelessness, I do not mean to say that the act itself is entirely devoid of care, indeed many kinds of careless activities are driven by an excess of a kind of care at the expense of another. For instance, neoliberal rhetorics of self-care co-opt the necessary affirmations of desire that encourage the impoverished or enfeebled to access sustenance that is routinely denied to the underclass by puritanical cultures. Nevertheless, such discourses have been adopted to rationalize a host of indulgences within privileged social segments as a form of moral preening meant to mask basic hedonic drives. There is nothing wrong with pursuing pleasure in many cases, but there is something uniquely perverse to appropriate the suffering of others to legitimate indulgence as it reaffirms the notion that one must enjoy oneself only with permission to do so. And, in neoliberal society, this kind of self-care exists alongside a corresponding discourse about transactionalizing hedonic interactions, which has the ironic effect of further stigmatizing working class pleasure by claiming “self-care” for those who can afford it and marginalizing free and collaborative conviviality as a source of restoration.
Without getting lost in close reading, there are larger observations about the experience of The Limerick Diet. The first is an appreciation for the challenge that exists at the heart of the project—the chefs set out a kind challenge for themselves that they must meet in the context of a live performance for real guests. While the stakes might not be “life or death,” success or failure are real possibilities, as the guests may not enjoy the meal. On the other hand, the guests are caught up in the fun of witnessing the chef’s challenge, making the gastropoetic experience a game about “making do,” about the triumph of skill over uncertainty, and a significant portion of the time of waiting at the table concerned with seeing what will happen. Too often, we tend to eat without thinking, reserving this kind of anticipation for special occasions (and even then, probably spending less time wondering what our meal will be like). The spectacle of human vs. machine is significant here, and the skill of execution rests heavily on the shoulders of the chefs, as the techniques, ingredients, tastes, and skills all present meaningful constraints on execution. (The Quarantine Quatrains, which was based on a remote event in which viewers were invited to participate from home using ingredients on hand, tested this dimension of gastropoetics further.)
Now, it is possible, of course that in the future, machine generated menus will become a commonplace in fastfood kitchens. Similarly, directly machine generated foodstuffs may attempt to obviate chefs altogether. As it is, the Taco Bell menu is a permutational project that creates novel menu items based on a fairly constrained pantry of items and Burger King has already begun exploring the possibility of using AI to generate orders for identifiable customers. As a perennial scholar of digital and mass media, I fully expect that it is inevitable that some will declare the machine generated meal delivered without human contact to be equal to or better than any human culinary accomplishment. We are cursed with a twofold tendency to: 1) embrace a kind of pseudopopulism that declares all mass market commodities to be of superlative aesthetic merit on account of their market share (millions of fans can’t be wrong); and 2) to embrace a posthuman attitude towards intelligence which prefers technological achievement over human handiwork (or reserves the enjoyment of the hand-made as a kind of “artisanal” excess for elite consumers). In the end, who am I to say that AI generated music or art or food is better than what I can make with my own hands? Who do you trust? A capricious idiot using cultural concepts inherited from geriatric nobodies? Or a multibillion dollar corporation with supercomputers, a massive surveillance database, and an army of engineers? We know the answer to that question, because we answer it every day when we privilege platform capitalism over people.
So, these kinds of procedural experiments that employ machine processes to initiate human fecundity are critical to life in the 21st Century. Or, the signatories of Ars Industrialis’ “Manifesto” declare, we must “struggle against carelessness [incurie], against the destruction of attention” (the Latin root, cura, gives us our words care, concern, healing, curing, and curiosity). And where we cease to attend to the value of human consciousness, we resign ourselves to inhuman existence. In thinking of the literary as something akin to eating a meal, something we do with others, that is nourishing and transient, that cannot be easily written down, that negotiates a variety of constraints, abilities, and desires in a moment of conviviality, we reclaim the popular from the mass. We take back this notion of popular as something we participate in (as something that belongs to the common people and to common experience that can be at once commonplace and singular) rather than something we merely consume (a mass commodity or a platform that is packaged in a prescribed affective relation).
I am not confident that we will win (by we, I am not talking about the leadership class, I am talking about everyone else). It is always possible, and increasingly likely, that we will be overtaken by machine intelligence, not because it will serve us perfectly, but because we might decide that such intelligence is adequate for our needs. Nor do I think that a kooky machine generated poetic menu prepared by a friend for the enjoyment of a small group of people will alter the course of human history. Rather, I think billions of such practices must occur (as they surely do), and that we must be here as scholars to receive those paradigital occasions with an emphasis and curiosity about their social dimensions against the relentless prioritization of the machine processes that may or may not provoke them.
Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. University of Chicago Press: 1956.
Ars Industrialis. “Manifesto.” 2010.http://arsindustrialis.org/manifesto-2010
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Trans. Harry Zohn. Marxists.org. 1998 . https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.htm
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Greg Adargo. Marxists.org: 1977 (1967). https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm
de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven Rendall, University of California Press: 1984.
Stiegler, Bernard. Symbolic Misery, vol. 2. Trans. Barnaby Norman. Polity: 2015.