Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers

“The longer the chain of codes, the more radical the transformations that can be effected. Acting as linguistic levers, the coding chains impart astonishing power to even very small changes. Such leverage is possible because the constant reproduced through multiple coding layers is a pattern rather than a presence. Pattern can be recognized through redundancy or repetition of elements. If there is only repetition, however, no new information is imparted; the intermixture of randomness rescues pattern from sterility. If there is only randomness, the result is gibberish rather than communication. Information is produced by a complex dance between predictability and unpredictabililty, repetition and variation. We have seen that the possibilities for mutation are enhanced and heightened by long coding chains. We can now understand mutation in more fundamental terms. Mutation is crucial because it names the bifurcation point at which the interplay between pattern and randomness causes the system to evolve in a new direction. Mutation implies both the replication of pattern–the morphological standard against which it can be measured and understood as a mutation–and the interjection of randomness–the variations that mark it as a deviation so decisive it can no longer be assimilated into the same.” – Katherine Hayles, Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers

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~ by richardphantastica on September 19, 2009.

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