On the powers of the arche-screen and on the ideology of 'transparency 2.0'

Mauro Carbone

Abstract


Our experience as far as the electronic and digital screens are concerned can be considered as the pars pro toto of an “apparatus” (understood in the broad socio-cultural sense Foucault attributes to the French term dispositif, which the English word “apparatus” usually translates) that is literally enveloping us. This is why I believe it is necessary to elaborate what I would call an anthropology of screens. A crucial contribution to this elaboration could come from the heuristic value provided by what I propose to define as the “arche-screen,” i.e. the trans-historical principle of showing and concealing instituted by the power, that is inherent to screens, of making things at once visible and invisible. This principle helps produce various regimes of visibility within various historic and social contexts. In turn, each regime of visibility gets connected with a regime of sayability. Together, they orient the attention and inattention of both our gazes and our speeches. In this sense, the display — whose name today tends to accompany or even substitute the word screen, hence attributing to the surface it designates the mere function of exposing — becomes emblematic of the present regimes of visibility and sayability. Indeed, it helps affirm the ideology of what I ironically call “Transparency 2.0.” This ideology identifies the meaning of transparency with a supposed absence of all mediations, and thus implies consequences whose important drawbacks are particularly significant also from a political standpoint.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3485

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