Intellectual "Property" - McKenzie Wark - System.hack( )

While looking through the System.hack ( ) site, we discovered McKenzie Wark's Richard Stallman - Hacking Property - a succinct introduction to issues surrounding intellectual property and GNU GPL software licensing. This happens to resonate with recent reading in Architectonics of Semiosis by Edwina Taborsky (which is every bit as dense as the title indicates), so we thought we'd make a quick comment.

Taborsky is writing from a biosemiotic/evolutionary perspective, a higher level of abstraction, and although it may not be an entirely "authentic" application of her work to this discussion, we think it is fair enough to do so. She argues that commodification of regimes of knowledge transforms energy from being " abstract potentiality, infinite in its offering of itself to semiosis, to being a mechanical actuality and finite in its reality." This "finite" articulation (what could be called "intellectual property") limits semiotic options/operations or what Taborsky calls "the power of generative adaptation." She notes that this, in the short term, "...provides a first flush of wealth, but the transformation has rendered its semiosic [sic - long explanation] articulations inflexible and authoritarian." This description fits nicely with Wark's notion of intellectual property's maximization of production - " maximizes the production of unfreedom." The long term consequences of such "unfreedom," to move back to an evolutionary/biosemiotic perspective, is to lose adaptive flexibility to drift toward species rigidity and eventual destruction. What we're really trying to do here is move the discussion outside of rights as tied to individuals (corporate or otherwise), and toward the propagation of a flexible and dynamic semiotic lifeworld, or what Wark might call (r)evolutionary hacking...

By the way, the System.hack ( ) exhibition has no "artists" in it. How refreshing!