modulation of the biofilmic operating system as opposed to merely local antibiotic and probiotic interventions. Nanoterror thus signals an affective participation in the bio-digital re-programming of biotic life, whose outcomes are just starting to unfold. We have unfolded bioterrorism as threat of bacterial invasion to the human organism onto the flood plane of symbiotic evolution as essentially a war between bacteria and bacteria folded into nucleated cells: microterror. What we call nanoterror unravels this dynamic even further, threatening the very infrastructure of symbiotic war itself, and sending waves of distress backwards in time, and upwards in terms of scale. How does this resonate on the human scale in the early 21st century? As Whitehead points out: 'the human body is to be
conceived as a complex amplifier' (1978 19), which we can understand as intensifying nano and micro vibrations into collectively contagious affects and sensations on a higher scale. The resonance of these emergent folds and pockets in matter plays out at the level of cybernetic control systems operating in the field of bio-security. The simulation of epidemics, for example, lies at the heart of bio-terror management and disease control in social systems. But it is possible to identify three modes of simulation which range from deterrence (avoid a future) to pre-emptive intervention (prepare for a future by running it) to pre-emptive engineering (modulate the future). They constitute a microcosm of the deeper evolutionary processes which we have previously discussed. If simulation in the service of deterrence revolves around the statistical probability of the unfolding of a certain outcome, simulation in the service of pre-emptive intervention engages dress rehearsals, thereby adjusting the likelihood of an event to occur by actually making it happen. We have argued, however, that control has now entered a new mode, dominated by what we called pre-emptive engineering, which instigates disaster, making it happen at every turn (not just in localized controlled conditions), by taking hold of the biotic matrix. Control here no longer merely reduces potential to the possibility of disaster, but acts on the virtual via nano-modulation. In terms of affective drift, the emergence of this mode has been paralleled by the intensification of fear to nanoterroras a weapon of control. While we have traditionally understood the response to fear as one of fight or flight, nanoterror provokes a cultural response suspended in the collective fright of ever tightening security. Poised in an unfolding ambient catastrophe, the collective body is immobilized in the face of the terror of the indeterminate creeping into the microfabric of biotic life. The drift from an explosive atomic age marked by deterrence, to an implosive nanopolitics marked by pre-emption thus points to a new installment of control. The attempt to lock down micro threats opensa new battleground on which even more ontologically profound nano-threats are posed. From sea space to the desert. From airspace
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- Spring '14
- Bacteria, bacterial colonies, bacterial communication