Communicative Control

September 29, 2011

Reinhold Martin described the organizational complex as a network of networks which network in this case can mean a civilization, a national structure or within a company. The networks that exist within a bigger network constitutes to the understanding of organizational complex which will lead to the understanding of ‘Control Societies’ by Gilles Deleuze.

Martin draws upon the World War II as the catalyst for a societal shift in many aspects and in this reader, in particular, architecture. War has been a part of human history since the beginning and has always shown a drastic shift in the post-war periods. Looking at this phenomenon, society seems to behave like humans as discussed before, changing sub consciously and involuntary after micro-shocks (war). Particularly WW2 is focused on the notion of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’, perhaps this has been reflected in the military/disciplinary society through the freedom of control and choices, materializing onto the ‘customizable’ architecture module systems and various industrial products.

In this argument, this would be seen as the zeitgeist theme of post-World World II, propelling the fragmentation of networks into finer grains. This increase in ‘surface’ area works parallel to the notion of capitalism which focuses on individualism. Even more so, this organizational complex can be seen in Singapore’s public housing scheme where the superstructure is proposed by government, design by architect but the individual dwellings are on a design or customized by future house owners. The procurement becomes much more dynamic compared to times in a disciplinary society where the projects merely consist of the builder, client and architect while in current times; multiple bodies are brought into the equation.

“if the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are the age of clocks and the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries constitute the age of steam engines, the present time is the age of communications and control” – Weiner

With the advancement of digital communications, each individual is given so much control they are capable of creating their digital halves, a digital avatar that represents an individual that is capable of communicating with little or no reality constraints. This lack of control of communication is capable of another control on social level, the self-organization of similar individuals to control a social problem or trend. A contemporary powerful social network would be Facebook and individuals’ avatars are given the power to subdivide the Facebook universe into groups, creating the organizational complex on a digital level. The control can be manifested into the ‘real’ realm and one such example would be the viral uproar on an animal abuser (, translating communication into action.

This action is then being passed on to legal bodies and this creates a porous network within society where everyone is involved in some extend to the notion of control within society.

– Barry


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