Excess non/Knowledge and the Production of Evil in the General Economy of the Organization

Founded in Bataille’s theory of the general economy as descriptive of a general theory of organizations, this paper relates Bataille’s conceptions of knowledge and non-knowledge to his conception of evil in order to reconstruct the importance of excess to the production of subjectivities, both good and evil, in organizations. In reading contemporary organizational thought through the body of Bataille’s works, I find that Bataille provides us with several innovative ways of understanding the organization as an aspect of society. In On Nietzsche, Bataille locates evil as symbolized through the negation of Christ, a component of good, and a necessary component to human life in the forms of egotism and freedom. These constructions of evil compliment the ecological model of production found in the Accursed Share in that evil functions as part of the Western model of subjectivity, and thus is fixed by both the human and non-human elements into its representations of knowledge and non-knowledge. The idea that the production of excess in organizations, not just excess commodity, but also excess subjectivity is the idea that unites the general economy to the production of evil because evil arises both from the overproduction of symbols and the inadequate faculties of interpretation to confront the interpretations. of those symbols. This exasperation of the organization’s capacity to interpret the world in which they exist produces non-knowledge, and opens up the space for the production of evil. Thus the logic of my argument reduces to:

Organizations produce subjectivities, commodities, knowledges, and non-knowledges as parts of symbolic systems.

In a general commodity, production of subjectivities is the production of knowledges and non-knowledges in excess.

The overproduction of symbols in the system combined with a differential production of subjectivities creates a critical space for non-knowledge, or the unknowable to exist.

As parts non-knowledge become othered and alienated they enter the realm of the individual’s ego or freedom.

When individuals act upon those non-knowledges in organizations, they become the outsider, or the evil from within the organization.

Thus the overproduction or excess production of symbolic systems creates evil.

In conclusion, this Bataille-based thesis is comparable to Baudrillard’s argument about the origin of evil in society, as found in the Transparency of Evil. Thus, we can see the need to build more deeply into the realm of semiology in order to understand the functioning of evil in organizations.

Towards Archiving a Generative Culture: the Australian Creative Resources Online project

Towards Archiving a Generative Culture: the Australian Creative Resources Online project. This paper explores the possibilities of moving beyond the archiving of digital objects as fixed and unchanging reference points for culture and demonstrates that we can archive those cultural objects but we must also archive the mutations that cultural objects go through as they become new objects over time. Digitization of cultural objects creates a new source of mutability and a new location to generate cultural meanings through the combination, reinvention and serialized appropriation of cultural objects in their ever changing digital milieu. An object then is really fixed in place when it is archived, but it is a living document both of the digital and cultural world. It is not enough then, to just create the ‘archival copy’ with its manifold copies of the digital object, because people will manipulate it, will inscribe it with new meanings, with those meanings’ new points of negotiation, and new interpretations. These new meanings and the changes that occur to the objects over time need to be traced in order for the original meaning to be preserved in relation to the newer meanings. Without the documentation of change, the objects that we digitally archive lose meanings, much like when you move a document from its original context in a paper archive and place it in another context. Without documenting the change in the paper document, you change the meanings both of it, and those knowledges that stand in relation to it. In this paper, I am showing the beta copy of a database engine that is made to track and follow those changes.

In the ACRO project, we archiving the digital detritus of film, photographic, and musical production with an eye to their reuse. The purpose is to provide the common open foundation for future high quality production of cultural objects. We are forced to confront the problem of both derivative, remixed, and novel uses of digital objects. Objects that in fact are in a constant state of multiple use, and thus their meanings are changing in relation to each other. In order to resolve this, we are turning to socially constructed ontologies in order to both track changes over time, so authors can tell us that their contribution is a derivative of another contribution, but also to tag or label these new contributions more thoroughly with their own interpretation. Allowing users to both tag, to discuss and to maintain a glossary of meanings related to their discussion and tagging, allows the ACRO beta to maintain and track the mutations that digital media from within the system. By using microformat data in relation to user constructed data, we hope to operate in parallel relation to the growing standards in the cultural object arena, mapping the microformat and user constructed data into standards compliant metadata.

Polyvalent creativity

def: Polyvalent creativity is a form of creativity in which the processual nature of creativity is participated in by many subjects who are co-constituting the experience of creativity across and between different levels of knowing, creating, learning, and understanding. Specifically for my work, it is the form of creativity where the process causes people to recruit more people, which builds into a cohesive group. It is a theory of creative revolution.