The Body in Network Culture

Tonight at 6:30 PM EST Netlab will stage a discussion entitled, “Peepers, Flashers, and Other Law Breakers” at Columbia University’s Wood Auditorium. The participants will be discussing how the boundaries between public and private, individual and social, are breaking down in contemporary culture.

Since the Enlightenment, both architecture and the law have provided parallel and often complimentary definitions of the public and private. Under network culture, however, walls have a new permeability and laws have a new instability. Amidst all this, our own perception of what constitutes private life is changing with our use of online social networks.

Netlab is associated with Kazys Varnelis, the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Varnelis is, or was, working on a book about networks, which he sees as the defining metaphor for our time. Like an increasing number of cultural critics, Varnelis is in the postmodernism is dead camp, although he doesn’t fit in with Nicolas Bourriaud, Paul Virilio and the hypermodernism crowd. Varnelis among the few who’s looking at it from the point of view of architecture. Even if you can’t make tonight’s talk, his observations on the network culture are worth reading.

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