Toward a New Project

Work in progress...
The spectacle is the map of this new world, a map which  exactly covers its territory. --Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (31)

For Debord, in the society of the spectacle the map has as much information as the world. In the present society—which is both less social and more spectacular—it could be said that the map contains even more information than the world itself. Metadata—and the endless algorithms needed to interpret it and to make it useful—is a supermap (or the wrapper that creates hyperspace, in Jameson’s terms), a no-coordinates snapshop of the universe, n-dimensional and descriptive to a fault.

The weaponized drone zeroing in on a "suspected militant"—identified by algorithms interpreting metadata, including patterns of phone calls, emails, and web searches—is not an object moving through Cartesian space along a predictable trajectory toward a specific target, as a cannon ball once was; the drone is a program electronically delivered through no-coordinates space to execute an amount of information.

The drone operates outside the confines of established law. The War on Terror is a postmodern, no-coordinates war and as such is beyond the rational system of rules deduced from principles established during the Enlightenment (including the Constitution). The drone knows no sovereignty, nor declaration, nor treaty, nor right. The drone
and its massive, accompanying infrastructure of surveillance, "intelligence," and analysis by algorithmknows nothing; it is but a surfer on the world wide web of military omnipotence, searching and destroying. 

Computer warfare is similarly unrestricted and exists outside the process of judicial review. The digital, however, is also not entirely immaterial; computer viruses become bombs, as in the release of the Stuxnet virus to destroy Iranian centrifuges. The drone and the virus are one: weaponized programs, solely operated by and answerable to the executive branch.

The President,  the executive, says, "I is a fiction." The executioner is multiple. There is no author; authority now comes from the algorithm. No justice, no peace, just the algorithm unfurling unfathomable amounts of data, declaring, "There, in that place, there will be death." Or rather, patterns of information direct people to run their programs to execute tasks. The myth of the "dithering" President, too Hamlet to start a real war, is misdirection. The President doesn't need to make the call. The algorithms send the drones. The result is an explosion in Yemen, or Somalia, or Pakistan, or Iraqbut for the drone and its algorithms those places do not exist any more than area codes exist for cell phones.