Let’s Get Rhizomatic: Nature & The Web

What really struck me about Deleuze and Guttari’s concept of “rhizome” and its relation to the Web were all of the illusions to the natural world. It’s not often that we invoke nature when talking about digital stuff but, in reality, there are so many connections between the two. The core image brought up by the two authors is the tree versus the rhizome, underlining the key characteristics of both plants to communicate points about media and the Web. The rhizome is both heterogeneous and multiplicitous, they say.

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Building upon the nature allusions of Deleuze and Guttari, the BBC talks about the hidden internet under the soil:

It’s an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime.

No, we’re not talking about the internet, we’re talking about fungi. While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.

It’s often overlooked, but the digital world so often reflects the natural world. We should pause more often to reflect on the marvelous connections all around us.

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~ by ljl on February 10, 2015.

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