06 Jun

The Symbolic Function of Capitals

Just a quick note about capital cities. According to Friedrich Kittler, from his article “The City is a Medium”: “Under highly technologized conditions, capitals scarcely need to be built; they only need to be assigned addresses.”

There is so much to be said about this statement. If the meaning of a capital city is to symbolically represent a nation through architectural symbol and historical recollection, how can those tasks be reproduced by simply assigning an address? Well, considering the dominance of participatory networks, one might assume that capitals will be built by the people whom identify with the thing represented. In other words, isn’t a capital city just an aggregation of human activity and commemoration? Doesn’t that happen in digital networks all the time? Is it p0ssible to say that a capital is a search string? An aggregation tool? An RSS reader? Will physical capitals soon need to contend with this reality? A built environment without a network address risks impermancy.