Affect

Affect relates to infrastructures at a multiplicity of levels – as an input or enabling condition, as a byproduct, and/or as the central target for its operational mechanisms. Infrastructures emerge from emotional states such as anxiety, produce emotional effects like placidity, and/or operationalize emotions – manipulate anxiety and placidity, for instance – for social, political, or economic purposes.

From millenarian groups that control populations through the grip of fear to counter cultural communication platforms that mobilize the discontentedness of the politically marginalized, infrastructure’s management of affect emanates as a mode of governmentality. As a cohesive or divisive social element, affect’s administration serves to mark individuals and situate them socio-politically as well as determine their relationships.

Particularly relevant in the case of infrastructures of information is the co-constitutive relation between knowledge and sentiment. Affect plays an essential role in knowledge formation – in what we know and what remains unknown as well as the shape of this knowledge and how it takes form.