The technotectonic, as I imagine it, is a mountain of water, or a clay of electricity. The technotectonic, as a transformation to the Digital and the Virtual, acknowledges that the materiality of the computer is inherently intimate to geology (especially to precious metals and rare earth minerals or lanthanides) but simultaneously, it also renders the concept of the Digital and the Virtual through visceral and temporal dissonance. To do so, the technotectonic throws these two terms into the most active core of volcanic cauldrons— not to the end of obliteration, but of metamorphism.
By infusing the geological into the phenomena of computation, the Digital and the Virtual can escape the rhetorics of the Clouds; the fallible ether and the purely electric dream. The two terms can become fluid bodies of density; of mining sites, server racks, cables, optics; of sands and chained lightning—all of which harkens back even to the eons of the Hadean; of zircons and their primordial kins. In this dilation, rocks are not so different than mulch and worm.
Thus, the technotectonic is a segway towards supplanting the term Virtual and Digital with the computational. Imagine a world where we speak of CR (Computational Reality) instead of VR; computational age, computational information, computational image. Each utterance declares the culture and history of the computer, its users and its authors; each reference to computation catalyze the multiplexing of subjects. The technotectonic recognizes that the future, in all its magmatism, is multi-directional.
The tectonic ebbs even with the smallest pebbles, and somewhere in that flux, within and without the lanthanides, computational units are metamorphing into shapes. And the world morphs along with it; but the Digital and the Virtual are perplexed, because they are only surfaces among a world of density. Current geological metaphors in computation, such as data-mining or streaming media, are distant from its own material causality. If the idea of streaming abide by its geological significance, it will also speak of being a hydraulic computer that sorts fragments and clasts, as the dissolver of limestones, and as the maker of trenches and caves. Yet, the computational utterance of the geological are currently tethered to the insularity of the Clouds.
However, by folding a metaphor towards the physical and conceptual history of its own literal subject, the virtual is pulverized and re-mashed into the material, and as such, they are no longer ontologically separate. We can perhaps summon the obsidian glass which, even though valued immutably as portable mirrors and magical portals in pre-agriculture era, is in fact continuously crystalizing. The surface of the obsidian gradually appears mottled and almost mossy, as if being consumed and territorialize by extremophiles. The obsidian reflection of the world and the otherworld is inevitably fused with its own inconstancy. And just like the obsidian, the technotectonic rejects unmooring.
Aligning the computational with the geological allows the phenomena of the computer to be understood outside of the upwardly and forwardly directed acceleration. The computational landscape can instead be reimagined in relationship to Gaia—the orientationally complex phenomena of undulating multitudes. Each unit becomes a containment of the massive and the purveyor of the endlessly fluid; each unit escapes their physical decorum into a network of tentacular crust; each unit predates and speculates. The technotectonic is a branching body that produces ontologies and visions through a single coalescence—and that is of material reality.
But where is the place for human agents in the geological? Imagine ourselves as elementals—not in the sense of being primary constituents of bits and digits, but as forces of nature itself: water, wind, extremophiles, animals, and, in the spirit of refolding the metaphorical back to the material, even humans ourselves. To reimagine oneself as elementals of computation is to declare the phenomena of the computer as a part of reality, and that one inevitably possess a computational force in that reality; a force that creates instead of consumes. To infuse the elemental into the geological is to therefore metamorph those two forces, instead of resorting to the linear dynamic of the actor against the acted. To be the elementals of computation is to be both givers and receivers.
In the most immense magmatism, the Virtual, the Digital, the human, and the non-human twist and untangle in synergy, metamorphing into the computational. Reborn as elementals, we become, as parts or in sum, technotectonic.