brian carroll on Mon, 23 Jul 2001 19:45:20 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the Architecture of the U.N.

[this is part of a larger project i will be
launching soon, Autobiography of Madness,
as the result of having another project,, derailed by forces
behind the scenic electronic screenery...
this is a counterpoint to EMPIRE, in that,
there are concrete aspects to what is now
going on that are not being discussed, as
they are not part of the academic viewpoint
sanctioned by the incorporated U of Mindshare.
without acknowledging the matter-of-fact mundane
aspects of policy, the reals, and only wanting
larger ideals, facades, then the structure will
remain unchanged. just as in language, if it is
a private wo|man's reality, that is all it is.
only 6 billion humans can be one, as humanity.
and that's the scale things are happening on,
not emulating the egotism of another private ID.
knowledge is open, as are ideas. but everything
being talked about is bounded by a proprietary limit
upon the wordage, the languaging, the psychographics
of the sayer, what is said, and the receivers whom
replicate and extend that (versioned) envisioning.
if  change occurs, it will occur firstly in minds.
else, everything is way too simple and without a
scale and gravity as to its consequence. it is
time to organize transparently. yet there is
only silence. one thing seems clear, that if
the global talks between nations are in trouble,
then 'terrorism' will likely become local, with
mysterious 'events', staged by someone or other,
going off in localities, "More and More Reason
for More and More Security." etc. and no one will
be to blame, except the old ideas that have total
control over the image and its interpretation.
time to regroup, rethink. and speak with one voice,
human, the one institution that everyone belongs to.]


final paper for course on the United Nations, U of Minnesota, USA
brian thomas carroll. received a C- or D+ in 1993. college drop out.
questions 1 and 2, were those of the professor whom did not understand
what i was trying to write about and why. this is an electronic draft.

the Architecture of the United Nations / 1993

The order and unity of the United Nations is critical to maintaining 
peace and allowing interaction between nations. The education, 
culture and symbolism that will allow a sense of world community to 
exist in the technology of modernism, in electricity and the upcoming 
telecommunications infrastructure, inside and out. Precedent is found 
in Mies van der Rohe, who as an architect of modernism, described 
what is the essential basis for the unified form and context of 

" Technology is rooted in the past. It dominates the present and 
tends into the future. It is a real historical movement - one of the 
great movements which shape and represent their epoch. It can be 
compared only with the Classic discovery of..(humans) 
a..(people), the Roman will to power, and the religious movement of 
the middle ages. Technology is far more than a method, it is a world 
in itself... [cyberspace] Whenever technology reaches its real 
fulfilment, it transcends into architecture. [telecommunications]

" It is true that architecture depends on facts, but its real field 
of activity is in the realm of significance. I hope you will 
understand that architecture has nothing to do with the inventions of 
forms. It is not a playground for children, young or old. 
Architecture is the real battleground of the spirit. Architecture 
wrote the history of the epochs and gave them their names. 
Architecture depends on its time. It is the crystallization of its 
inner structure, the slow unfolding of its form. That is the reason 
why technology and architecture are so closely related. Our real hope 
is that they will grow together, that some day the one wil be the 
expression of the other. Only then will we have an architecture 
worthy of its name: architecture as a true symbol of our time." 1

As time is now instant and "real", and as the future tends toward the 
internal workings of telecommunications, and as the history of such a 
climax has been born of electricity, so to then, is there precedent 
in the modernization of the world by the United Nations, and 
potential for world governance by the public acknowledgment of this 

The physical presence of artifacts which recognize the unity between 
nations and peoples, a common bond with which the presence of the 
United Nations can be realized.

The United Nations is the only chance there is for international 
governance of technology, and it needs to define its mission more 
directly to the real implications of a telecommunications 
infrastructure, for it holds great promise to bring people together, 
but as it progresses now, its goals may be to keep people apart, 

To put this influence of telecommunications and the United Nations in 
context it is necessary to see it on the outside, outside of policy, 
and to be aware of its impact and its invisible quality that defies 
normal understanding and awareness.
The United Nations is an essential body of governance in a world 
shrunken by science and technology. The world is becoming closer 
through technology, and the U.N. has a great history in the transfer 
of technology to pre-industrial countries. In fact, the function of 
this transfer is to bring Modernity itself.

Modern living can be seen by corporate buildings and highways, but 
the foundation of modern living has its foundation on electricity. 
Since the 1880's, the electrical system has sustained the growth of 
an international society. Once radio and television, then the 
computer and now the computer network and high-speed transportation 
of information, or telecommunications. The public, all over the 
modern world, relies on these technologies.

Civic buildings now include radio stations and power stations, and 
they are standard buildings in the technological culture. This is a 
private asset of the United Nations, and this aesthetic is an 
ordering device in societies. Most essential is now to see where 
telecommunications exists in this modern structure... Between the 
transmission of ideas one and two-way, to the change in time and 
space of the distribution of these ideas. What awareness exists in 
the international public?

With the dedication of developing the computer networks, and 
transmission techniques involved in telecommunications, an interior 
world has now evolved, and at the same time become an internal 
subject. (As with General Mckenzie, E.C., NAFTA). Telecommunications 
is to be a standard international infrastructure as common as the 
streetlight, the wooden distribution pole and the metal transmission 
tower, but then how will it be seen, and how can the United Nations 
govern over this technology when it is so very independent?

If the greatest outside impact of this new technology will be seen 
with just another line on the wooden utility pole, how will this be 
utilized as freedom rather than control over the international public 

First, with the scale of technology, there is no difference between 
national and international problems in dealing with its ethical 
questions. But these questions exist outside of the publics awareness 
as a whole because the information or the condition itself is never 
unveiled for its political context.

But the policy, at the local and international level is questionable 
for public aims, and the absolute control of telecommunications over 
the perceptions and actions of those "inside" this world have an 
incredible opportunity to censor and defy human-rights and 
non-self-governing peoples. This is said to be a result of science in 
relation to the United States Constitution, where there exists no law 
protecting the citizen ownership of government, but rather allows 
public and private interactions to go unchecked. The relationship 
between the United Nations (DPI) and Non Governmental Organizations 
(NGO's) is questionable. And with regard to telecommunications, and 
its power over people and ideas, in the information economy where 
knowledge is for sale, there exists a undefined goal for this 
technology that could easily be more concerned with money than with 
human goals of solving complex societal relationships.

Telecommunications, and the computer network, allow society and its 
structure to be mirrored inside a virtual space. To explore such a 
network (internet) is to see how the United Nations or the White 
House is just another destination in the organization of the network 
itself. On the outside, if not only ideally, the potential for the 
U.N. to be a governing source for the world is powerful. Every dam 
and airport, park and television station, and electrical and 
communications system could be checked on an international level and 
could guarantee a certain public responsibility over these. The real 
situation is more that of the internet, where governement finds 
itself as just another in international organization. This is a 
result of a great unsaid of the political structure extended through 
science and technology, and the goodness of telecommunications, the 
grounding of this technology for public control is held back by the 
lack of recognizing this structure.

If the United Nations were to regain some control it has lost to 
these other NGO's it will need a public awareness to enforce its 
laws. Telecommunications offers such a direct interaction with the 
public, and the United Nations could unveil itself as a great 
motivator in the recognition of its subservience to such discrete 
powers. If the United Nations does not progressively pursue the 
human-interests of this technology, it will be ended with a lack of 
control over the information available, and in the attempt to appear 
as a governing force will be easily found out to be a sell-out to 
private interests, as many already feel. The United Nations is the 
only chance there is for international governance of this technology, 
and it needs to define its mission more directly to the real 
implications of telecommunications infrastructure, for it holds great 
promise to bring people together, but as it progresses now, its goals 
may be to keep people apart, unaware.

The United Nations has a common symbol all over the world. This is 
the electrical system of wooden distribution poles and metal 
transmission towers. Here, telecommunications can be seen for what it 
is. A subset utility which is assumed to connect to every house in 
the future. This new "line" is an independent economy inside this 
"line". It will change the world. But to look and to meditate as to 
how this one line can be a future in and of itself is to be deceived. 
Its implementation is minor, a subset of a larger system, which is 
also true of the electrical system on which it shares space.

Everywhere, all over the world, this order is the same, and 
everywhere it is political. Now instead of a Cold-War Nuclear Economy 
there will be a Global Information Economy. In the backyard, in the 
alley, in the desert, in the mountains, everywhere these wooden poles 
are-are potential connections to this economy. This power. This 
political structure. And if its political influence goes unrecognized 
to the public, it offers a screen of reality which can be controlled 
by the private media. The condition for this to happen is 
predetermined by the illusion that diplomacy is only within 
government and not subservient to private demands, such as power or 

So to look at this pole is to see the enormous influence that a 
single line will carry for the future of society. The international 
future and governance in a fragile ecosystem of technology and ideas. 
And here it becomes more apparent to realize that in questioning the 
advance of "telecommunications" is actually to question the entirety 
of the technological system, the empirical machine that needs to 
sustain its autonomous control in the public.

The United Nations then, exists as a servant to these goals unless it 
defines itself as independent of these interests, which the 
technology allows it to do. The United Nations role in this 
development would be to democratize the technology and allow the 
public direct involvement with the questions in this area, instead of 
private committees discussing the future of this system, there could 
be "visions" more for the public, with which the public would hold 
the private companies accountable by international law.

The responsibility and purpose of this technology needs to be 
declared by the United Nations for the international society. There 
exist too many unanswered questions that can too easily be censored 
in the development of this infrastructure.

The United Nations could use this technology and raise international 
awareness of the context of international governance. No one would be 
independently singled out as a "enemy" but rather it would ground 
public awareness in the state of international affairs, and allow the 
power of the public to be the checks and balances of the 
international system itself.

Second, the United Nations has a common aesthetic with the technology 
itself. This is the electrical system, and much of the unsaid aspect 
of political control. Here, awareness could be raised with utilizing 
this cohesive quality of the U.N. all over the world. Every person 
can relate their place in the U.N. by seeing this wooden pole or 
metal tower, and with the publics support, the U.N. could raise its 
level of influence so as to truly be a governor, a steerer of this 
technological society, its laws and its influences.

Then, to look at this pole, one would see the manifestation of global 
governance, economy, and interconnection, and the citizen would 
understand the presence of the United Nations through the aesthetic 
utility of architecture.

1- Programs and Manifestos on 20th-century architecture
Ulrich Conrads, translated by Michael Bulloch
MIT Press, Massachussetts. 1970 (10th Printing 1990)

Appendix /

Looking from the inside, one can better understand the relationship 
between telecommunications and the United Nations. In the machinery 
of the United Nations, and in the interior positions of 
non-governmental organizations exists policy formation and topics of 
standardizing the telecommunications industry. The political 
influence of the specific technological and scientific groups are 

Telecommunications (or the International Telecommunications Union) 
span many functions that are utilized in ordering and stablizing 
world affairs and security. Harlan Cleveland has written of this 
technological change and proposed a matrix of its influence on the 
economy, war, and development. What results is a complexity that lets 
governance stay within the scientific groups because of specific 
applications. But what is unique in the up and coming technological 
change is that it will take place inside telecommunications. The 
economy, education, health, police, entertainment...these will all be 
internal to the function of telecommunications, and Harlan Clevelands 
matrix model will exist all in one place, inside this technology. 
There is a contradiction in trying to approach the subject as solely 
a function of language, and it becomes increasingly complex and 

1. How can the future of society be so influenced by this technology?

2. And how does telecommuncations have so much influence?

The influence of telecommunications has within it an ideology that it 
can solve some of our human deficiencies, and it will expand our 
ability for action in society. What goes along with this advance, is 
a belief that the technology itself is good, when in fact, it is the 
people who direct the technology and make the laws that ensure its 

As the United Nations has the opportunity to use this technology for 
internal and external activity, it becomes apparent that there may be 
limits to the amount of change that can occur in a bureaucratic 
system. The system may become leaner through change and management, 
but its direction will be hard to sway or redirect. And in this 
respect, there is a possible weakness in controlling the forces of 
technological change in society. Human rights and freedom of speech 
and non-self governing people will need to be updated with the 
technological change. This control over human destiny is a result of 
techological control, and control of the human sense and perception.

Telecommunications can be used to retain a political control which 
leaves little choice or freedom in the individual, and this occurs at 
once on the national and international level. A private political 
unit can advance the telecommunications infrastructure and approach a 
level of "total control" over people, and in this respect, the people 
no longer govern themselves. The danger of such systematic 
normalization of choice and peoples is a mental slavery that 
technology allows to the powerful. And as telecommunications is 
happening spottedly around the globe, by independent nations, and not 
on a cohesive directed and lawful international level, there is no 
international control of the way it will develop.

The United Nations tried to develop such a policy and direction for 
the worlds technological change. The New World Information and 
Communication Order existed for some 12 years in the U.N. halls. Its 
discussion was unique in that it not only dealt with the policy of 
advancing telecommunications, but the broad realm of technology 
itself, and its political power in society. Here, it was repeated by 
many smaller and less developed nations that the western ideology was 
with the technology itself.

To implement such technological change in societies would mean to 
lesson their individual political control, or sovereignty, and become 
part of a much larger functioning of the global technological change 
and ideology. The influence of a free-market and freedom of speech 
are inherent with this change. This policy disappeared on the whole, 
but it involved both a Committee on Information and the Department of 
Public Information (DPI). This discussion may have well merged into 
the New International Economic Order with which the United Nations 
promotes global activity which is necessary to technological 
development. And in this economic structure, one finds 
telecommunications as the driving source of the global economy, what 
is called the Information Economy is this New World Economic Order.

The information economy will revolve around a market of information, 
both for ideas and for utility, as the varied systems will find an 
electronic medium in which to relate. The structure of health care, 
the military, and education would all exist in this economy, and the 
use of these would be truly global in respect to information.

On the international scale, this economy is developing in the 
European Community as once independent European nations are now 
interconnecting their countries through direct and planned electrical 
and telecommunications connections. This will make a larger, and more 
fluid system for information to travel, and is an internation-market. 
So too is the North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, 
Canada, and the United States.

Not only are permanent structures being realized for 
telecommunications, but a transfer of technology is allowing 
countries to unite under common interests of increased trade and 
commerce, and a stronger world and cultural exchange.
The technology transfer of telecommunications is one that brings 
immediate connection to the world, or between nations, and allows a 
unique electronic market to exist.

Beyond nations or land itself, there exists a competition in this 
market between the United States and European Markets, and the 
Pacific and developing nations. The implementation of this 
telecommunications infrastructure is a massive international market, 
and here exists the competition. An example of this development can 
be seen in Mexico where the French have offered to survey the entire 
country for a water infrastructure, for free, if they are allowed to 
build it. In the future, the implementation of telecommunications 
infrastructure could follow this type of nation to nation building. 
Also, in this national competition with telecommunications, comes a 
unique transfer of a political democratic structure. This is not a 
written law, but it is inherent that technology is hard to contain 
some old ways. In China, this struggle is noticed in the freedom of 
choice that technology brings, and in government rules and 
regulations that may oppress the consumer of the technology.

The structure, or organization of telecommunications is based on both 
science and technological knowledge. The knowledge exists in the 
technologically developed countries, and within its functioning 
exists political and economic influence in the world economy. This 
influence has precendence in the established power in Nuclear Science 
in the cold war economy, and as political power. This power is 
internal to the United Nations, and yet it has had an overwhelming 
influence over the "whole" direction of governance, where 
international groups such as the International Atomic Energy 
Commission are of major political influence and direction, and yet 
exist as a subset, and in many cases independent.

This world influence of telecommunications is not only a technical or 
scientific advance, but the advance of a further subsidized political 
structure that has a majority of future influence, while it is 
treated as a subset to overall governance. The new power structure 
that is developing is an extension of the political power that energy 
has in the world and nation.

Telecommunications, as a leading force behind both NAFTA and the 
E.C., is a very faint topic when presented to the public. To focus on 
telecommunications would be to show that government is not centered 
around the political, but in a more questionable realm of public and 
private interaction. Education is held hostage by the way this 
changing force is entering the society. People are unaware and 
unprepared for action with telecommunications, and as the United 
Nations, there needs to be a broader understanding of what is 
happening, so that goals and directions can be defined instead of 
determined by necessity, so that the international public will know 
some of what the future will bring, and the United Nations would have 
a defined direction for order and justice in the future, for the 
public outside.

To see from the outside the influence that telecommunications has on 
international governance, one needs to notice the way this technology 
will show itself.

The Architecture of the United Nations. Transmission and Distribution.

Outline /

The United Nations and Telecommunications

1- Looking from the inside

- political influence of energy-telecommunications
	- NGOs and the interior machinery
	- the future of governance
		- Harlan Clevland and the scientist
		- complexity and contradiction

2- How does telecommunications seem to have so much influence ?

- faith in technology to solve human deficiency (goodness)
- bureaucratic system staying the same
	- weakening control
		- freedom of speech
		- human rights
	- technology to control
		- Singapore and political control
		- the national level
	- International control
		- The New World Information and Communication Order
		- The New World Economic Order (new guise)
	- Information Economy
		- market of information
			- ideas
			- utility
				- health care, military, police
		- Inter-Nation
			- European Community
				- Electricity
				- Telecommunications
			- North American Free Trade Agreement
				- Canada, Mexico, U.S.A.
		- Technology Transfer
			- Market of Telecommunications
				- Based on Land
				- Yugoslavia
					- linking power-grids
					- public-suffrage of
					- Russian conflict
			- Competition
				- U.S. and European Markets
					- free-trade
					- trade-barriers
					- Korean Infrastructure
					- French and Mexico water survey
					- National competition, conflicts
			- Transfer of Democratic Politics
				- Influence in China
					- containment
					- power-struggle
			- Elitist organization
				- technical knowledge
				- scientific knowledge
					- Western ideology
					- education / political
				- precedent in Nuclear science
					- political influence
					- economic control,
					  world economy
				- Governance Interior Function
					 -established power

- Telecommunications as a new Power Structure
	- branch of the interior of energy power
	- invisible quality
	- sounds heard -
	- not mentioned by media
	- government not in control
		- National / International
			- NAFTA
			- E.C.
		- sight
			- the public
			- the university
			- the state (Minnesota)

- Context
	- Energy
		- hierarchical
			- Generation>Consumption
		- Parrallel
			- See Chart 1
				- regional/national
				- Internation
				- E.C.
	- Telecommunications
		- hierarchical
			- Supercomputer>PC
		- Parrallel
			- Transmission
					- Local Area Network
					- Wide Area Network
				- Global Network
		- Servers/Client
			-education and commercial

- The Science of Information
	- create the dynamic, the structure
	- Standards
	- U.N. and the International Telecommunications Union
		- U.N. and the Atomic Energy Association
		- So much future influence on political/economic structure
			- yet a subset of the machinery
			- Independence in governance
				- Internationally
				- NGOs and policy
				- ? of power
			- human in context, not important,
			  relies on policy
		- No policy-law ensuring human rights against misuse by
			- NGOs
			- Government
			- Education
	- Governance formed around the actions of these
		- individual
		- as consumer/experiment

- The United Nations and Telecommunications
	- the future
		- new infrastructure
			-world organization
		- information-ideas-education-entertainment
			- status quo
			- transition state
		- inside or outside the system
			- everyones effected
			- socially marginal peoples
			-integration and Singapore
			- secrecy and the Wizard of Oz
			- Military/FBI survellience
			- Questioning?
	- weakness of social goals-
		-geared toward consumerism
		- The price of the question
		- instantly political
		- public awareness voided (media)
		- Jobs-Health Care-Police-University
	- The Interior Mirror World
		- Layers of Information
			- layers of networks
			-as various water, gas, electric
		- Economy
		- Education
			-R+D public-private
		- Entertainment
			- HDTV sets
		- Government?
		- Cyberspace
			- will the structure
			-corporate, be the same? visible
			- will the United Nations be a destination?
			-when it is everywhere

- Governance of the interior
	- the U.N. exists almost everywhere
	- What is unique to these "places" is
	  that the majority have a common moderness.
	- The speed of technology allows these to exist
	  in one realm (cyberspace)
	- The modern rights and questions are virtually
	  identical and unsaid
	- oppression by technology is subtle in that no one
	  is to blame
	- openess in political debate
		- bring public awareness to the masses through the media
		- educate them through the transition period
			- education and development with technology needs...
				- structure and performance
					-scientific knowledge
				- knowledge and understanding of people
					-human to human, natural level
			- Knowledge should not be pre-processed in
				- too much power outside of law & governance
			- effectiveness from bottom-up
				-inevitable public application

- The realm of the United Nations
		- government of governments
		- Presence-?-
			- interior, could be a structure of those
			  inside the U.N.
			- Categories and Information
				-Policy and Projects
					- Public Involvement
		--total control....


(1993 student paper. idea-logical deconstruction appreciated.)

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