Mark Nunes’ introduction Error, Noise, and Potential: The Outside of Purpose discusses the relationship between control, feedback, error, and noise. Nunes explores the potential the occurrence error has for providing opportunities outside of systems of control or predicted outcomes. Control is connected with purpose and is used to describe the way in which actions are guided toward intended purposes. In today’s technological climate, the intended purpose is increasingly maximized performance, thus eradicating error. Nunes posits questions about deviance and inefficiency in this system as forms of resistance.
The relationships Nunes explores in this introduction reminded me very much of models of communication and various communication theories. In the beginning of the chapter, Nunes uses examples of feedback in technology as first discussed by Weiner to discuss error’s corrective purpose as a means of preventing unexpected outcomes. From an interpersonal communicative perspective, feedback, in answer to the questions posed at the end of the ‘Control’ section, provides a multitude of opportunities for “unintended trajectories” in interactions and therefore a varying potential for relationship growth or decline. Feedback in any communicative capacity, if negative and deviating from the norm, still provides valuable information and can be a major mode of resistance.
The Subversive Use of Theory speaks more generally about the concepts Nunes discusses. Zizek argues for greater questioning in fields of study so as to broaden scopes of solutions and thinking to better connect people and solve socio-ecological issues.
Both articles discuss potential of error and deviation from norms as a way to expand thought and everyday possibilities.