Rose Mendez introduces the lecture as part of the “Butterfly” series. Mendez cites De Landa’s book, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, and the volume’s interest in hybridizing geology, biology and language. Mendez speculates on the potential of applying De Landa’s models to Los Angeles.
De Landa organizes his talk around his recent essay “The Role of Cities in the New Philosophy of History.” He argues against the reigning “top-down” analysis of society, and offers models of artificial life, simulation, and emergence for analyzing the growth of institutions and larger entities, such as city-states. Utilizing economies of scale and economies of agglomeration, he looks at models including Venetian markets and the Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. He concludes with a discussion of the rhizome in relation to the organizational models of Apple and Microsoft.
De Landa discusses New York City and it’s efforts to become a rhizome. He insists that the disappearance of industry from New York in the 1940s created a crisis which is not yet resolved. He revisits the topic of open source systems, comparing Linux with Microsoft’s operating system. De Landa also reiterates his argument regarding economies of scale, explaining how smaller entities, such as towns, act as accelerators of historical time due to their flexible organization.