Erhard Schüttpelz has suggested a useful distinction between “the complicated” and “the complex,” which helps to understand what is at stake in such a scene. According to Schüttpelz, “complicated” is anything whose operations can be computed, like train timetables. A conversation at a bar, however, is “complex”: it is ambiguous, and its many layers of meaning (and of animation) involve more factors than a simulation can easily take into account. The difference between the complex and the complicated was and continues to be the foremost frontier of modernization. By means of standardization and computation, modernity seeks to turn complexity into something that is merely complicated.
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