[iDC] The Social Event Machine

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Thu Feb 2 09:41:59 EST 2006

Hell, no. It¹s not a question of paper versus network. The book is not
the problem. They will stick around. Google scans books to make them
available for cheap reprint later. Texts can, of course, be perfectly
dialogical. I see writing as dialogue. We talk to other writers¹ printed
work. We speak with others in situations like this. But maybe somebody
here can shed light on the value of reading a lengthy paper to the tune
of an audience that sinks into deep-seated event slumber. We are not
just talking mechanics here. A sitting speaker hidden behind a laptop
speaking to a group that is arranged in orderly rows surely shapes
interaction. It¹s hilarious that even the most progressive post-graduate
programs sometimes insist on the hierarchical peeps-and-master,
church-like room set-up. It shapes discussion. I am not talking about DJ
Spooky stage moves (he thinks a lot about that stuff). Formats influence
content. Brian¹s suggestion of a real-time networked discussion of a
specific piece (followed by an embodied meeting) sounds worth giving it
a go. But there is no one-fits-all solution. Indubitably there are, make
no mistake about it, fantastic public intellectuals who are magnificent!
Likewise, I see no danger of keynotes or paper reading enthusiasts dying
out anytime soon. We are talking about alternatives, not a
Potemkin-style takeover. Adam brings up a good point. It would indeed be
useful to speak to concrete examples. Do you have particularly inspiring
examples? Anybody? I was also at the Tate event that Adam mentioned and
agree that sometimes a less ambitious approach to scale would result in
a more intensive exchange. The small work groups at Open Congress
worked best in my opinion.

I would also like to point to Phil Agre¹s accounts:
³Notes on organizing conferences²

and a quick Google search popped up this: 

I cleaned up the ³glaring² English of my last post a bit and posted it
to my blog:

Do you know of other texts on the topic?


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