[iDC] The Social Event Machine

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Fri Feb 3 01:28:53 EST 2006

Oh, forgive this rant, it's late, body is achingly weary, and mind is 
desperate to make some sense. questions will be answered both off- 
and on-list... ;-)   -- it all might be shattered vinyl to the ear...

>Hell, no. It's 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 writers' 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

the text issue is a toucchy one -- while I am open to the use of 
language (;-))  I am also skeptical about its ability to insure a 
democratic social system (or critical of its power to generate a 
clear hierarchic society.

Language is a particular socially defined carrier that mediates 
between the self and the other (see later in the email for an 
expansion of this concept) -- Language is a special case which I 
cannot frame here for lack of energy to write down the argument in 

But, just to note -- I have seen clearly over the years the social 
mechanism that holds the written/printed word over other forms of 
expression.  I won't name names, but I have noted many times that the 
'artist' who is able to put a literal spin to his/her work frequently 
rises to the top of the social milieu -- more frequently than the 
artist who does not have access to the supporting The Word and its 
legion of accepted forms   -- or the same thing hegemonic expression 
happens to work that becomes the 'darling' of whatever critical 
writers are popular in the moment.  This at the expense of other 
better work that is harder to make a literate articulation of, or is 
simply produced by someone who does not have access to that very 
hierarchic power structure of literacy...

>just talking mechanics here. A sitting speaker hidden behind a laptop
>speaking to a group that is arranged in orderly rows surely shapes
>interaction. It's 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

you are right, it is definitely not about mechanics, but about 
energy.  assuming a Quantum view of the world, a world of flows, 
indeterminacy, and change, all about energy, looking at situations 
becomes a sensing of the energy content and movement of a sequence of 
states of being.  The possibility of flows, and the realities of 
socially constructed blockages

Architectural configurations affect us because the material (ist!) 
substance is a configuration of energies which interact with our own 
beings-of-energy.  The affect of sitting in a room without fresh air 
in ordered rows is the expression of hierarchy as a set of socially 
defined (and constricted) flows (or blockages of energy).  Why open 
the window?  Why do we feel better with fresh air?  Why not, as 
panelist or presenter, turn your back to the audience for the 
duration of the act?  What is the energy of that versus the energy of 
f-2-f?  It all comes down to understanding the dynamics, the real 
(not abstracted) dynamics of human exchange.  In all its socially 
mandated and natural forms.  Social systems are essentially 
constricted/defined pathways for energy movement.  More or less 
constricting.  When less, then the possibilities for 'fruitful' 
exchange -- the phenomenal situation where two people can engage 
fully and both can walk away from the engagement inspired (filled 
with energy) -- are so much greater.  However, when there are fewer 
social constrictions on the flows, then the situation becomes more 
open and hence unknown -- and this is where different people have 
different capacities to deal with the unknown -- some can handle the 
formal flows of rows of seats facing a presenter, some can handle a 
circle of chairs, some can handle facing a stranger one-to-one 
without sharing a language, and yet still remain open to the 
challenge of creating connection which can then lead to energized 
exchange.  face it -- many, perhaps a majority of people have a hard 
time with the unknown, with the stranger -- thus the politics of fear 
which leads to the tight constriction on energy pathways for 
exchange: immigration issues, segregation, an irrational 
fear,paranoia, and hatred of the Other.

open Source, for example, is promoted by those who can handle 
unstable systems and indeterminate outcomes which are dynamic and, 
literally, open.  versus the often rigid hierarchy of 
corporate-produced items which often do not reflect a relationship to 
the momentary flows of life around.  the assembly-line is the 
ultimate expression of control of exchange between the creator and 
the receiver (the producer and the consumer).  versus the hand-made 
and surprising, eccentric, idiosyncratic gift for a particular Other.

Dynamic networks are where there is enough tolerance for idiosyncracy 
and not too much pre-defined constriction on the possible 
opportunities for exchange of energies.  define the pathways too much 
and the network dies.  inter-nodal flows need to be sustainable and 
sustained -- a dynamic exchange that must happen, else the network 
dies.  but death is okay, nothing lasts forever in a single state. 
change is the basal principle, and change is manifest in the flows of 
energy that we are immersed in, both socially defined (and reified), 
and those beyond any control of the social system...

>content. Brian's 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

concrete examples are good, but a clear understanding of the 
fundamental principles that can easily frame any of the subjects of 
the discussion would allow a deeper understanding of the dynamics and 
avoid the confusion that a flood of bits and pieces of disparate 
information can engender.

>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.



tech-no-mad::hypnostatic:: still with a shattered spine on a glacial mend
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