[iDC] Speaking of techgnosis, read that Stewart Brand thing. That is just amazing social history.

mark bartlett mark at globalpostmark.net
Sat Oct 14 15:14:35 EDT 2006

hi ryan,

thanks for the clarifications, and, tempering my overhasty response  
to the edge excerpt.

i'm very glad to hear the book takes the position you've described.  
that squares well with what i've been finding, by taking the opposite  
route, tracing who has been excluded, dropped from sight, not allowed  
to act, and looking at the reasons for particular exclusions. What is  
it that accounts for the  blind spots of particular historical  
narratives? Canonization is often an unconscious self-iterating  
process, canon's build on other previous canons. this is one aspect  
of the reportage problem. and its a particularly big problem in art  
history, (i'm not an art historian)  which tends to account for only  
those figures who survived, for whatever reasons, the competition of  
the art market. then we hear ad nauseum about Pollock say, and Cage.  
I'm not saying that they weren't important. But do we really need  
another book on Duchamp?  the 25 year "gag rule" which so often  
disciplines historians generally, while making some sense, also  
sometimes leads to putting history as a discipline in a double  
political bind. It cannot effect the process of selection in the  
present, while risking being complicit with the politics of the past  
that lead to exclusion. for me, and i  know for some others, that is  
the problem that a specifically "social" history seeks to rectify.

the particular case i'm working on shows the regularity with which,  
to be cagey about it, the silences once started, tend to hop from one  
historian/theorist to another through time. anybody heard of Stan  
Vanderbeek? I wish i could take a poll on this list and find out,  
while giving multiple choice options for who he was....

mark bartlett

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