[iDC] blogs, twitter, aphasia, speech

Dean, Jodi JDEAN at hws.edu
Fri Jun 19 22:06:39 UTC 2009

A couple of folks have warned against installing an intentionality or an agent (big Other) operating behind or within networked communications. This is ostensibly a problem for a couple of

1.  it's inaccurate (and thus obfuscates a more complex reality)

2.  it's politically harmful (because it can make people give up)

Clarification and obfuscation are 2 sides of the same coin--some elements are brought into focus, others fade into the background. And, inseparable from each are elements of imagination, that
is, suppositions that go in different directions. Basing one's critical energies around getting the most accuracy, the most information, is like the trap of the poor guy in Synecdoche, NY.

I say this because it could be productive to think in terms of a monolithic conspiracy operating behind the scenes: what would it take to subvert
or escape it? Does imagining such a force make opposition harder than if one imagines a complex multiplicity of forever undecideable and changeable nodes and paths? Why?

If one proceeds as if evil bad guys devised a system to capture attention and energy, and that made this capture totally enjoyable, that made it seem like power (empowerment)
when it wasn't, when it actually was providing free labor and content for the bad guys, what would follow? What sorts of tactics of evasion? What sort of alternatives not just for playing at
resistance but from over-throwing the bad guys would emerge? Would one be able to discern the ways what appears as a radical practice in one setting is a precursor to more entrapment in another
setting, that is, is confined with a view that can only imagine within the terms of entrapment?

Additional thoughts on some of the political points raised in the discussion:

--that Obama won was in no way a revolution; there is nothing surprising about the Democratic candidate beating the Republican candidate in the wake of an unpopular Republican president
and an economic meltdown;

--folks in the US should be mindful of election-contestation envy


From: idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net [idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net] On Behalf Of Michael H Goldhaber [michael at goldhaber.org]
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2009 2:44 PM
To: idc at mailman.thing.net
Subject: [Junk released by User action] Re: [iDC] blogs, twitter, aphasia, speech

Christina, implicit in what you say is the view ( which I think is
right on) that while aware that many Net media are owned by
corporations that hope to make a profit, we should not overlook their
more subversive potentials. In that vein also, I think we should not
take  corporations or even governments to be as sure of what to do as
they pretend. We should be careful not to ascribe to such entities
more strength than they have, for that only weakens any kind of
independent action. For instance, much "data mining" is done strictly
in the hope that the mined data will be of value. But just because an
ad that supposedly is customized for you appears in front of you, that
does not mean you must fall for it. And it may well be customized on
the basis of absurd misreadings, which tell us the programs are pretty
easily confused. Data mining might be much over hyped.  ( Of course
any look at the recent calamities on Wall St. and in Detroit reveals
the same fallibility. )


On Jun 17, 2009, at 3:38 PM, Christina McPhee wrote:

> Trebor asked me to join all of you in this fascinating conference.
> Aliette writes,
>> it remains that for any social organization the principle of the
>> society is to connect people by the way to allow an increase of
>> productive power, because it is a device of mutual exploitation of
>> people who share it. This mutual exploitation is a free exchange
>> which constitutes the social pact. If you make paying the pact at
>> once the society loosing its object disappear becoming a
>> segregationist community. Internet is a virtual increased reality
>> from the society and increasing the Technics of which the source is
>> to get free of alienating work (i.e. Working for food).
>> Internet may be sound as the part of evil of the materialist
>> society, the place of mutual donation even can be the poorest can be
>> to the richest: online indifference. What is exactly normal.
> I think about an aggregate 'voice' of the network as if it were in
> the  position of 'speaking truth to power" (Parrhesia).  If there is
> such a speaking collective 'subject' or subjective space, the common
> view holds  it's  semi-unintelligible and subordinate to global media
> capital.   Google 'owns' your stuff.
> How can this be a powerful speech?
> Serious blogs .. " people are seriously following each others special
> focussed writing.  Everyone reads each others' blogs first thing in
> the morning instead of the newspaper.  Then they comment on it and
> write some more." (Colby Reece, architecture student ).  Rhetoric :  a
> community-based logic to find shared premise.
> Unserious blogs:  Twitter, yah.  But:  isn't it amazing though how
> Twitter is working out so well in the midst of the Iranian electoral
> crisis?
> The messages slip in and out of 'radar'.
> The state can clamp down on Facebook for a while but there are always
> other ways.  Writing is always on to someone and into the material
> community.  It invents out there and back (bounce or retort or
> return). The speech is just 'out of phase' meaning not in sync with
> the present moment
> -- or almost in synch.  The 'almost' is the productive spot.   A
> slip, between the report and the action of the report, on Twitter, on
> Facebook, even on listservs,
> Networked speech like my haphazard attempts here are, to be
> precise !--  almost intelligible, but not, to some of us, not all of
> us, but close.  intimate. Close but hard to get a grip on. Close to
> home.  On your mobile, aphasia but also joke, pun, and play.
> Trebor asked me, if I understand him correctly,  to perhaps speak to
> how precarious networked labour could resemble traditional  'women's
> work'  (disappeared?  silent? slaved? ).   How precarious network
> labour weighs into the boxing ring,  locks in tight embrace  the
> material.  with the material reality of putting long  hours in front
> of the computer; or uploading mobile phone shots at the aftermath of
> civil disobedience; or writing on facebook while washing the dishes
> and scrubbing the floor.     Garcia Marquez:  Language as a material
> is as hard as wood and just as real.
> How  everywhere people , male / femle/ transgendered == make
> argument:  'texting' .  To text: not just through your mobile.
> Texting  world.  Even though you can't text the world.
> Writing  is an enterprise leading to a  messed up, incomplete,
> partial, almost-actualized piece of work.   Getting at some kind of
> logic, arguing back to premises, in this case "the place of mutual
> donation " (Aliette).
> We can never get it 'right' but the mutual editing is fantastic,
> liberating.   Naeem Mohaiemen: "My Mobile Weighs a Ton."    The action
> of Web 2.0 makes if anythning a stronger claim on arguments that go
> back to the material.  The
> more elaborate the ephemeral updates of twitter, the more intense the
> reference to the real hard world.
> If anything, new social tools make me live in even more diverse
> physical spaces than before.   As difficult and exhilarating by
> turns.  No one knows how the demographics work.  Advertisers on
> Facebook are just guessing.  There
> are no stats that are 'for sure.'
> Amy Wiley (writing coach, comparative lit scholar); "Writing is a
> social enterprise.  Things are more or less effective.  Principles of
> rhetoric are part of sustainability.  They are not ego-driven,  rather
> community driven. Composition is a spatial function. "
> Thanks for enjoying this brief divertissement.
> Christina
> about me:
> Christina McPhee interprets the remote landscape in multimedia
> streams. She creates topologic site explorations in layered suites
> involving on-site photographs, video, drawing, and envrionmental
> sound.  Forthcoming in 2009:
> "Tesserae of Venus," a science fiction series on carbon-saturated
> energy landscapes, opens at Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, in late
> October 2009; "Pharmakon LIbrary Folio 2 :" is in preparation for New
> York Art Book Fair at PS1, early October
> 2009.
> Her films have most recently screened at Videoformes 09 Clermont-
> Ferrand,  San Francisco Cinematheque at Yerba Buena Center for the
> Arts and for “Drift/In Transitions, Russia 2008” at the National
> Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow and Ekaterinaberg, Russia.  She
> has created video suites for the variable cinema project "Plazaville",
> a remake of Godard's "Alphaville" with GH Hovagimyan, which premiered
> at Pace Digital Gallery in New York City in April 2009, as a
> turbulence.org commission.  A beta version of "Tesserae' will
> screen at ISEA Belfast this August 2009.
> Her media work is archived at the Rose Goldsen Archive for New Media
> Art, Cornell University; Rhizome Artbase/ New Museum of Contemporary
> Art, New York; Whitney Artport/ Whitney Museum of American Art, New
> York; Thresholds Artspace, Scotland; Experimental Television Center,
> New York; and the Pandora Archive, National Library of Australia.
> Museum collections of her monotype and photographic prints, paintings
> and drawings include Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery-University of
> Nebraska, Taylor Museum/Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Kemper
> Museum of Contemporary Art.   Her work is represented by Silverman
> Gallery, San Francisco.
> She is a moderator of the Sydney based -empyre- list for digital media
> arts and culture http://subtle.net/empyre
> She is a visiting lecturer on the faculty of the Digital Arts and New
> Media MFA program, University of California-Santa Cruz.
> http://christinamcphee.net
> christina at christinamcphee.net
> naxsmash at mac.com
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