February 28, 2004

The sky over berlin..

.. is still somehow new to me. Its steady presence is accompanied by the various possibilities this city offers. One spot I liked to visit for various events since I came here is the HKW - Haus der Kulturen der Welt - House of World Cultures. The last two days they continued their conference program on Images in the context of visual cultures, which started last autumn.
Transmission Image - Images live of transmission. They transmit themselves and are transmitted - in a socio-anthropological and media technological sense. The lively presence of images owes itself to the idea of magic mediation as well as to the palpable media of transmission, that images need for entering into evidence - and starting their migration. Like nomads, images move from place to place, from the imaginary to the medial forth and back, from man to man, from one culture to another. As a result of this high transfer potential, images have been substantially contributing to cultural exchanges. In this function they were highly stimulated by the development of new electronic image transmission techniques. The more transcultural images are circulating, the more intensive are the exchanges and interrelations between different cultures, also those between image cultures.
The increasingly image-based transmission of culture, that culminates in the idea of a global visual culture, provokes reflections about the cultural codification of images. What happens if images and visual media enter into a representational system, that is, relating to its image and media culture, differently codified. The conference "Transmission Image" examines the cultural transfer potential of and through images.

Following some of the diverse speakers Irit Rogoff's 'Field Work - Work of Field' in Visual Cultures summed up the difficulty to grasp the task without limiting it into a narrow space. Her mentioning of the double positioning simultaniously to be understood as inside/outside to come from critic to critical work showed, that even the naming of it deeply embeds the subject within culture. In this regard to point out the 2001 exhibition of Enwezor Okwui 'Short Century', which establised a own african archive to work from, gave a vivid example of experience.
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February 26, 2004

A link collection.. on blogging ..

... as I am returning to my thoughts about what a blog can and should be, what kind of structure could be established to keep it structured and interesting beyond the like naturally evolving timeline of a everyday diary. Before I outline my own idea on it, some posts of fine links starting with a short history, a profound How to do .. further looking at the development and influences of blogging, a definition and up to theoretical questionings on blogshere phenomena, exploring the subject in Negotiating Claims ... and also one of my favorites Weblogs as liminal spaces. All are operating at a highly informative and interesting level, some exist as blog post, some are comments, abstracts or papers. Reading those and others got me going to initiate my own thoughts on. And I point out A.Galloway's abstract is that her idea about performativity comes very close to my own approach and equally to observations on many ongoing developments in society.

This shift forces us to examine the spaces in-between which have traditionally been glossed over as void. Historically, anthropologists have referred to the spaces in-between as liminal spaces, thresholds or transitions from one state or space to another. Accordingly, liminality has been understood to perform boundaries, as well as beginnings, becomings, and similar forms of cultural transition or mobility.

This paper applies notions of performativity and relationality to articulate weblogs as liminal spaces, or spaces of flow. In this way, weblogs may be understood as socio-technical assemblages that negotiate relations between virtuality, actuality, distance, proximity, past, present and future. In other words, weblogs create particular spaces and times in which social activity may, and does, occur. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach,
... read on here and also take a look at the comments

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February 24, 2004

grey tuesday

For the proclaimed action of today the website free the grey album is providing more information and download sites about the grey album on the announced grey tuesday ...

DJ Danger Mouse created a remix of Jay-Z's the Black Album and the Beatles White Album, and called it the Grey Album. Jay-Z's record label, Roc-A-Fella, released an a capella version of his Black Album specifically to encourage remixes like this one. But despite praise from music fans and major media outlets like Rolling Stone ("an ingenious hip-hop record that sounds oddly ahead of its time") and the Boston Globe (which called it the "most creatively captivating" album of the year), EMI has sent cease and desist letters demanding that stores destroy their copies of the album and websites remove them from their site. EMI claims copyright control of the Beatles 1968 White Album.

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February 23, 2004

.. performing rupture and other breaks in the everyday ....

Today it is time to post that quote, which I had in mind for a while now including some further links. The cited lines come along with the current announcements on the exhibition and performances of artist Joan Jonas at the Queens museum).

"... where as critic Douglas Crimp wrote of her work in 1983, "the rupture that is effected in modernist practices has subsequently been repressed, smoothed over."

My studies had included performance in her (now also at the kitchen) class and this provides still an angle, when I start thinking on performativity in general. It is amazing how it generally got infiltred into everyday life today .. more on this is following. Thus I am always interested in activities on this field, which work along some border between the everyday and concious performing.
So also right time to point to the newly added bloglink of drift table (again via PJLS), which interests me especially because of its temporary performative publishing on his blog. (as this is also something I am planing on since a while/ see sidebar). Another link comes along coin-operated about the street performance of the artist Michelle Teran concerning surveillance.
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February 22, 2004

.. and a map of some nice links:

for the original map with working links please go here: http://thething.it/netart/net_map.htm

It is a map (link at thething.it) trying to develop a more semantical structure on the basis of an older one of jodi. Still it traces back to a time where the gap evolving within 'new media' seduced a lot of artists and cultural workers to find some space in here. In replacing the elder names through wider notions it tries to map the routes of development up to today. Just have a look yourself ..
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February 20, 2004

Mapping media space

Some find I had discovered during a visit at transmediale04 arrived just today: the book MediaSpace - Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age edited by Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy(2004).
It happens rarely that I start immediatly to read and become deeply interested. After reading a few paragraphs it is too early for me to already comment on it, instead I want to let it speak for itself and post some excerpts from the introduction to draw attention towards it and to give myself something to think on.

Orientations: mapping MediaSpace

MediaSpace, then, at once defines the artefactual exsistence of media forms within social space, the links that media objects force between spaces, and the (no less real) cultural visions of communication. It is also expanding too. We can no longer ignore what Thrift and French (2002) call the 'automatic production of space' through software, a condition of spatialized governance in which media and space quite literally merge in architectural infrastructure. As they note, information relay and coding systems on which media technologies rely are increasingly incorporated into everyday places, from elevators to locks to generators, shaping the movements and behavioural options of the citizenry in social space (Thrift and French2002: 314; 317)
This dislectical sense of belonging and alienation, self and system is integral to the experience of MediaSpace. Much research on the spatial processes of media is bound up with what Anthony Giddens called 'the fundamental question of social theory - the problem of "order"'. This is the problem of expalining 'how the limitations of individual "presence" are transcended by the "stretching" of social relations across time and space.'
Media, like all social processes, are inherently stretched out in space in particular ways, and not others. A classic, if now neglected, insight into MediaSpace is Debord's Society of the Spectacle, itself inspired by the great social and spatial theorist Henri Levebre. Leaving aside Debord's analysis of consumerism, his book makes a fundamental point about the spatial properties of the media that are essential to societies of consumption:

The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as all of society, as part of society, and as instrument of unification. As a part of society, it is specifically the sector which concentrates all gazing and all consciousness. Due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is the common ground of the deceived ... and the unification it achieves is nothing but an official languages of generalized separation.
(Debord 1983, paras 2-3, emphasis in the orig.)

However we might want to inflect the details of Debord's argument four decades later, he grasped the contradiction between the (limited) spatial origins of media and the (general, indeed totalizing) claims made by, through and on behalf of media. This gap between the media rhetoric and actual spatial organization is but one example of what Lefebre called 'spatial violence' (1991: 289). Like symbolic violence in Bourdieu's work (Bourdieu 1991), spatial violence is a gap between representation and material organization that is naturalized out of everyday awareness. It is something we would rather, and generally do, forget. Yet not forgetting this spatial violence inherent to media is the first step in grasping the dynamics of MediaSpace and its territoriality (Sack 1986). Focusing on the levels of spatial structuring and restructuring that media systems produce reveals them as a historicallly particular organization of the scarce resourses to make effective representations of social life (cf. Carey 1989). Media, then, emerge as one of the most important dis-placements at work in the relatively centralized 'order' of contemporary societies.

So far here for the moment, as there is still some ambivalence, as the text excerpts seem emerging to sound like an explanation for media to be the place/space for placelessness ... despite other points. Some interesting comparison in that, I will come back to this.
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February 18, 2004

Imperial perspectives

On the way in generally thinking on the structuring architecture of this blog and updating my older projects on issues of perception ... the evolving gap seemed to be invitating to introduce another voice.

The key element is imperial perspective, that way of looking at a distant foreign reality by subordinating it to one's gaze, constructing its history from one's own point of view, seeing its people as subjects whose fate is to be decided not by them but by what distant administrators think is best for them. From such willful perspectives actual ideas develop, including the theory that imperialism is a benign and necessary thing. In one of the most perceptive comments ever made about the conceptual glue that binds empires together, the remarkable Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad wrote that "the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion and or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish believe in the idea -- something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to."
... read on this article from Edward Said in Al-Ahram coming via springerin.

The introduction of 'voices' is meant not only literally in quoting excerpts coming close to my ideas, but also on the level of themes. A further outlining of this concept will be established in the themetical index of the archive structure. Also the still unactivated links for info and texts will contain longer descriptions on the idea of structuring this blogging gap.

.. Information is not unframed knowledge but knowledge framed provisionally in unstable data structures....
... different orders of information continually interact to create new orders of information. ... Formerly distinct knowledges once grouped into discrete specializations are transformed into relatively indistinct bodies of information that move like the turbulent flow of fluids. Nostalgic for a central ordering principle, Slothrop constantly suspects the presence of "a reflex of order beyond the visible" but before he can come up with a suitable totalizing explanation the ordering of ordres flutuates and sends the narrative off in a new direction. What troubles him the most is that order seems to have become disorderly, uncontrollable, that direction no longer entails directedness, that the ordering of orders now exists without reference to an order of orders.

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Main Entry: in·ter·stice
Pronunciation: in-'t&r-st&s
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural in·ter·stic·es /-st&-"sEz, -st&-s&z/
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin interstitium, from inter- + -stit-, -stes standing (as in superstes standing over) -- more at SUPERSTITION
1 a : a space that intervenes between things; especially : one between closely spaced things b : a gap or break in something generally continuous
2 : a short space of time between events


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February 14, 2004

Extensions to the 'real' world ...

a surprising devlivery by surface mail gave me a clearer impression of the days before mentioned drawings and adds well to the article from village voice.

scan of M.Lombardi drawing form SZ magazine 16/01/2004

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February 13, 2004

.. a link ...

The angle I take up here is closely related to my thoughts on setting this blog up - on concerns of structure, pattern and content. In accordance of writing about findings and similar thoughts appearing, connectivity and the relevence of mapped relations I want connect to a blog PLSJ, which has its own points on it. I am just a frequent reader there and like its interesting developments in text and comments.

Networks aren't necessarily communities

... My position assumes several points: first, that we have in fact moved from trying to enable communities to trying to enable networks; second, that community is best understood in qualitative and processual terms; and third, that networks are most often described in quantitative and structural terms. You can, of course, take issue with any of these assumptions, but for my purposes they stand.

And really my point is very simple: just because a site can connect you to a lot of people doesn't mean that there is any value in those connections. (But neither does it mean there is no value.)

Social network analysis draws out structures and patterns, which is all well and good. But it doesn't tell us what those patterns mean to the people involved, nor does it adequately express how relationships are highly contextual (i.e. shifting) and how meaning is actively constructed. I find it interesting and important that social network analysis is favoured in disciplines like economics and psychology, but not in disciplines like anthropology and sociology - arguably the only disciplines dedicated exclusively to the study of people's social and cultural practices. There are several reasons for this, most related to paradigm shifts in social and cultural theory, away from structural explanation.

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February 11, 2004

..trying to map the area by connections, links, relationships...

'Finding' can be seen either as a paranoid or creative structure, carefully handled it tends to include both as a self-reflexive, thus attentive and critical attitude.
Accident finds happen to appear, when one focuses on an actual appeared thread and follows the line. This is closely related to my current thoughts on net and blogging structure, so it keeps me going that way. My regained interest on Mark Lombardi's maps just points into a similar direction with further leading routes. In trying to define the architectural area of blogging within the territory of the net the following article of Francis Richard >(Cabinet Magazine) makes again interesting comparisons between the virtual outlay of maps and structuring elements and on the otherside the attitude of Lombardi's art of mapping.

That I point back to the paranoid not only has to do with the almost non-visible structure of the cyberspace, but also with the habit of producing the real. This is an underlying main concept of all three terminologies I mentioned here: eventually evolving paranoid/fantastic constructions, the virtual space, and the map. Especially the last ones are definitely also relating to time and space. All three develop from very different narrative concepts and want to produce a more or less visible space.

...Like naming and counting, mapping is a method for articulating the existence of things-an operation causing chosen features to rise like newborn islands from the chaotic welter of experience, fixing them in time-space and bestowing (or foisting) upon them a significance that allows these features to be found again, to be approached from new angles while still holding them in the context of previous encounters. Maps index reality in layers.

...The map is a particular kind of story about reality....

...Nevertheless, the much-touted democratic connectivity of cyberspace is a prime example of Denis Wood's rapidly expanding society-that is, a society in which mechanisms for stratification develop apace with the logarithmic expansion of enfranchisement. We are already entering a period where ubiquitous access, nonstop e-commerce, and increasing regulation encourage nostalgia for the rough-and-ready days of geek/hacker prospectors and cyber-cowboys. New frontiers do not resolve into habitual settlement without new maps, and the despoilation brought by crowds is only lamented after a site is on the map so that crowds can find it. Whether you view new maps as helpful tools, as Sack does, or weapons of control, like Wood, or even as organs of resistance a la Lombardi, depends on your perspective as a dweller in the opening environment.


- Utterance is place enough.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As Lombardi's phrase "narrative structures" tacitly admits, the mapped conversation is a constructed fantasy, a quixotic and intentional mix-up between quantitative and qualitative analysis. Maps belong (or seem to belong) in the domain of numbers and objective physicality, while conversation is a quintessentially subjective, immaterial process. It may be that projects juxtaposing the two invite failure, since they attempt to index the ineffable. But it might be said that we try to do that all the time. Mapping conversation is more unusual, but no more absurd, than composing written descriptions of smells or taking photographs of the Grand Canyon. In a sense, the scalar audacity with which Mark Lombardi and Warren Sack seek to bring their vast fields of study into tangible proximity with individual readers exemplifies the hubris and pathos of all signifying-art,-politics, and utterance included. If representation solidifies one and dematerializes the other, what is the difference between a moment and a place?
excerpts from F.Richards: Utterance is Place Enough: Mapping Conversation

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February 10, 2004

... following up the links of lines and thoughts ....

Regarding the recent posting of the Lombardi image, which depicts the deeper structure of interlinking not necessarily as a useful tool to show the routes drawn by it, but more likely as a seducing view tracing the lines. The revealed background pattern might talk about an actual connection, but there is not that much said about its relevence ....
Tracing back to the TouchGraph Google browser - here is the example, which follows up the architectural structure behind as a two-dimensional pattern:


tracing the lines ...

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February 9, 2004

Only connect ...

Thinking along the line of blogging it pointed towards the issue of a very contemporary comparison between architectural structures and gesturing surfaces - re-evoked through the earlier published article on the artist Lombardi (villagevoive 12/2003), which interestingly enough seemed to reflect the inherent ambivalence and swarming connectivity as well within his drawings as equally in this review on the exhibition.

Lombardi's drawings lack the specificity and attention to pattern needed to be useful as true investigative tools. On the contrary, it is in their very aimlessness, their sprawling attention to surface incident, that the works' purpose unfolds. In a recent article published by Clear Cut Press (clearcutpress.com), the Office for Soft Architecture, based in Vancouver, explores the Pacific Northwest's invasive alien plant species the Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) as a figure by which to understand the attraction of surface as opposed to deep structure. "The limitless modification of the skin is different from modernization," they write. "[S]urface morphologies, as Rubus shows, include decay, blanketing and smothering, dissolution and penetration, and pendulous swagging and draping as well as proliferative growth, all in contexts of environmental disturbance and contingency rather than fantasized balance."

Only connect: a detail from one of Lombardi's creations

They go on to say, apropos of architecture itself, "Superficies, whether woven, pigmented, glazed, plastered, or carved, receive and are formed from contingent gesture. Skins express gorgeous corporeal transience. Ornament is the decoration of mortality." In Mark Lombardi's work we have just such an expression of the smothering abundance of ornamental information.

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February 6, 2004


Main Entry: 1.gap
Pronunciation: 'gap
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse, chasm, hole; akin to Old Norse gapa to gape
Date: 14th century
1 a : a break in a barrier (as a wall, hedge, or line of military defense) b : an assailable position
2 a : a mountain pass b : RAVINE
4 a : a separation in space b : an incomplete or deficient area : a gap in her knowledge:
5 : a break in continuity : HIATUS
6 : a break in the vascular cylinder of a plant where a vascular trace departs from the central cylinder
7 : lack of balance : DISPARITY
8 : a wide difference in character or attitude
9 : a problem caused by some disparity - a communication gap - credibility gap -
- gap -  py /'ga-pE/ adjective


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