June 27, 2004

.... lucky in the sky without diamonds ...

... just for airwalkers
the situation might
become more difficult ...


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June 26, 2004

Electronic Hypertexts Are Dynamic Images.

.. defines K.N.Hayles insisting on media specific analysis. If so the interpretation of electronic images can be related here too - emphazising on the common base of informational inscription which equalizes the transmission process of images and text on the level of code ... nothing new, but still worth to reflect on the implications the necessary 'translation'/reading-encoding processes evoke ....

Electronic Hypertexts Are Dynamic Images.In the computer the signifier exists not as a durably inscribed flat mark but as a screenic image produced by layers of code precisely correlated through correspondence rules.
Electronic Hypertexts Include Both Analogue Resemblance and Digital Coding. The digital computer is not,strictly speaking, entirely digital. At the most basic level of the computer are electronic polarities, which are related to the bit stream through the analogue correspondence of morphological resemblance. Higher levels of code use digital correspondence,for example in the rules that correlate the compiler language with a programming language like C++ or Lisp. Analogue resemblance typically reappears at the top level of the screenic image, for example in the desktop icon of a trash barrel.
Electronic Hypertexts Are Generated Through Fragmentation and Recombination.
As a result of the frothy digital middle of the computer's structure, fragmentation and recombination are intrinsic to the medium.
Electronic Hypertexts Have Depth and Operate in Three Dimensions.
Digital coding and analogue resemblance each have specific advantages. Analogue resemblance allows information to be translated between two differently embodied material instantiations as when a sound wave is translated into the motion of a vibrating diaphragm of a microphone. Whenever two material entities interact, analogue resemblance is likely to come into play because it allows one form of continuously varying information to be translated into a similarly shaped informational pattern in another medium. Once this translation has taken place, digital coding is used to transform the continuity of morphological form into numbers (or other discrete codes). Intrinsic to this process is the transformation of a continuous shape into a series of code markers. In contrast to the continuity of analogue pattern, the discreteness of code enables the rapid manipulation and transmission of information.
... more
.. some similarities can also be found in the earlier published text Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifier
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June 24, 2004

"Border Talk," Hybridity, and Performativity

In 2002 an article of Susan Stanford Friedman with this concise - keyword providing - title was first published in eurozine, as a contribution of its partner zine Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais. Regarding my recent attempts to define some lines of thoughts (acknowlegding various approaches within different fields and ... the lurking simplification of such an trial) it brings up some of the main keywords in its specific and concrete definitions. Thus the following quotes stand for itself to highlight some of the aspects of already mentioned issues like hybridity, performativity, identity, fluidity, ... inbetweeness.

Instead, I want to turn the spotlight onto the limbo twilight of "inbetweeness" - beyond mosaics and melting pots - by setting in creative conjunction three current rhetorics of identity pervasively a feature of cultural studies across the disciplines. They are what I loosely call "border talk," "hybridity talk," and "performativity talk." The spread of all three reflects the accelerating processes of globalization and the intensification of migratory identities in what Arjun Appadurai has called the "global ethnoscape" of postmodernity.

The act of speech itself is a performance with effects, that brings something into existence. The theatrical model, represented well by Peggy Phelan and Richard Schechner, colleagues at New York University's Department of Performance Studies, regards performance in the light of spectacle, as in a staged event like a ritual, a play, a film, a dance or a sports event, with performers who are more or less distinct from an audience. This approach regards performance as a symbolic form of cultural/artistic expressivity in which a gap opens up between the performer and what or who is being represented. As a representation, performance is a re-presentation. "Performances," Schechner writes, "are make-believe, in play, for fun. Or, as Victor Turner said, in the subjunctive mood, the famous 'as if.'" (Schechner, Performance Theory xiv). Or, Phelan , in a more Derridean vein in Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993), speaks of performance in terms of presence/absence. "Performance," she writes, "implicates the real through the presence of living bodies," but these living bodies are forever cut off from what they represent; "the performative is important to Derrida precisely because it displays language's independence from the referent outside of itself" (pp.148-49). Moreover, the performance exists only in present time; it cannot be repeated or copied, since every performance is in itself a unique event. Performance, for Phelan , is "representation without reproduction" (pp.146-66).
.. more
(... and current delays in publishing due to outages of new - wireless - tech inventions I have been dependent on during the last 2 month....producing sometimes a gap ....)
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June 21, 2004

Aspects of hybridity

Coming across those descriptions in Empire (Antonio Negri / Michael Hardt) which add to my thoughts on hybridity .. eventhough the term still roots as well - or may be better it logically has to be endured as situated within a field where ambigous considerations meet ...
This social fact is the basis on which a subversive political project can be conducted to destroy the binary structure of power and identity. In summary form, then, Bhabha's logic of liberation runs like this: Power, or forces of social oppression, function by imposing binary structures and totalizing logics on social subjectivities, repressing their difference. These oppressive structures, however, are never total, and differences are always in some way expressed (through mimicry, ambivalence, hybridization, fractured identities, and so forth). The postcolonial political project, then, is to affirm the multiplicity of differences so as to subvert the power of the ruling binary structures.
The utopia Bhabha points toward after the binary and totalizing structures of power have been fractured and displaced is not an isolated and fragmentary existence but a new form of community, a community of the "unhomely," a new internationalism, a gathering of people in the diaspora. The affirmation of difference and hybridity is itself, according to Bhabha, an affirmation of community: "To live in the unhomely world, to find its ambivalences and ambiguities enacted in the house of fiction, or its sundering and splitting performed in the work of art, is also to affirm a profound desire for social solidarity."<8> The seeds of the alternative community, he believes, arise out of close attention to the locality of culture, its hybridity, and its resistance to the binary structuring of social hierarchies.
The only form of domination Bhabha recognizes, in other words, is that of modern sovereignty. This is why, for example, he can say "hierarchical or binary" as if the two terms were interchangeable: from his perspective hierarchy as such is necessarily grounded in binary divisions, so that the mere fact of hybridity has the power to destroy hierarchy tout court. Hybridity itself is a realized politics of difference, setting differences to play across boundaries. This is where the postcolonial and the postmodern most powerfully meet: in the united attack on the dialectics of modern sovereignty and the proposition of liberation as a politics of difference.

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June 18, 2004

distortion effects - known difficulties with maps

Harpold (1999) argues that maps of the Internet similarly contain considerable, conscious and unconscious, bias and distortion:

I propose that these depictions of network activity are embedded in unacknowledged and pernicious metageographies - sign systems that organize geographical knowledge into visual schemes that seem straightforward ..., but which depend on historically and politically inflected misrepresentation of underlying material conditions. (Harpold 1999).

Maps of the Internet are systems of power-knowledge. As such, we should be careful to look beyond the data generated to question, in a broad sense, for whom a particular map was made, by what organization, why it was produced, and what the implications of its message are. Two of the most serious distortions are the use of dominant Western, particularly Ameri-centric, world views to frame the data presented and the inherent propagation of ecological fallacies that are present in the most commonly used map designs.
... from here
Eventhough there are attempts to create different views the crucial point is that the perceptual field is always intertwined with social codings of the viewer. Thus there is also an inherent distortion if handed over to machines - remote devices to see or sense territory. The necessary work of de-coding then becomes replaced through a re-coding on the level of informational data.
The following description of cyberspace defines it as an purely imagined space ..

Examining cyberspace on the basis of first principles requires us to understand what cyberspace is and how it supports human activity and aspirations. If we characterize cyberspace as the spatial reference used in electronic media, we are still left with defining space itself. What we experience as space is actually the product of complex mental processes. The dimensionalized environment of thought and experience, is a powerful tool for thought. It presents a relational array of sensation and thought in a matrix of our own making.
As a result space, as an artifact of cognition, only contains products of mental processes. Even concrete objects undergo cultural and linguistic manipulations as we place them in our field of awareness. All objects of our attention are imbued with meaning, whether through deliberate signals of our culture, or the inferred construction of our mental image. ...from here
.. which I think logical and again, as Harpold expressed their deep social and cultural embedment has to be taken into account too. Especially the way those imaginaries of spaces and their maps transport unconcious perspectives through their predefined technical sources .. as it is the case with so called cyberspace.
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June 16, 2004

tracing dialectic's processual nature

P.Grosswiler attempts in his book Method is the message to bring seemingly unrelated fields together, which one would not consider at first view as too deeply connected - McLuhan and Marxism, ... In constructing a multilayered view he unravels the similarites of the approaches and finds the processual character of dialectics as a driving force also in McLuhan's approach.

Lowe's description of the epistemic order is adapted from the discourse theory of postmodernist Michel Foucault and proposes that unconcious rules that change as a whole from period to period shape discourse.* There is no universal discourse or continous knowledge. Each culture's epistemic order differs. Oral-chirographic culture was ordered by epistemic rules of 'analogy', based on an absolute God, faith, analogy and metaphor. The switch to typography brought an epistemic order of similitude in which man was the measure in universe. Later in the typographic era, similitude was replaced by representation-in-space, as science discovered empirical space. Bourgeois society from the late 1700s to 1905 was based on development-in-time, adapting the former epistemic system to include new experiences of time. In the twentieth century, electronic culture has undermined the belief in reason. Space and time are functions rather than absolute framework. Lowe suggested that the new electronic order is founded on a synchronic system that has destroyed the framework of objective space and time as well as the ideal of individualism.
Lowe qualified his theory, asserting that perceptual fields interpenetrate with the dominant field exerting hegemony over the others. In effect the field of perception is determined by society as a totality, and thus the media, the hierachy of sensing and the epistemic order are also determined by the society as a whole. The concept that dialectical determinism takes place within some total perceptual field is much more complex than the linear positivist cause and effect associated with bourgeois scientific method, a methodology that Lowe, and McLuhan, call linear thinking.*
..quotes within the text refer to Donald Lowe, History of Bourgeios Perception
With examples like Lowe's approach to read bourgeois perceptions of space and time through a rapprochement between Marxism and phenomenology in the cited paragraphs Grosswiler's sythesizing method unfolds interesting inherent points of actuality and flexibility within the choosen subjects.
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June 13, 2004

space voices .. or expressions in room tone

Finally I recalled one of my favorite quotes ...

After the end of an interview, professional sound technicians usually record a few minutes of silence. They call it "the room tone". It is used as reference for editing purposes, but it is qualified by a unique identity....read
Derrick de Kerckhove relates it here also to city sounds ..

There is a room-tone to cities, which could be seen to behave like the brain containing, channeling and supporting all the human connecting, gathering, communicating that is happening there...from here
The following find of a nice, short, and incisive definition comes from sound terminology - no further need for explanation ...

room tone: Another term for ambience. Also called presence. (here)
Rarely I find websites connected to sound that come along unobtrusively .. thus it remains 'silent' here (... leaving you with your computer's sounds and noises, as well as with the tone of the room your in - a slight impression of being located somewhere else and not embedded into the data script of this page) ...

A possibility to listen to room tones and space voices via online broadcast from Latavia will start in August. Background information and the announcment of the affiliated conference ACOUSTIC SPACE: RT32 / ORCHESTRATING THE SOLAR SYSTEM can be found here ..

RT16, VIRAC, Latvia

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June 10, 2004

Becoming mobile

In her recent article Anne Galloway delivers an interesting and compressed view on inbetween spaces. She focuses on places mainly attached to the definition of transitional areas, both in terms of space and time - which simultaneously inherent concepts of differentiation, as well as linking options. Thus, as she empasizes, they form a tool necessary for the ability to endure ambiguity and allow multiplicity. Hybrid forms in this sense can be interpreted as states of becoming, .. defining new rules, playing along unseen lines, inherenting a script not known yet ....

In-between spaces, such as the beach between the ocean and the land, are interesting examples of ambiguity and multiplicity. Anthropologists have long studied cultural rituals that create and shape these and other liminal spaces. Liminal spaces are thresholds or transitions from one state to another, such as the space between no longer being a girl and not yet being a woman. From competitive games to narrative performances, rites of passage often involve play as a means to create these new relations, to flow between ambiguity and certainty, multiplicity and singularity. Anthropologist Marc Augé writes about similar non-spaces, such as airports, in which we are neither at home nor at our destinations. In these ways, liminal or non-spaces are becomings and similar forms of transition, as well as hybrids, where relations between people and objects are in flux. Cultural theorists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari describe related processes in their accounts of de-territorialization or becoming - which occurs along lines of flight that cut across states of being.

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June 8, 2004

Mind the gap - a warning...

Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, (following, it seems to me, the best in the work of G.H. Mead and Symbolic Interactionism) warn us to 'mind the gap'. The gap is of course that which forms the 'gulf' between the 'I' (pure ego) of the new-born and its significant other. The new-born must desire to transcend the gap (interact) in order to become social. Nor is this gulf/gap transcended 'rationally', as it were, for as Mead and others have explained much of this desire to be 'social' on the part of the new-born is accomplished through 'body-work'. This gap remains with us all, identity is always lack. A lack of a resolution of this gap.
... read here
Regarding the gap as in general necessarily self-reproductive and identity not (versus the definition here) as a fixed state, but as processes (see also comment) depending on relations - can't the gap be read as poductive ....
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June 6, 2004

dream interpretation

The final chapter 'Ten Year of Dreams about Art' of L.U. Marks book 'Touch' offers as a resume of one of her last dream analysis the following:

At the end of the decade, everybody was saying we had moved decisively from a visual culture to an information culture. What, then, would become the role of the audiovisual media that artists had been coddling and pummeling throughout the decade, indeed the century? Now that we had machines to hear, and act for us, raw experience was a more precious commodity than ever before. The processing of information and the debased notion of interactivity were behaviorist, Secondness-based modes, which in any case our computers could do without us. Throughout the decade, experimental film and video artists had been pulling their media from the Secondness-based modes of narrative and critique to a Firstness that was felt only in the body, and a hypersymbolic Thirdness that was experienced as First by the proxy bodies of our machines. We hoped that new connections, new mental images, some Third thing as yet unimagined, would come to animate our minds again.
In her interpretation she leaves an open end and refers finaly to an imagination of a fluid form of database for narratives, which isn't realized yet.
Stated changes initiated through the conversion of visual material into digitized information have had influence as well onto the production and the depiction of visualizations. Despite this a general definition yet is hard to find to define it clearly - especially if unrelated to the effects on psychic and social influences which technologies inherent. In her book she offers an interesting approach versus tactile perception - which beneath her main reference to Deleuze (and Riegl) also called up McLuhan's remark on audile-tactile perception versus a pure visual one.
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June 5, 2004

motion / movement

This animation involves a repeating cycle of four different frames (hence "four-stroke").
The motorcycle moves forward and then backward again (the scenery moves backward and then forward again), but the backward step is accompanied by a reversal in contrast: ...
.. read more explanation on Four-Stroke Apparent Motion and here further for Reverse Phi Motion creating: Illusory continuous motion from oscillating positive-negative patterns.
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June 4, 2004

the moment one starts to look .. it stares back ..

... this is not necessarily a negative paranoid setting - it can be creative as well (see Koolhaas and others). Also I found the following text (Anne Galloway) which tries to get a broader approach for the notion of 'invisibility' as mentioned usually in combiantion with new technologies by following definitly a non-linear thread ...

Despite the appearance of novelty, ubiquitous computing draws on a long and complex history of relations between materials and ideas, industry and business, government and law, individuals and groups, to name but a few. All of these processes have been mobilized - and will continue to be mobilized - to shape Ubicomp as we know it. To separate ubiquitous computing from these contexts is to deny that it is always already embedded in practices of everyday life. It is precisely this blurring of boundaries, this hybridization, that challenges traditional practices of autonomy and social control, and makes responsibility and accountability increasingly difficult to locate. Just as context shapes Ubicomp, so too ubiquitous computing shapes contexts of interaction. Recalling Latour, I believe we are not politically ready to engage Ubicomp as long as we continue to assume that ubiquitous computing merely comprises new tools, neutral in and of themselves, and independent of broader networks of relation.
I still like to think about the increasing hybridization expressed in developments of technology as a link or hint towards a general process. And despite the positive and mulitiple possibilities inherented the current actual imaginations are seemingly not ready to conceive the meaning of hybridization on a social level. Within this process thus the facets of control are yet going to be emphazised and thus have to be critizied as well.
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June 3, 2004

different degrees of invisibility

.. are going to be added. Beneath questioning social structures defined by degrees of visible representations also thoughts about cultural and educational differences in how to deal with background / foreground perception might be worth to be thought about again. It might force a general shift about the notion of 'visibility' as a defining fact and rise new myths. Eventualy some parts of the interest in location awareness is already attempting to fill that new vacuum of definition.
Instances of being in more than one space at one time eventhough located in one place can be observed regulary with anybody being on a cellphone - apparently well to be noticed when an other encounter simultaneously takes place. Whilst some are trying to find a playful approach on social implications of this (via PLSJ) others see it yet without any ambivalence ...

And Finally, as here, invisibility is an experienced relationship between humans and their tools whether they are physical or conceptual. Within this relationship there is no inherent value judgment-the tool may be a creative instrument, or it may be a weapon.(pdf)
.. like there would not be any other impact than just the fact of the usage for the purpose one has decided on.

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June 2, 2004

social imagination - trying to see the bigger picture

some supplements for a comparison between Castoriades' S(ocial)I(maginary) ..

Castoriadis's most original and enduring contribution, however, is as the philosopher of the social imagination. The true opposition is not "the individual versus society," mediated by "intersubjectivity," but psyche and society as mutually irreducible poles, for the original psychical monad cannot by itself produce social signification. In creating "social imaginary significations" that cannot be deduced from rational or real elements or forces, each society institutes itself--though usually without knowing that it is doing so and in most cases preventing itself, by heteronomous means, from recognizing its own self-institution. Castoriadis's concept of the "radical social instituting imaginary"--with its enduring difference, and mutual inherence, between "instituting society" and "instituted society"--breaks with both functionalism and structuralism while providing the key to understanding an original form of being, "the social-historical," a self-instituting and self-altering unity that is irreducible to the physical, the biological, or the psychical.
... and Pierce's triadic approach of introducing firstness etc....

While semiosis involves a network of relationships without which it just would not make sense, in both senses of the term - it would not be able to generate meaning, and it would be alien to Peircean relational semiotics - Castoriadis' SI relies on a pollemical or dualistic model.
.. to follow up already here mentioned thoughts which also guided the terminology in the yesterday mentioned article of B. Holmes

conceived as an endless journey from the hardened preconceptions of experience to the reasonable realm of verisimilitude through the fragile ('airy nothingness') realm of dreams.
... form here

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June 1, 2004

Stuff of dreams then mingles with the challenge of reality ..

In his interesting text on mapping, as the most common form of visualization of data, Brian Holmes distinguishes the need for location i.e. orientation as a helpful tool to extand our perception. In his comparison between psychophysical (cognitive individual oriented)as ...

a purely functional nervous system staring into its cartographic mirror. Whereas recent history, since the massification of access to the Internet, tends to show that the aesthetics of cognitive mapping only becomes effective, only opens up a public inquiry about the ways the globalization process can be conceived and embodied by its subjects, when it actually transits through the "great global multinational and decentered communicational network" in which we are individually and collectively caught - both as moving targets and as potential actors
.. and semiotic (towards a reading of communicative knowledge exchange) oriented approach translating the carthographer's world into a symbolic code or language ....

At issue here is the classic problem of semiotic theory: an awareness of the gap between the way that an emitter's perception of reality is encoded according to specific rules, leaving the result to be decoded by a receiver. (5) This gap points to the possibility of a critical debate over the both the language and the specific content of maps, which clearly help to shape the worlds they represent. Yet there is something else here too, something considerably more ambiguous: at the top of the diagram, within the larger circle of reality as such, we find not a gap, but an area of partial overlap between the map-maker's reality and that of the map user.
.. to invent finally the social imaginary as a shared zone of mental images, which creates the possibility to transform collective representations.

And the communicational diagram of map-making shows this possibility as well, to the extent that the maker and the user's subjective realities only partially overlap, allowing for disjunction and difference to enter the circuit. The emergence through dissensus of new images, of new maps within the communications loop, corresponds to the radical or "instituting" aspect of the social imaginary, its creative capacity, its power to transform collective representations or "mental maps" - and ultimately, to redesign the real.
.. more
see also: The map is not the territory:
(..Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum ..)

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