Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta! / Where Fork, Where JumpThe following essay is more descriptive of some of the terrain I’ve been traveling through than it is prescriptive. I’m hoping that some of the ideas that I float might help to generate discussion and move toward something dynamic—on and off line.
Not a WebsiteWhen I met with the organizers (Ashok, Jonathan, Sophie and Steve) in the fall to talk about my contribution to this project, I said I wasn’t interested in building a website. Fresh off mildly disappointing projects and more than a few brainstorming sessions on mobile devices, cross-platform content creation, and e-publishing, I was sick of the hype--sick of the promise that websites, social media, iPad/iPhone apps and ebooks were the answer to our communication needs. When I said I didn’t want to build a website, only a website, I remember Sophie looking a little bemused. After all, I’d been brought in as a web dude, responsible for the project website. So I offered an alternative—"I like the idea of interlocking platforms," I said. I’d like to help build "interlocking platforms." Sounded good. It was agreed that’s what I/we’d do. Ever since, however, i’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure out what it means to create interlocking platforms. As this event got closer, I started becoming panicky. What’s a platform? How are they going to interlock? What’s any of this have to do with truth & reconciliation? What’s wrong with a website? Nothing really. A good website, like a a good map, good library, good encyclopedia, good movie channel, good photo album, good catalogue etc. is a good thing. I like websites, use them in my teaching and research all the time.
- INC: Institute of Network Cultures: http://networkcultures.org
- Bruno Latour’s site: http://www.bruno-latour.fr/
- birmingham complaints choir:
- folks like strange, entertaining stuff, almost as much as the instructive and heavy—play is better than work, or at least these unscheduled, unprogrammed interruptions seem to be more engaging the regularly scheduled, weekly broadcast.
- users are not yet / not really in control of the camera’s auto-focus or self-timer functions
- untamed tech is metaphorically connected to unruly animal subjects—both demonstrate a preoccupation with the limits of human agency, the frontiers of representation.
- amazing numbers of people are willing to do the labour, be that a little or a lot, to make sure the stuff they likes gets seen
- our mistakes are often more interested than our successes
- the web is a visual medium
- social media is responding to a vacuum—we like examples like the revolution in Egypt or resistance in Iran because they valorize the dross and help drive up the value of shares in Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.
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