The New Media Archive

I knocked up a first draft of my Blogtalk paper today and one of the problems I won’t be able to address is to do with the archives of blogs and email lists. What is going to happen to these archives? The recent dissolution of the Spoon’s lists brought all these questions to the front of my mind. There is so much written in these archives… A future archivist with his sidekick publisher will go through these old posts like current publisher’s go through past lectures and interviews when the primary texts of an author have been exhausted and republished like the “Best of…” albums you buy at service stations.

Probably the person to start thinking about this stuff in any concrete way will be someone in the ilk of Friedrich Kittler. Kittler’s work has been obsessed with the technological conditions of discourse and the link between the military that always seems to produce the technology and the culture produced by the discursive regimes enabled by such technology. The same thing as happened with the emergence of internet and then the WWW. The internet was originally (still is?) part of the military-industrial complex. It was developed as a decentralised communication network so if there was ever a nuclear attack there would be something that survived to launch a counter attack. Now I am hopefully due to give a paper discussing something that has emerged as a socio-technical offshoot. Does it feel like I am talking about a technology of war? Not really. Does it feel like I am using a technology of war to write this? Hmm, nup. Does it feel like you are reading this text provided to your screen via a technology of war?

But what cultural forms have been made possible by this technological archive? Definitely the concept of ‘network’ would have little truck today if it had not been the need for a US nuclear counter attack. The concept of the network that theorists like Negri and Hardt deploy in Multitude would not be possible if it were not for the cool, calculating abstraction of the utter fear and hatred of the Cold War.

Anyway, I have been reading the old Spoon’s D&G list archives. Anyone who wants to get a grip on D&G there is sooo much stuff in there. Fuck… I can’t believe it sometimes! I found this quote in a post by Greg Seigworth (whole post is worth reading!) and I think it may relate to a post about writing by Christian on his blog. It is from Maurice Blanchot’s Awaiting Oblivion (p11):

“He started hearing to the side of what she was saying, and as if behind it, but in an expanse without depth, with no top or bottom, yet which was materially locatable, another utterance with which hers had almost nothing in common.”

I feel like I sometimes pursue this too much in my own work. Try to locate, disect it, follow it up, play with it and so on. It means I am not doing what I should be doing, which is my thesis. It makes me realise how bloody lucky I am to have the freedom of thought to pursue my thoughts to the point where I feel as if I think from from the side. I have an antidote to that now, though. No more free thoughts for Glen. They are all going to cost me, because, if I want to complete within little over a year, then I need to reign in my thinking and focus it. Over the weekend I drew up a final chapter outline and plan of attack for submission. I know what I have to write, how much I have left to write and pretty much how I am going to write it. So now it is time to get it done and time to get to work.

Experiencing the Experience Society and Experience and Society and…

I have finally managed to track down an English translation copy of Gerhard Schulze’s The Experience Society. On my way I found this article on gaming in the computer age that may be of little interest to people as it is far too simple… Anyway, originally published in 1992, apparently Schulze’s book is a classic in the German cultural studies traditions. It is a precursor to the woeful effort by a couple of rampaging capitalists hell bent on world domination, or at least domination of the ‘coffee experience’. For some bloody reason amazon.co.uk have put it up as available. I don’t know why, it was not available the last time I checked with the normal amazon.co.uk shop and the second hand sellers earlier this month. Amazon.com still don’t have it as available (but they have the German version available). From what I understand most of Schulze’s book will be worthless to me, except for the argument that today’s ‘experience society’ is based on a cavalcade of events. Yee haa! My little friend the ‘event’ is back with a fuckin vengeance in its 23rd sequel.

Speaking of amazon.com, I finally got stooged for their mistake about multi-volume set of books edited by Gary Genosko (I could not find it on the US amazon site anymore;). They had it for sale in paperback for $55.01, which was obviously a mistake, because, for example, the UK amazon sells the hardcover for £475.00. They sent me an email telling em they couldn’t fulfill the order. Oh well. If anyone wanted to be my sugarsomething (sugardonkey is ok with me) and seduce me then all they would have to do is buy this book set. I would whore myself for Deleuze. I’ll bring the vaseline and the Miles Davis CDs.

Hmm, some other interesting books appear to be newly out or soon to be released. Ian Buchanan has this one. Which is co-edited or written with someone called Gregg Lambert, but the way it is written on amazon.com it is Gregg, Lambert (like two separate people) and I was going to send the dashing MC Gregg a nasty email asking her WTF hadn’t she told me about this book she had written with her old honour’s supervisor… but it is not her and it is funny. Then there is also this book by Todd May. May wrote a killer essay for the Peter Hallward edited collection on Badiou so after I have recovered my bank balance somewhat I shall be making a few more purchases.

Also, relating to past rants on my blog, I now have a new definition of success.

The middle-class whinger is a close cousin of the aspirational voter in whose hands, the pundits tell us, government lies. These voters aspire to wealthy lifestyles characterised by access to private education for their children, private health care, flash cars, home theatres and whatever else marks them out as having “made it”. Such voters are open to political bribery.

But for downshifters the “hip-pocket nerve” has been cauterised. Comprising at least a quarter of the adult population, they might be called “anti-aspirational voters”. Perhaps a similar number may be considered to be closet anti-aspirational voters, those who agree with the basic values and life priorities of downshifters but lack the resolve or, in some cases, the wherewithal, to make the transition to downshifting.

The numbers of Australians taking the downshifting path appear to be growing. Many are baby boomers who have done well financially, but just as many are in their late 20s and 30s. Younger downshifters are somewhat more likely to articulate post-materialist values, those that explicitly reject consumerism in favour of simpler and more sustainable lifestyles. Many have taken advantage of the flexibility permitted by the deregulated labour market. They can more easily change jobs, work independently, reduce their hours and negotiate more time off. Rejecting the consumerist definition of success takes courage, and the absence of everyday role models makes it all the more difficult.

I wonder if it would be possible to somehow mobilise all of these people? (I also love the ‘government lies’ pun, lol!)

Deleuzean Poetics

The drusy awakens our interest in beauty by signaling that a process of self-organizing self-differentiation has occured. It is not the drusiness that is beautiful, but the autonomy that it expresses.

Hotness for your spirit.

The autonomy expressed by a drusy is beautiful. Instead of lucky, we should all be so drusy.

Sometimes Massumi’s work reads like he’s a total freak, but sometimes his work captures something equally alien that makes me smile as I read it.

 

Going through the archives

I have been doing some old fashioned research over the last couple of days, reading the NSW State Library’s collection of Australian Van Wheels and Street Machine. It is for my thesis and my Panel Van paper for the conference down in Canberra. There is some classic stuff in the old mags. How things have changed… I shall write more after I have written up my paper which shouldn’t take too long as it is all falling into place.