Postgrad Wiki Test

I have set up a test postgrad wiki here. I am not sure how to set the ‘settings’ or if anyone can edit the wiki pages. Can someone go add something, please!

For examples, here is a simple entry for postgraduate students or a simple unfinished cultural studies. Plus one for me to give a very rough idea of what it could mean to have a personal page online.

Hopefully people will get the idea.

I need a volunteer to eventually help set up a mediawiki wiki. I don’t know any of the programming languages having failed computer science (ok, 1st year programming) at uni. If anyone knows MySQL and php, err, stuff and can help set up a mediawiki wiki, then can you contact me please!!! I am going to lean on some people, but the more the merrier :). I sent out an email a while ago, but apparently some epople didn’t receive it!?!?!

Also, if anyone has some connections at a web hosting company and can sought us out with some server space for the wiki files and database jazz for not much then I would be grateful.

I imagine that a second test of a proper mediawiki wiki would need to be carried out.

EDIT: I need to send invitations to people. This is fine for this test wiki, but it will not be like that for the actual wiki!!! So if you want an invite reply to this post with a proper email addy in the correct email field using the haloscan comments. Or just send me an email if you already have my email.

Car Fun

A while ago I bought some clear AU Falcon lenses and amber globes off eBay to replace my amber lenses and clear globes. Yes, it is some fickle car nerd/enthusiast stuff, but I had broken one lense so I thought why not do a little bit of fashion modifying. By ‘fashion’ I mean purely aesthetic trends, compared to say the performance oriented variable-length manifold modification I was planning to do last year but got cold feet cause of lack of space/cash/priorities.

I had waited until after my meeting today to do it. Something as a kind of reward for a good meeting, and for getting my first cycle of sending a complete chapter and getting it back after 3.5 years.

Although I am seriously considering (ie just stopping myself) for going completely crazy and upgrading my 17″ CRT moniter for something nerdilicious like a 20″+ widescreen LCD. I figure that considering I spend at least 8 hours a day in front of this thing I want something I can look at and go “That is totally cool!” Yes, a purely affective thing, nothing to do with my vision. Sort of like what pot plants are meant to do in cubicle offices. I am only considering this because for the first time in ages I have some cash, but I know that I won’t have much cash soon!

EDIT: I bought a Viewsonic 20″ widescreen LCD. And, wow, it actually is more enjoyable sitting here working for 8-10 hours a day.

Good Meeting

Had a good meeting today with my principle supervisor. We talked about my tendency to use what she described as theoretical-sledgehammers to crack walnut-examples. Maybe it is a product of a postgraduate or masculine insecurity. I am really not sure. I have certainly trained myself in a specific way when reading and taking notes to understand things by taking them to the limits of their internal consistency. So when I write I write for someone pursuing this understanding, but, of course, I am not writing my dissertation for myself!! Anyway this taking-to-the-limit-of-consistency methods requires two movements (roughly stolen in joy-ride fashion from D&G’s “What is Philosophy?”):

1) An understanding of the mechanics of the argument in question. It really is a mechanics in a way that is not disimilar to the systems or complexity theory approaches in the human sciences that attempt to model social phenomena through mathematics. This doesn’t simply mean understanding the argument, but placing an understanding of the argument that allows it to function as per the author’s intentions in what Foucault called the field of ‘epistemological positivity’ which introduces a radical discontinuity more or less on the scale of paradigms or epistemes. Therefore it is not simply a question of the functioning of the argument but the functioning of the necessary discourse-based socio-technical assemblages incorporated as axiomatic assumptions into the argument when it functions. (‘Intentions’ of course invokes a zone of indiscernibility.) So not simply what does someone argue, or even the functioning of the argument, but the necessary discursive field for the functioning of the argument to happen. Grasp it on a diagrammatic level, as an event.

2) An understanding of the flows of content that allow the argument to function and the limit to these flows. This is a tricky one to explain. An example: It is no point asking of Adorno’s work what happens on the internet, because the functioning of the argument was organised around the flows of psycho-social investment into the social dynamics of one-to-many mass-produced media as distinct from a reified artistic expression. So why use the ‘cultural industry’ argument to study today’s algorithmic databases of cultural information (cf Cunningham’s “Cultural Economy” essay)? Yet, I can see some value in Adorno’s argument, the way he talks about exchange value folding back onto the commodity, thus affecting in a programmatic way the virtuality of the commodity-consumer assemblage and event of consumption. The value depends on who is doing what folding. This is very useful for talking about one half of the circuit of affect cultivation by the post-Fordist culture industries; but then there is the other half are the feedback mechanisms of consumer choice (ie market selection) and so on, and also the drifting dynamic that this produces as it shifts within the circuit of feedback to feedback.

All these things enter into my argument as elements I borrow from different people’s work. My problem is that, to continue the example, I explicate Adorno’s conception of the culture industry, along with about a dozen other theory bits like this. By explication I mean outlining the discursive fields of epistemological positivity and hooking up the machinery of my theoretical apparatus to Adorno’s to massumi’s to D&G’s to whoever’s. This is not the same thing as belonging to a tradition or a discipline, but it is not the opposite either. I do know that one of the reasons my writing is like this is because I don’t have complete draft, so I am writing everything that is possible to say about the functioning of something, rather than only selecting only those aspects that need to be contained in my argument for the argument to function.

Street Machine 25th Anniversary Issue

Street Machine magazine has its 25th Anniversary issue on the stands. It has a six page history article. Finally I have an official historical account of the 30 year period of which I am writing about in my dissertation.

There has been absolutely no history of ‘contemporary’ modified-car culture in Australia until now. I have wondered in the past if I was going to have to construct a ‘sacrificial history’ just so I could write a ‘genealogical account’. Actually through my blog you can trace how long I have been working on this chapter, over a bloody year!!! Yeah, going through 30 years of magazines and constructing an account of the relation between magazines and the scene via enthusiast discourse is huge amount of work.

The timing of this issue is almost unbelievable. I really can’t quite get a grip on what this means for my dissertation. I don’t have to stuff around explaining why I need to construct an official historical account from over three decades of snippets and brief comments culled from magazines. Not only that but combined with a massive injection of my intuition. Everything has just been made so much easier!

When I first heard about this issue I predicted there would be no mention of the ASMF, the Street Machine Nationals or the role of Street Machining clubs in general, and secondly no mention of Paradise’s attempt to catalyse a progressive program in Street Machining by focusing on automotive performance technologies beyond the V8. A properly engaged account of the history should not overlook either.

The ‘alternative technologies’ point is largely irrelevant now because those technologies (turbos, fuel injection, sports car handling, etc) have been absorbed into the cultural formation of Street Machining, but largely in an assimilative colonising fashion. That is, the technologies have lost their transformative potential as ‘other’ technologies. The absence in this official history of the ASMF and Street Machine Nationals remains is pure ideology; arguably the ideology is built into the institutional structure and relation of the magazine to the scene.

By and large the ASMF and organisational structure of these early clubs (organised around the Fordist leisure time labour of enthusiasts and correlative sociality) has been replaced by the online forums (organised around the post-Fordist primarily informational labour of enthusiasts and correlative sociality). This doesn’t change the fact that Street Machining or Street Machine magazine would not be where it was today (or where it got to in the late 1980s) without the ASMF. Doesn’t anyone wonder why there was a downturn in Street Machine magazine sales at exactly the same period in the early to mid-1990s when the ASMF began the slow process of properly dissolving after the fatal blow of the Summernats in 1987?

Working Stiff

So I am earning a wage again, in anticipation of the mid-August cessation of my stipend (scholarship). I worked up until the day I left for Sydney in my last job, but in some respects it is weird working like this again after 3 1/2 years of PhD life. Everything is relatively simple and straightforward. There is very little agonistic to-ing and fro-ing. I do my job and then go home. It certainly helps me organise my time better. The only problem is that the current job is not enough to live off. I will have to find another job when the univeristy money finally does stop. Until then I am saving like crazy. In fact, in a relative paradox this is the first time I have had ‘savings’ in about 7 years, ie I actually have money, while I am anticipating a rough couple of weeks/months until I find some part time work somewhere.

The job I have now is pretty awesome for the hours/pay. As some of you know (as I have already seen you there!!!) it is working as part of the event staff at Gleebooks (thanks to Kirsten for the tip off about work;). It means that in the two weeks or so I have been working there I have already seen and heard some very interesting talks and discussions.

By far the biggest event so far was Carmen Lawrence’s book Fear and Politics. (How do the staff measure events? 240+ wine glasses.) I have bought the book as a present for someone (and got it signed;), so I have been reading it, and it is quite straightforward. The arguments (so far) contained in the book would be familiar to most cultstuds types who have been keeping up with Massumi’s work and other bits and pieces around the place. The book is based on some lectures Lawrence gave last year (see Gary’s post). I will post some further info when I have finished the book.