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.