Re: [-empyre-] Lurking/confession/devils - or LCD as I like to callit! ; -)

hi  ..
yes the publicness of the public space and ownership is an issues that was
hotly debated when the "primary source material" of rhizome, contributed by
many over the years, went except for Fridays .

so who owns this list..well it sits on a server at an art school of a
university in Sydney Australia, it was started as part of my PhD as a
research space to discuss issues around dimensionality and 3d space.. then
it mutated into what it is today..

but now the PhD is finished its never  been quiet clear who " owns" it ..
the list is also archived by Cornell university in NY,  and the Australian
National Library just archived a part of the contemporary Australian culture
discussions..  one discussion was reproduced in a freeware Reader last year,
and other bits end up in peoples books, articles and theses. so its spread
through differently available spaces which i sort of like.

when i  banned someone for being abusive to the guest that month they were
threatening to sue me and the university for  preventing them from their
right to  freedom of speech in a public space .. which i though was an
interesting take. i stopped replying to their emails and they just started
abusing me on other lists where i wasn't a member.

and while on the confrontation  subject..  I've had people decline guest
spots because they had seen other people post here who they didn't want to
get involved in a debate with,  its an interesting phenomena .. .there
always seems to be a particular person who carries the flag of  list serve
bully.. ..
remember the endless anti-orp diatribes.... ..and of course if you jumped in
defence of the person when they are being savaged , you become the next
so everyone (including me) just  watches.. then emails privately about it


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mathieu O'Neil" <>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <>
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Lurking/confession/devils - or LCD as I like to
callit! ; -)


On 05/08/2004, at 2:25 AM, Charlotte Frost wrote:

> Mathieu,
> I find your use of the list very interesting as it reflects my own. As
> you
> say, you didn’t participate so as not to ‘compromise’ the material and
> I
> often do the same. It is of course the case that there are relatively
> few
> books or journals dedicated to new media and it is often impossible to
> create them given the print-lag of publishing, whereas lists of course
> can
> catch, chew over and digest subjects before half the world is even out
> of
> bed!
OK, I was being half-serious there. I mean, there's something a little
shifty about doing that. After all, in participant-observer there's
Though as a list is a public phenomenom, we are free to use it as we
please I suppose.

> You are perhaps therefore the right person to ask about your methods of
> research...and I would be interested to hear other peoples’ thoughts
> too.
> Perhaps as well as the lurkers, we could hear from more people who
> feel they
> don’t always fit the categories we are used to hearing from?
> Do you subscribe to lots of lists, and which ones do you find most
> useful
> for your research and why? Do you regularly look at the archives of
> the ones
> you don’t subscribe to, and if so, how do you find the search
> functions of
> list archives? How easy do you find it to trace a debate, given that a
> thread which a lot of people have contributed to is so littered with
> ‘>’s
> that separating each persons ideas can be a nightmare for quoting
> purposes,
> or do you think the list is a group and should be attributed as such?
> Are we
> shaping communal knowledge, and if I say something particularly
> prescient
> (which I very much doubt ;-), should it be mine or empyre’s when
> quoted in
> someone else’s work?

I don't subscribe to that many lists: fibreculture, artscom
(singapore), nettime. And empyre of course. i looked at the empyre
archives when i joined, mostly to catch up on the criticalartaware
stuff. empyre was definitely the most interesting as the shifting
topics keep it very specialized and focused. I was really struck by the
tone, as opposed to more "generalist" lists like the others I cited. I
got the impression that here was a fairly homogenous community which
has constituted itself as a field (in the sense Bourdieu uses) with
well defined rules, values, goals, orthodoxies etc. I might have had a
different impression if I had joined at a different time, I have the
impression that the liken people were very active.

In order not to get lost you need to read everything, I guess. Once
again the quick rotation of topics on empyre means you never have to go
back that far. I would cite both, ie this person said that on this
> I am genuinely interested in these questions because as I find myself
> making
> notes and quoting from lists more and more, and where it is sometimes
> easy
> to say Melinda Rackham said ‘xyz’ it is sometimes harder to know that
> she
> definitely did say it, or that she said it first, or whether it
> matters.
> Many of our everyday phrases and slogans were said first by someone
> somewhere sometime, but we don’t quote them specifically. So what we
> are
> witnessing in part might be such a vast speed up of the creation of a
> language of new media, that phrases are specifically quoted one week
> and are
> clichés the next.

Well, once again, there is the archive. I don't know, if you're dealing
with scientific research it's the norm to attribute quotes precisely.
One of the things I'm a little wary of is the idea that ICT must
necessarily revolutionarize the whole of social practice. In fact, I'm
actively opposed to that notion.

> It also might be the case that it isn’t so much we don’t have a
> language of
> new media, but that it is forming and adapting so rapidly, it isn’t
> visible....yet?!
> In a moment, I will paraphrase and add to an idea I head from Helen
> Sloan,
> but when the chinese whisper/exquisite corpse moves on, how will a
> researcher know the source? And will they always need to? What other
> models
> do we need to create/can we create to deal with this type of
> knowledge???

Sure, when you're dealing with the permanent works in progress of remix
culture, there is no ultimate source, originator. Things have to be
seized "in the middle". Well, that becomes the effective source - or at
least the attributable one (in a scientific context, once again - I'm
not arguing for IP).
>> (or whatever - please, let's skip the definition riff)
> I like the fact you have said this, because I observe so many debates
> where
> posters leap upon the ‘what to call it thing’ without looking at what
> other
> points people are making, regardless of what they have called it. Most
> of us
> on the lists, and I am not trying to be exclusive, many lists have
> archives
> where newcomers can seek out such debates, but most of us on lists
> know that
> no one knows what to call it!
> Helen Sloan from Scan said in a discussion at the Tate (I think) that
> perhaps the ‘new’ in new media relates not so much to new practice or
> tools,
> but to the archive and the discussions such work inevitably has with
> existing structures of historicisation. Terms themselves are ways of
> archiving, as they allow concepts to be passed on, referred to and
> critiqued, so I think the ‘new’ in new media symbolizes the new trend
> for
> arguing about terms and therefore never creating an archive. In which
> case,
> the list arguments which go on about the ‘what to call it thing’ are,
> perhaps deliberately, creating a body of text which looks like an
> archive,
> but to all intents and purposes, evades it yet again!?
> However that isn’t an invitation to start strumming the riff again! ;-)
Perhaps lists such as empyre (which I don't mean to knock, I love the
principles of free software) necessarily, nevertheless by the very
nature of what they're about and who contributes, exude a whiff of
"gee, we're so cutting-edge, out there making digital/network/tech/art
history..." and I guess by association this implies that  links to the
rest of social practice are severed, or loose, or in any case
irrelevant. Hence the impossibility to categorize, pigeon-hole, archive
such a fleeting, mutating transitory form. OK, but every social
phenomena reflects the society that produces it... nothing exists in a
vacuum. Let's not forget that this is all (free or proprietary, no
matter) content for the hardware manufacturers and service providers to
tout their warez.



> Charlotte
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
Mathieu O'Neil
Visiting Fellow
Centre for New Media Arts
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
T 61 2 62 60 61 24

empyre forum

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