[-empyre-] Social space, art practice, network structure

Dear empyre,

Welcoming Kathy Huffman back from ISEA; Kathy is curator at Manchester
(UK)'s Cornerhouse and was a participant with Melinda in the symposium on
networked communities and art at the ISEA conference just concluded.

Kath wrote 
>> There were some interesting points brought up at the panel during ISEA that
>> could benefit from some more discussion, and interaction here.

In the connections between neovantgarde and  contemporary art practice with
the listbased artwork, such as Jonah Brucker-Cohen's Bumplist, are there
interesting points, for example, the strategy to make an action within the
work of art that critiques the work of art itself?



 For convenience here is a quote from Jonah's recent post, from August 6.

> http://www.coin-operated.com
> On the topic of networks, I've been working on the social
> relationships between people using networks and the infrastructure in
> place surrounding this use. This includes everything from how
> networks are represented in pop culture, the language of networks,
> metaphors of interaction, proximity engagement of ad-hoc and wireless
> networks (in collaboration with Katherine Moriwaki), and
> collaborative systems with mobile phones. On the topic of email
> lists, since this is one, I've been working on a project called
> BumpList: An Email Community for the Determined
> (http://www.bumplist.net) that aims to re-examine the culture and
> rules of email list communities.
> I started BumpList because I am interested in making systems that
> directly counter themselves through their structure and use. On
> BumpList, the main constraint is that it only allows for a maximum
> amount of subscribers so that when a new person subscribes, the first
> person to subscribe is "bumped", or unsubscribed from the list. Once
> subscribed, you can only be unsubscribed if someone else subscribes
> and "bumps" you off. BumpList is meant to actively encourage people
> to participate in the list process by requiring them to subscribe
> repeatedly if they are bumped off.
> BumpList is an example of an online community that was created to
> question the fundamental structure of online communities. The project
> takes a critical role at the traditional form and use of emailing
> lists by placing emphasis on the "act of belonging" to these lists so
> that users must constantly subscribe to stay active in the community.
> This challenges the notion of how digital communities maintain
> member's involvement and how the design of these lists impact users'
> behaviors. I'm sure this is never a problem on Empyre!
> Since BumpList launched in May 2003 it has succeeded in maintaining
> involvement as users have generated over 78,000 total subscribes,
> resubscribes and bumps, 30,000 unique email messages, and millions of
> total hits. The website features a real-time "Hall of Fame" that
> ranks users activities based on total posts, bumps, and time they
> have managed to stay subscribed. Some observed behaviors from the
> project range from participants creating personalized statistics
> pages, one member creating a yahoo group for people unable to stay on
> the list, attempted hacks of the systems such as auto-subscribe bots,
> and fierce competition over belonging to the list (currently about
> 12-20 people fighting for the 6 spots). The project attempts to
> rethink the formal assumptions that define online communities and
> eventually allow for these systems to be redesigned based on
> user-defined criteria.
> So far the results of this project / experiment have been really
> interesting. The most significant part of the project is how making a
> change to one simple rule completely alters the dynamic of a
> community. My interest was in keeping the structure of the list the
> same so that no one who subscribed would have to learn a new
> interface, but make the emphasis rest on the "act of belonging"
> rather than just being on the list. This makes it more active to be a
> participant and the impetus to contribute much higher. Since we
> publish the amount of posts, no one can be a lurker either! So being
> involved in the community becomes more public and demanding - thus
> measuring the participants determination to stay involved.
> Watching BumpList evolve has been an amazing learning experience.
> What started off as an experiment has turned into a strong community
> of dedicated people. The most interesting part of the project was to
> watch how people tried to break the system and hack the interface by
> subscribing long email address names or posting their messages as
> subjects. We purposely made it open, yet exclusive and democratic so
> that people would be encouraged to rejoin after being bumped.
> Anyways -  hope this sheds some light on the underbelly of the
> project and I encourage people to comment about what is important to
> them in online communities and if or how the structure of them
> determines your involvement and interest. I definitely think it does.
> Jonah
> -- 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jonah Brucker-Cohen             |        Human Connectedness Group
> PHD Candidate            |        Media Lab Europe
> NTRG, Trinity College         |        Sugar House Lane, Bellevue
> Dublin 2, Ireland          |        Dublin 8, Ireland
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> (w) +353 1 4742853  (m) +353 (0)87 7990004
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> http://www.coin-operated.com - projects and work/blog
> http://www.undertheumbrella.net - UMBRELLA.net project
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On 8/22/04 1:57 AM, "Kathy Rae Huffman" <kahuffm@attglobal.net> wrote:

> Hello - post ISEA (for me).
> I didn't post to empyre during ISEA because, because -- to be honest, I got
> lost in the personal exchanges that were going on.  I think that the topic
> The LIST -- this is a topic based discussion list after all -- has been
> totally disregarded, and it leaves many people without a clue of how to
> participate.
> Is there no other way to conduct personal exchanges, to find out the small
> things that don't involve the topic, without using up the list?  You are
> able to see who is posting and write to them personally -- we all do that
> instead of using up list energy when there is something that we are not
> sure we understand.  Then, if it seems important, you can summarize (but
> not post the personal exchange under any circumstances) your understanding.
> This is simply my own opinion, of course, but the thread of this discussion
> has almost gone too far off the track.  Is it because we (guests) have not
> guided the discussion during ISEA?  Do the people making personal exchanges
> have no other means to talk to colleagues or friends about their other
> ideas?  Do we need to compose a list of lists, where free conversation can
> take place on any topic, and where the list has some topic guidelines?  Do
> we need to review net ettiquette once more?
> There were some interesting points brought up at the panel during ISEA that
> could benefit from some more discussion, and interaction here.  For
> example, I'd like to know more about artists projects that are LIST
> based.  It is a fascinating idea to me -- and I don't know many of them at
> the moment.  What better place to get the information and then go to them,
> and continue this discussion further. Is netbehaviour (for example) notr a
> private artistic project?
> Now, I'm taking a big chance by posting this opinion, I feel awfully like
> I'm breaking into a personal phone conversation.  AND, I'm not asking for
> brutal attacks on my uncomfortable reaction to the way the discussion is
> going, I simply find that ongoing personal exchanges get very boring to
> read and are exclusive.
> I'm interested to pick up on an important topic to us all - the social
> space of the net...LISTS.
> Thanks, Kathy
> At 11:22 16/08/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>> Dear empyreans,
>> Here is a quote from Melinda's introduction to the month on networkomania:
>>> Facilitators and writers for lists with diverse intents and formats .....
>>> examine ethical issues and
>>> strategies in networking and list management to encourage an workable ratio
>>> of signal to noise - harnessing this ubiquitous communication medium.>
>> Melinda is traveling to ISEA and will join us soon.  She is the lead
>> moderator for this month.  But for those of us not at the conference, and
>> until she can rejoin us, it is important to keep discussion on empyre
>> focussed on substantive conceptual issues while remaining civil to one
>> another.  This means that derogatory remarks regarding the character or
>> personal decisions of anyone either on this list or off, must not be allowed
>> to continue further than has occurred in this current exchange.
>> I have just logged on and read the recent suite of posts.
>> I beg all of you to please be attentive to the particular ethos of the
>> -empyrean- space, which is distinctive among lists for its attempt and
>> desire for a rather  stringent topical and rhetorical organization.
>> The issues being discussed relative to performance and political issues,
>> publishing and the nature of community are, needless to say, far from
>> trivial.  As Melinda says here, these are ethical issues.
>> It's not whether to discuss these ethical issues, rather, how.
>> -empyreans- have  been particularly successful so far in keeping personal
>> attack to nil or minimum presence.
>> Personal grievance is not part of the remit of -empyre- because its
>> moderation code tries to maintain a foundation, not in content, but in form,
>> or etiquette if you will.
>> Being human and too busy we will screw up from time to time but please bear
>> with us regarding this matter of courtesy.
>>   Because of its formality, empyre  desires to maintain a rather public and
>> neutral space; open and even inviting,  to the participation of those who
>> are not at the 'center' of new media discourse.  The intent on empyre is to
>> leave a space that is international in character and tightly focussed on
>> specific topics of international interest.
>> Critical discourse, of a kind that avoids vendettas while making incisive
>> observations, becomes substantive and useful to the broadest readership when
>> it focuses on the advancement of an impersonal or transpersonal concept.
>> Thus empyre becomes an open work (in the sense explored by Umberto Eco).
>>  -empyre- will quickly lose the interest and attention of many of its
>> readers if leadership (including me) fails to maintain the diplomacy of this
>> space.
>> Certainly the underlying issues, such as what constitutes 'publishing'
>> online and whether lists are publishing venues, are of great interest.
>> The quotation below from our opening page states this in a more negative
>> fashion, but,  in general, please be aware of these guidelines especially
>> this month.
>> Thanks everyone,
>> Christina
>>  The facilitators reserve the right to not publish
>>> posts that disregard these guidelines, or the current month's topics,
>>> disrespect the featured guests, or monopolize the forum either via
>> individuals
>>> or group, and may unsubscribe anyone consistently doing so.
>> cm
>> --
>>  soundart performance videoinstallation multimedia painting theory
>> <www.christinamcphee.net>
>> <www.naxsmash.net>
>> <www.naxsmash.net/inscapes>
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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