Re: [-empyre-] clarifying: a reply...

On Jun 8, 2005, at 9:36 PM, //jonCates wrote:

+ that for reasons that are fairly unclear to me there seems to be a social performance of culture clash going on wherein blogging is being positioned as fundamentally {different|separated} from participating in lists. perhaps this supposed + i think relatively ungrounded distinction started b/c of posts on this list

Hi Jon.

I don't think that the distinction between lists and blogs is at all ungrounded.

Personally I prefer lists. I open my mail client and bingo - all the conversation is in one place and sorted by the date of its arrival, and identified by its provenance.

I'm presently on several lists, most of which I lurk upon:

OxFF list
kFor list
exiles list
meanwhile list
empyre list
humanist discussion group list
CoFD list

and a few others that have much lower traffic.

Now, if each of these were a blog or a Bulletin Board or a Forum, I would have to open up my browser, load each page, look to see what's the latest statements and threads (more clicking and loading pages), determine if I want to read it (more clicking and loading pages) and maintain a "background" memory of where I am in the hierarchy of the site's logic tree.

Which, given the sheer number of posts I plow through every day, would make hitting all those blogs and forae a truly tedious time burner. I can walk to the corner to get my news, or I can turn on the radio and get it as it happens. I prefer the radio.

Frankly, I prefer lists, because I'm lazy. I like having things sent to me. Digging up a URL - heck - just REMEMBERING to go dig up a URL is a pain in the ass. A list removes that responsibility, and provides data in a replica of a familiar low context format: the letter. If I find a list less than useful or interesting, I can always unsubscribe.

Now, with the folks featured here this month, clearly a blog system makes much more sense as an avenue of expression. But I don't think one can say that making a distinction between blogging and lists is ungrounded.

Furthermore, I see the discussion on empyre as basically an extended argument (I mean that in a more classical / programmatic sense, of an argument being a series of statements put forth in which one idea follows another logically towards a conclusion, or to establish ideas or evaluate other ideas) where the conclusion or evaluation is performative: what we do on the list is what makes the list continue, and that continuance is the conclusion of the list itself as a social object. Hence the evaluation also becomes performative: a dance of fingers on the keyboard...

The format of the list as an information system, has a number of shortcomings, but at the same time, a number of advantages, some of which I outlined above, and I believe sets the list wholly apart from the blog.

I would like to see some greater sense of critical analysis in the discussion here regarding what is the artistic use of the blog vs. "other" uses (online diaries, etc.) Also, a discussion of the (un)conscious underpinnings of this art (dependence on fossil fuels, resource extraction, geography as a class "formant", integration of technology as a social object, etc.) and how these issues are expressed or repressed in the works of the artists presented.

best to all,


Note to all, especially my friends here I know off list: Both of my computers (G4 powerbook and G3 Yosemite) suffered catastrophic failures within 10 days of each other about 6 weeks ago - I lost many gigabytes of data and art work. (The main machine died - murdered by a clumsy housekeeper at a hotel - and the second was the "back up", and it died - motherboard and HD fry up - before I could set up another back up machine or disk array... I lost ALL of my completed FCP files, 2 CDs of music and an entire imaging series...) I'm in the process of acquiring a new machine, (HP P4 3.2gHz tower) and while I am completely re-assessing my relationship with computer technology, today I have to return the machine I'm writing this on (g3 beige), so my access to this list (and email and the internet in general) will be variable / minimal for a while.

So if I don't reply for a while, please understand...

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