Forward from Christiane Paul RE: [-empyre-] modern/conceptul dialectic -> N state?

From: <>
Date: March 8, 2006 8:02:11 AM PST
To: <>
Subject: RE: [-empyre-] modern/conceptul dialectic -> N state?

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to get deeply into this but here are at least some sketchy thoughts...

Brett wrote:
I have assumed that the modern and the postmodern (and previous epochs
back to the archaic) interoperate in layers in our cultural system, but
are in our contemporary state now stimulated by information

I would agree, that's what I tried ton suggest in a previous post...

Brett wrote:
In your view, what role does IT and database play, if any, in catalyzing
the contemporary situation? Could we say that it is in some sense that a
new epoch or zeitgeist, an N-state, is emerging to supersede the pomo
that is based on material differences that IT and database have

While I do believe that networked technologies / IT / database are very important catalysts in shaping an n-state, their underlying principles have multiple reference points to past discussions.

Warren Sack has written a very interesting article on the aesthetics of information visualization in which he references Benjamin Buchloh who described this teleology of conceptual art as an "aesthetic of administration." Sack suggests that we can understand contemporary database-based (databased?) work in a similar way because metaphorically and literally, computers are an outgrowth of bureaucracy:

The "files," "directories," "folders," and "volumes" of contemporary operating systems; the "tables" and "entries" of database systems; the "rows" and "columns" and accounting procedures of spreadsheets; the common algorithms of "sorting," "queuing," and "categorization" all are reminders of the bureaucratic lineage of the computer and computer science, in general.

So one could argue that database and related issues (bureaucracy / administration) were already very much part of the discussion surrounding conceptual art. But Sack pushes this into a different realm: the aesthetics of governance, where the “body” is a “body politic,” a collective, or groups of people articulated together through diverse sets of social and technical means.

I think this particular concept of governance and body politic is essential to the age of IT and networked database. It goes beyond the aesthetics of administration in the databases of conceptual art and has taken new form in the n-state.

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