[-empyre-] ..a new kind of something else..

Helen Thorington newradio at turbulence.org
Sat Oct 3 05:08:56 EST 2009


If Networked works as we hoped it would, then my answer is yes:   
Networked can be looked on as a new kind of “text_book”.  Or perhaps a  
new kind of something else – as the word “book” and the word “text”  
carry with them a long history of being unresponsive to the reader.   
Ask a text a question.

What networked proposes is a conversation in writing, which means it  
requires the author’s presence and his/her willingness to communicate  
with the reader, which means to be understandable to the reader; and  
the reader’s willingness to question and suggest alternative  
readings.  A give and take.

Walter Ong coined the words “secondary orality” for radio and  
television.  I think the words are useable here. Networked -- based in  
writing -- hopes for an interchange of thought that will create an  
environment that is not the same as speech but in some ways like it.

  There are an enormous number of difficulties to be overcome.  
Networked as is, embodies at least one of them: the chapters are long  
and fixed. It’s hard to imagine, given the limited time we all have,  
sitting down to answer one. Add to that the fact that they are  
“learned” and
for the most part  seem written for colleagues, and not for the large  
number of creative people using the network who may or may not have a  
background in  new media. The point is not to give up on the depth of  
understanding academics have as a result of their devotion to their  
subject matter, but to find ways to make this thinking available so  
that a real give-and-take in which critical thinking is furthered can  
take place.  I’m hoping we will learn something about how through  

   -- Helen

>  ... I wanted to pick up on a couple of things in your post:
>  You said:
> <But, as Mizuko Ito says in her excellent introduction to “Networked  
> Publics”, the problem, for those of us struggling to understand the  
> transformations taking place, is that they -- the transformations --  
> are impossible to understand at the time they take place.>
>  and then:
>  < the need for “other” histories. The ones familiar to us were  
> written yesterday....Today there are more media theorists; they  
> understand more; we need their perspectives; we need new histories,  
> multiple interpretations. And we need them – not a year from now  
> when today’s views might appear in hard cover already well worn, but  
> online, where every interested person can see and respond to them  
> today.>
>  This is very interesting because it suggests that networked  
> scholarly or perhaps theoretical writing about contemporary media  
> and media arts has the potential to perform a transformative role in  
> media history *canons*. You also referred later in your post to  
> Stein's idea about the shifting role of the 'prof' from traditional  
> transmitter of knowledge to a facilitator - almost like a networked  
> platform itself, which disperses, aggregates, queries and  
> distributes ideas.
>  In keeping with some of those ideas, would you think of a project  
> like Networked as a new kind of *text_book*, one which doesn't  
> distill, summarise and codify the cannon but rather one aimed at  
> generating a critical thinking with (rather than about) networks?
>  best
> Anna


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