[-empyre-] Reply to Anna's questions...
willpap at gmail.com
Sat Oct 24 14:45:09 EST 2009
On Oct 21, 2009, at 11:52 AM, Lichty, Patrick wrote:
> author/producer/reader/consumer/editor/intervener/etc. has become
> such a set of flickering signifiers
I went to a panel discussion entitled "Changing Labor Value" recently,
featuring works by your sometimes collaborator Scott Kildall and
others. The panelists, Andrew Ross and Tiziana Terranova, and the
ongoing conference were connected with Trebor Scholz and his concerns.
Summarizing their presentations would be difficult here but I think
are worth mentioning. The network content or knowledge "commons",
which emerges from the reader/producer flows (Roland Barthes), is also
becoming co-opted by an adapting business model which seeks free labor
for its capital. I don't think Barthes anticipated this nor would he
be so pleased. The labor and capital in this case is of course derived
from social relations in participatory media. Each time you write an e-
mail in Google, for example, related advertisers pop up. This is a
situation developing in very recent years and I am myself a huge fan
of these media, However, I am mindful of this turn. The panelists in
the conference were extremely pessimistic about what it will mean for
the labor value, paradoxically, even for the compensation of writing.
The rise of reality television, its extensions in YouTube, are what
Andrew Ross describes as a "jackpot economy" in which the audience it
is supposedly the authors (for free) but only one or two participants
win, not to mention the producers. Foucault has more insights into
this picture (Panopticon). When asked about what the art world had to
offer, the panelists painted a similar scenario.
I don't mean to say that I agreed with every aspect of their analysis,
nor that it represents a doomsday picture of network culture, nor that
I believe it is fully representative of what we do as network artists,
but simply that is a flip-side of the developing picture that needs to
be considered. So I think we must be careful in conflating "author/
producer/reader/consumer/editor/intervener/etc." as one persona, and
that's what you perhaps meant to by "flickering"? In some significant
way it makes me think of "wrestling" with language...
Assistant Professor, Digital Art
Pace University, New York
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