[-empyre-] question about online writing

Maria Angel m.angel at uws.edu.au
Thu Oct 29 17:52:04 EST 2009


Hi all,

this is an interesting discussion, it raises issues that Anna G and I have
been thinking and writing about for a while in relation to the development
of a new mnemonics associated with online cultures. We have written about
this in relation to Brian Rotman’s observation that distributed computing
and the explosion of the digital image as a means for information storage
are changing not only the way that we communicate but the way that we think.
It's important to consider the manner that subjectivity is being reshaped
through new electronic forms and our interaction with them. This is what
we're already seeing in universities with undergraduate students and the
kinds of emergent literacies and illiteracies that they now display - as
Anna M notes students don't seem to be hugely invested in ‘slow’,
typographically conditioned forms of reflective reading and thinking. The
different 'shape' and nature of online texts and contexts of communication
require a different kind of interactivity to that associated with
typographic culture.

We could think about the way that the ‘becoming image’ of writing involves
the incorporation of image, sound, motion capture and gesture, as well as
the transformative element of speed - Blogging is a case in point here, as
it requires a kind of ‘fast’ thinking and writing that according to accounts
given of its practice work against reflective interiority (the blogger Chris
Bowers is quoted as saying that through years of blogging he has had the
experience of losing reflexive interiority in favour of the feeling of
belonging to a network. He writes of  losing his interior monologue and no
longer concerns himself with examining internal passions or emotions. ‘In
effect’ he writes ‘I do not exist in the same way I existed’.). Following
Rotman, it seems that the serial individual is being replaced by the
emergence of a collectivised, distributed, and pluralised intelligence.
Nigel Thrift writes about the contemporary emergence of ‘new structures of
attention’ involving a new distribution of the senses where fast thinking,
experimentation and  a reliance on non-cognitive realms such as habit,
intuition and emotional contagion are replacing more temporally cumbersome
forms such as reflective analysis.

I’m with Anna M in her call for various speeds of living in networked
cultures, because I think we still need slow reflective forms and the
histories, knowledges and mnemonics they tap into (Adam, I don’t think that
old forms are only reducible to an established publishing hierarchy,
although its is an issue). I like the project of the Networked Book because
it works and experiments with ‘slow’ thinking in ‘fast’ contexts (I like the
complexity of the papers and the innovation of being able to add comment by
paragraph - a speed which breaks up the slowness) – I’m feeling old too, but
I value rational scholarly process that takes time to construct. I think
about my own process of composition. Writing online is relatively new to me
and extremely difficult - I always have the urge to turn away from its speed
in order to go and check my sources before I say anything. It’s old
fashioned and rapidly going out of style, but a form of networking
nonetheless that works with useful systems of value and thought.

Regards to all,

Maria



On 29/10/09 10:02 AM, "Anna Munster" <a.munster at unsw.edu.au> wrote:

> Hi Adam,
> Some of your questions I think are elegantly dealt with by Anna Gibbs' post in
> suggesting that perhaps Networked as a book may not be that different from
> other books in the short term but that it might be used in different ways for
> different eductational/pedagogical purposes, for example.
> 
> For me actually this is where I am interested. I need a good online text that
> gathers together a lot of ideas both from so-called poststructuralist theory
> as well as media and networked art/culture in the one place that my students
> can/will read. (they actually do read onscreen!).
> 
> I hope to use various chapters and to ask them to contribute comments in a
> considered way. Ok, this is not some big deal and it is not going to turn the
> world around in terms of writing or participatory culture. Frankly they are
> already doing that anyway in terms of all the other stuff they do in their
> everyday lives.
> 
> But something they don't do very much of (we're talking about 18 and 19
> year-olds) is read and think for extended periods of time. I am not making an
> argument for scholarly book cultures over online participation.  I am making
> an argument for a mixture of speeds of living in media cultures. We don't need
> to constantly be participating in an immediate 'we are there' manner all the
> time where there are no differentiations (ie author/reader). I like to listen
> to an author's words, to an artist's compositions etc and not always be
> concerned about the fact that I am 'only' listening ( I am thinking and
> feeling as well by the way).  We need mixtures of both. Why? because I
> actually think if you just have instantaneous, participatory stuff happening
> all the time in which you are constantly non-differentiated you do
> neurologically affect people via the relentlessness of speed and access and I
> don't actually think it's always such a great neurological affection...maybe
> that's food for a different discussion.
> 
> I am not for 'overthrowing' the authorial model per se - I am for multiplying
> models so that authors can just sit amidst a number of possibilities. Perhaps
> I'm just getting old!
> best
> Anna
> 
> A/Prof. Anna Munster
> Director of Postgraduate Research (Acting)
> Deputy Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
> School of Art History and Art Education
> College of Fine Arts
> UNSW
> P.O. Box 259
> Paddington
> NSW 2021
> 612 9385 0741 (tel)
> 612 9385 0615(fax)
> a.munster at unsw.edu.au
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of adam hyde
> [adam at xs4all.nl]
> Sent: Wednesday, 28 October 2009 9:26 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: [-empyre-] question about online writing
> 
> i have a very basic question to the turbulence crew. I must first say,
> I'm not an academic so I would really appreciate a plain text answer and
> not have to use the postmodern dictionary to parse....
> 
> ...what part of the Networked Book project is not replicating the
> politics and top-down processes of the established publishing industry?
> I see the mechanics as (slightly) different from what most 'publishers'
> use these days. But the fact that you 'use a wiki' or a blog to create a
> collection of long from texts does not seem to me to be tackling
> anything interesting. Comment Press I like, but this is interesting an
> out-of-the box plugin for wordpress. What are you adding to this?
> 
> When it comes down to it, I think that the process inherent in your
> model is more conservative than most wikis since you have very clearly
> named authorial hierarchy such as "Lichty › Art in the Age of DataFlow".
> There still seems to be a very standard authorship model in place and
> you have not investigated how the networked environment can really break
> established modes of textual production.
> 
>> From the long view, it seems you have a mistake of not knowing if you
> are in the Cathedral or the Bazaar. Which is it?
> 
> 
> adam
> 
> 
> 
> On Wed, 2009-10-28 at 12:49 +1100, Anna Munster wrote:
>> I don't want to sound like a fascist here...but as  moderator I am supposed
>> to keep people on topic on the empyre list as it is a list devoted to
>> particular topics by the month.
>> 
>> The question has been raised about whether networks involve a sustainable
>> form of future energy. This is tangentially related to the topic at hand
>> insofar as reading/writing/making online does involve consuming energy.
>> 
>> However, I'd rather not have an explosion of comments about networks and
>> energy use etc in a topic where we are looking primarily at networked
>> writing/reading UNLESS there are salient points to be made about the relation
>> of each to the other.
>> 
>> Just a general note about the fact that I will moderate an onslaught of
>> off-topic posts IF they come!
>> 
>> cheers
>> Anna
>> 
>> A/Prof. Anna Munster
>> Director of Postgraduate Research (Acting)
>> Deputy Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
>> School of Art History and Art Education
>> College of Fine Arts
>> UNSW
>> P.O. Box 259
>> Paddington
>> NSW 2021
>> 612 9385 0741 (tel)
>> 612 9385 0615(fax)
>> a.munster at unsw.edu.au
>> ________________________________________
>> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Julian Oliver
>> [julian at julianoliver.com]
>> Sent: Wednesday, 28 October 2009 10:37 AM
>> To: soft_skinned_space
>> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] a Question
>> 
>> ..on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 10:20:19PM +0000, sdv at krokodile.co.uk wrote:
>>> I may have missed this during the past month but has anyone here
>>> actually talked about the cost of networks and whether the network forms
>>> are sustainable ?
>> 
>> If there's something I don't grokk here it's the strangely time-less,
>> willy-nilly projection of the term 'sustainable'. From when to when and what
>> to
>> what is sustainable?
>> 
>> 'Sustainability' is a concept that refers to a temporary control over
>> energetic
>> decay that favours one or more (inter)dependent organisms.
>> 
>> We live on a sphere in a void and we're breeding like rabbits. Let's talk
>> about
>> minimising inevitable harm (a 'sensible harm'?) rather than invoking the myth
>> of
>> 'sustainability' no?
>> 
>> My 2 watts,
>> 
>> Julian
>> 
>> P.S For all the hair-dryers, needles, routers, castles, deep-sea probes, Zaha
>> Hadids, Ikea bookshelves and false teeth made, it's my suspicion that the
>> Earth
>> has not grown any heavier and nor has it grown any lighter.
>> 
>> --
>> Julian Oliver
>> home: New Zealand
>> based: Berlin, Germany
>> currently: Berlin, Germany
>> about: http://julianoliver.com
>> 
>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Anna Munster wrote:
>>>> I'd now like to bring Anna Gibbs and Maria Angel into the discussion,
>>>> perhaps as 'other voices' and I've intro'd them below. They aren't
>>>> authorial contributors to Networked but hopefully they might become
>>>> contributors anyway!
>>>> 
>>>> I'm wondering if either of you might comment upon the question of reading
>>>> new media/networked writing. We've had a lot of discussion the difficulty
>>>> of reading dense theoretical writing in online environments and hence of
>>>> people participating in the Networked project. Do either of you have any
>>>> comments about the screen (broadly speaking) as a reading interface and/or
>>>> the role and place of the reader in collaborative and participatory
>>>> writing?
>>>> 
>>>> best Anna
>>>> 
>>>> BIOGRAHIES
>>>> Anna Gibbs is Associate Professor in the Writing and Society Research Group
>>>> at the University of Western Sydney. A specialist in affect theory, she
>>>> works across the fields of cultural, textual and media studies and her most
>>>> recent publications are in Cultural Studies Review, Interrogating the War
>>>> on Terror (ed Deborah Staines) and forthcoming in The Affect Reader (eds
>>>> Greg Seigworth and Melissa Gregg). A writer of experimental fiction, she
>>>> also collaborates with visual artists and has recently curated an
>>>> exhibition on Art, Writing and the Book. She is currently working on a
>>>> project about Writing in the Media Culture with Maria Angel, and together
>>>> they have published essays in Literature and Sensation (ed Anthony Uhlman
>>>> and Helen Groth) and forthcoming in Beyond the Screen (eds Joergen Schafer
>>>> and Peter Gendolla).
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Maria Angel is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication Arts at the
>>>> University of Western Sydney, Australia. Current research interests include
>>>> the transformation of literary genres in new media contexts, theories of
>>>> writing, memory, and corporeality. She has published essays in the areas of
>>>> literary aesthetics and visual rhetoric. More recently she has worked on
>>>> the convergence of theories of affect with writing and new media. Her
>>>> current collaboration with Anna Gibbs theorises the emergent field of
>>>> literary writing in digital media and they are currently completing a
>>>> manuscript At the Interface: Writing, Memory, and Motion.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> A/Prof. Anna Munster
>>>> Director of Postgraduate Research (Acting)
>>>> Deputy Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
>>>> School of Art History and Art Education
>>>> College of Fine Arts
>>>> UNSW
>>>> P.O. Box 259
>>>> Paddington
>>>> NSW 2021
>>>> 612 9385 0741 (tel)
>>>> 612 9385 0615(fax)
>>>> a.munster at unsw.edu.au
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> empyre forum
>>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> 
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Dr Maria Angel
Senior Lecturer
School of Communication Arts
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797
PENRITH SOUTH DC NSW 1797
AUSTRALIA

ph (02) 9852 5152
fax (02) 9852 5424





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