[-empyre-] printed matter and hardware

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Feb 15 07:47:50 EST 2014

dear all

I'm intrigued by the discussion and what Domenico wrote earlier today, on books, downloadables, and libraries. Less interested in the buying/selling side, or dissemination, for the moment,  I do wonder whether it is true, and according to  your observations (on social behavior in your communities), that

>Most of what we read today is on a screen. Sometimes, a blog post or
a short essay published online has a stronger impact than a book or an
article on a printed magazine. But the web is fluid, permalinks decade,
retrieving content that we forgot to save, archive, tag or post to Facebook
is hard.

so my experience of reading (and receiving, say, writing, literature, art reviews, exhibition catalogues, etc) is indeed connected to a certain life or behavior, say when I am in Houston, and perhaps a conservative side opens up in some of us -- we support our local bookstores, go to readings there, meet in cafes now inside larger book chains (used to be Borders, now Barnes and Noble across the street, or Half-Price Books), I know of a number of friends who go to book clubs and discussion groups, we meet at museums or galleries, those tend to have the funkiest book stores; and one place in Houston, next to Café Brazil on Alabama Ave, called Domy, had the strangest and finest collection of urban punk and underground writing, books on graffiti, and funk objects made by local artists, as well as DVDs and music Cds and vinyls.  

So, needless to say, even if Michael's position on the "post-digital" as a merger of old and new makes sense, how does the "messy and paradoxical" situation we are in, if so, offer critical reflection on "'digital' aesthetic immaterialism" and what is the latter?  

Since it was mentioned here last week by Rita, it was at Domy  where I picked up and explored Mark Danielewski's "The Fifty Year Sword," and for me it was also an exquisite tactile experience to be able find this book and take it home to read. Then I read a conversation between Christopher O'Riley and Danielewski in the magazine "Bomb" which mentioned that Danielewski had asked the composer to create a complete score and soundscape for the novella, and in their ensuing chat they discuss writing and music ( http://bombsite.com/articles/6924); it interested me, in regard to multimedia writing and some small attempts I was involved in and that I probably mentioned here last year (The Kafka Project) -it was for various reasons a not satisfactory experience, and also I think the project has now vanished from the BBC site...... and thus, screen readers and Kafka students won't find it anymore.

While I can see the reasoning here, in many contributions (and I particularly liked Alessandro's statements on hybrid media), I also hope that some attention can flow back to the tactile and the aural
and the performance side (writers who perform their writing or explore performance writing), then raising questions about our reception modes and study modes; when some of you are speaking of new knowledge production
and transformed contexts ("...hypertext, codework, digital poetics, locative narrative, mobile media poetics, expressive activities such as text messaging that cannot exactly be rendered as “electronic literature”...[Rita]), I just wonder how those of you who might also be teaching are responding to the current state of referencing (yes, the library, archive and the repertoire)? Where I am there is increasing tendency not to encourage research that relies on Youtube and the so and so blog.  Libraries meanwhile are facing the digital, decrease subscriptions to journals, etc.  and perhaps also encourage you to publish only in certain (open access) places and not others. I am not a librarian, but would love to hear some comments on the clouds for research of the future.

Meanwhile, from Dortmund and the Ruhrpott (old mining area)  comes a message about hard wares, which I liked and share with you (I liked the picture on their facebook page). 
Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) serves as a platform for the production, presentation, education and contextualisation of contemporary and experimental media art (https://www.facebook.com/hartwaremedienkunstverein)

But looking at sparks, we had them flying the other night when Australian visitor Alexandra Murray-Leslie (Chicks on Speed) came to our MA Digital Performance Lab, along with designer Michèle Danjoux, and showed us some new apps to use for the a "High Heeled Shoe Jam", haute couture shoes that double as musical instruments along with other pop wearables. Alex calls them "Fashionable Objects"  (one also can call them fetish objects)  that double as new instruments for musical expression.....  

Sorry, it's my fetish week. 

Domenico, you are partly so right:  "I know, you don't always read what you downloaded, but
you always store it somewhere for later reading".   

Most of what I stored for later readings gets put off into external hard drives that I save for later. I have about 7 of these hard drives full of the downloadabled, and I will probably never catch up, nor do the files bear much physical attraction to me. 

with regards
Johannes Birringer

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