[-empyre-] A New Year's Resolution

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Sat Feb 4 02:16:25 AEDT 2017

As a partner with Renate in her tireless toil to schedule monthly
discussions on -empyre- and to keep the moderating team robust, I find
myself worried more and more about the future of online dialogical
listservs.  When -empyre- was founded by Melinda Rackham in 2002, it
created a spark and buzz just for providing an online site where
international artistic, curatorial, coding, and theoretical partners might
collaborate with each other through discourse.  If you peruse the
incredible online archive of -empyre- discussions over the years, you will
enjoy the community's robust interactions when subscribers actively
dialogued with the posts of featured ghosts.

You all have noticed, no doubt, that the response level to -empyre- posts
has diminished readically over the past 2-3 years.  A lot of this, no
doubt, is due to the vitality of other social media projects, from the
corporate one of Facebook, Twitter, etc. to robust small groups of
sharers.  But the sharing of links, aphorisms, images, and selfies seems
to have swamped the international exchange of critical thought and
discourse.  It is the exchange of discourse, the sharing of artistic and
theoretical strategies, and the accident of revelation occurring in
conceptual conversation that has motivated my work for -empyre- for over a

As part of my resolution to fight for international net neutrality, which
the Trump people are about to gut, I call for a regeneration of activist
dialogue.  This is important not just through the dissemination of new
sources via Facebook and Twitter, but also through concerted conversation
among the new media community about current challenges and potential
responses to the issues that most impact us.  What's needed is not simply
combative responses to the fascist and capitalist policies that are even
more rapidly enslaving us or depressed summaries of the sovereign hegemony
of the corporate network, but creative, provocative and even contentious
discussion among ourselves about the critial imperatives to which we might
respond in word and art.  So,

I resolve to enliven the discourse of aesthetics AND politics.

I resolve to curate and preserve artworks, projects, and critical
responses that reflect critically on the socio-cultural conditions and
politics of production, display, and disseminatio
I resolve to collaborate with critical media projects that respond to and
combat the rising discourses of fascism, racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism.

I resolve to motivate my students to break the bonds of academic decorum
in their writing and artwork as a means of unleashing unspoken passion and
fervor over the personal and political issues most crucial to them.

I resolve to insist that hate speech is not free speech.

I resolve to work to revive the enthusiasm for the -empyre- listserv as a
safe zone for critical discourse and debate over the issues most important
to digital culture.

Please join me over the next week by posting your resolutions.  Let's
strike back together.


Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
A D White House
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York 14853

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