[-empyre-] digital tools

Craig Saper cjsaper at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 04:53:20 AEDT 2018

This is an excellent discussion — that has jogged my memory and overlaps with many on this list (who created those memories). All of the Ctheory … didn’t know those had anything to do with something called “digital media” — same with Rhizome, — Realizing it in hindsight decades later makes me virtually jump out of my chair and exclaim, "Wait, there is a boundary between the digital and IRL? When did that happen?” 

In 1989, I got on the Well — and was loving it as a follower — and the free-floating feeling (like surfing) of not having to be “presenting” — lurking, commenting, — I heard that Timothy Leary was on there (so that was cool — maybe Ram Das too), but I cannot remember any of the text actually appearing there … More importantly, in 1989, I was mostly excited that I could for the first time find and check-out library books online from a room in our shared house and that someone would deliver the library book to my mailbox!! I dreamed that one day they could send me the entire book through the ETHER! 

Then around the same time, I remember nettime and the eToys DoS attacks and counter-attacks. Around that time, I read ‘bolo ‘bolo by the pseudonymous P.M. — about an autonomous social networked system.  All this to say that we backed into this history and the most important aspects are so mundane that we can hardly remember them — accessing libraries, for example. Online requests for delivery … and the sense of a miniature -empyre in the interstitial spaces of a smoldering crumbling ashen empire. . . . all delivered everywhere all at once. 

On February 13, 2018 at 12:20:03 PM, Ana Valdés (agora158 at gmail.com) wrote:

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Thank you Tim for your generous post and for sharing with me the love and the passion for conversation and sharing.
I remember Ctheory well and Rhizome and Netthing and the Well and many others. 
It was a kind of legendary time, when Hakim Bey wrote about TAZ (Temporary Autonome Zones), when Brenda Laurel started with the support of Paul Allen Purple Moon, computer games for girls. It was the time of computer wars with the doctress Neutopia and hackers as Saint Just and early net artists as Allan Sondheim one of the real old timers and Cornelia Frankl and Melinda and Christina and yourself and Renate and so many others seeing the digital space as a new canvas to experiment with...
As living in Sweden and teaching digital narrative and writing about the web am very happy to have seen the beginning of Spotify Skype and Minecraft, three of the most successful tools everyone uses today.

tis 13 feb. 2018 kl. 13:19 skrev Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>:
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Hi, Ana,

I’m sorry that your post got cycled into my “clutter” box and I’ve just located it.  It’s so interesting and important that you flag the significance of early listservs for their activism.  Thanks ever so much for calling attention to the history of Stumble Upon.  Your own posts have so motivated and informed me over the years.

Another parallel project from the early days of listservs and what I think of as “digital discourse” is CTHEORY (ctheory.net) overseen by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker.  Although an electronic journal, the Kroker’s project served very much as a forum for digital activism at the moment that listservs where assembling themselves.  A couple of years before Melinda founded –empyre-, I collaborated with Arthur and Marilouise to co-curate CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA (ctheorymultimedia.cornell.edu) as a means to providing a conceptual home for activist pieces of internet art, addressing focused subjects such as “Tech Flesh: The Promise and Perils of the Human Genome Project,” “Wired Ruins: Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia,” and “Netnoise.”

I remember first talking with Melinda about –empyre- when she presented it at ISEA Nagoya in 2002 and feeling empowered by how this interactive discursive network could activate and extend the kind of uni-directional projects of CTHEORY.  Some of the most satisfying months I’ve moderated on –empyre- over the years have brought together various international artists and digital activists whose posts have enlivened the community.  Your positive and affirmative posts always have worked to bring together –empyreans- to think collectively about the challenges and opportunities presented to us by digital culture.

Ricardo and Patrick already have signaled nettime and other early listservs, and it would be cool if others on the list could also post about their activist work on listservs and social media.



Timothy Murray
Director, Cornell Council for the Arts and Curator, CCA Biennial
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
http://goldsen.library.cornell.edu <http://goldsen.library.cornell.edu/>
Professor of Comparative Literature and English

B-1 West Sibley Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

On 2/11/18, 12:10 AM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of Ana Valdés" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf of agora158 at gmail.com> wrote:

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