[-empyre-] lists -

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Wed Feb 14 05:22:00 AEDT 2018

Hi, just to add a couple of things here -

Michael Current and I started two lists in 1994, Cybermind (philosophy of 
cyberspace) and Fiction-of-Philosophy. Michael ran the Deleuze and other 
lists at the time as part of the Spoon list/philosophy consortium. He died 
shortly after the lists began. Cybermind was with AOL for a while and now 
is at WVU; Fiction-of-Philosophy became Wryting-l, also at WVU. Jon 
Marshal is on Cybermind and wrote Living on Cybermind, a phenomenology of 
the list, which is still the best in-depth analysis of e-lists I've seen. 
Jerry Everard, also still on, wrote Virtual States, The Internet and the 
Boundaries of the Nation-State, some of which came out of Cyb. as well. 
The list also self-published a novel and in 1996, I think, held a large 
conference in Perth which was remarkable; predating, I think, Virtual 
Futures, it used Cu-SeeMe live video, a MOO, a newsgroup, and various chat 
applications to create a live/living virtual environment stemming out of 
the physical conf. The conf. was a success; Stelarc, myself and a number 
of others made it down to Perth. The lists continue with diminished 
participation; Cybermind in particular became a relatively deep community, 
but many of the participants have died or moved on. Wryting is a vehicle 
for one or another form of avant-poetics and continues. As Fiction-of- 
Philosophy, I had a great deal of trouble moderating and it fell apart as 
a result early on, and reconstituted; Cybermind had problems with trolls 
and people determined to bring the list down. Both lists flirted with 
moderating, but we it never took, which was remarkable. Both have been 
running smoothly for decades now.

The obvious advantage of lists is targeted inbox buffering which allows 
for thoughtful response. I'm reading/writing in linux, and there are no 
detractions to the text. For some reason I keep thinking of older reading 
and reading habits (see 
for example) and the obvious fact that the world is inordinately complex, 
not a collocation of Ted talks - the advantage of lists is that here and 
now we have the space/time/place/communality for thoughtful discussion. 
That's remarkable, I think. As others have mentioned, by the way, other 
than empyre, I read and participate in Netbehaviour (and in Furtherfield 
in general for that matter); I read and almost never post with nettime - 
both of these are fantastic, open, and in depth. There are also 
specialized lists; I'm on an Anglo-Saxon one, for example, where I'm 
completely quiet but learn a great deal, etc. And I resubbed to Future 
Culture which is relatively quiet.

Because lists are considered backwater, when they do function, they do so 
beautifully, without trolling or advertising or 'hints' which accompany 
Facebook and other sm. There's something almost sutra-like about them - we 
can think on our own time/space. Btw some very early magazines had a bit 
of that quality, such as The Gentleman's Magazine and British Apollo; they 
seem, now to have been organized around communities which participated in 
coffeehouse culture of the time.

Best, Alan

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