[-empyre-] lists -

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 13:19:20 AEDT 2018

Before we become nostalgic about lists, attaching a retro aura to them, we
must see clearly what placed lists in the backwaters of the internet world.
There are technical and economical forced behind this change. The
quintessential characteristic of lists is that they create threads so that
a new post to the thread repositions the whole thread to the forefront.
This way an argument, a discussion can be sustained. Comments, posts have
duration. They can be exchanged, a dialogue, etc., can be formed. Facebook
is more like a ticker tape. Posts are sent into a continuum --an ocean of
other comments by others-- and are almost impossible to retrieve after a
short period of time. That is why the stylistic ideal in Facebook is geared
to catch the attention for a moment --the most prifolous the better.
Basically endless series of chitchat. Nothing to be picked up later. This
change of course was intentional, to maximize the number, rather than the
quality, of the hits making the platform commercially most viable.

When lists were gradually replaced by blogs --a more solipsistic medium
where posts induce very few comments, regardless of how interesting they
may be --most people that I know celebrated this development considering it
an expansion. I was one of the very few who thought otherwise. I think my
point at that point is more obvious now. There is a direct line from lists
to blogs to Facebook.


On Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 1:22 PM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> 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 https://www.theglobeandmail.co
> m/opinion/i-have-forgotten-how-toread/article37921379/ 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
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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