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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  November 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING November 2012

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Subject:

Re: November Theme: Curating on and through web-based platforms

From:

Pauline van Mourik Broekman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Pauline van Mourik Broekman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 22 Nov 2012 15:33:32 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Dear all,

Thanks so much, Charlie and others, for commenting on the Moot. I sadly
couldn't stay as long as I'd have liked as I had a family issue, but it
*was* uncanny how the event echoed but then also somehow didn't seem to
manage to carry forward the atmosphere and inclusiveness of the early 90s
- which I have fond memories of too.

I am sure the organisers (including Bronac?) deliberately chose the Moot
name and format for many of the same reasons that events like the
Limehouse Town Hall 'DMZ' did, or indeed NTK/Mute's 'Extreme Computing' in
2002. (London's Readme! launch, organised by Matt Fuller, whose title just
totally escapes me right now, inspired those as well, I seem to remember…)
Gathering together the different tribes, niches and sub-genres that find a
home under 'digital', 'network' or 'computer' culture has always been an
important way to escape the cultural, disciplinary and methodological
divisions that abound; and, while hackfests have always known how to use
such moots to share knowledge and make better code, now of course it might
be cast as a useful means to make that elusive sacred cow of 'innovation'
more likely to 'emerge'.

I had to watch the morning's discussion on the UStream and was also struck
by comments from Katrina - who's made helpful interventions here too. But
I was disappointed that an attempt from the audience to problematise
certain vocabularies wasn't better taken up. Many of these are being
naturalised at a rate that is truly frightening (around 'disruption' and
'resilience' in particular) and aren't being recognised for the political
phenomena that they are. (See, for example, Mark Neocleous track the
function of terms like 'anxiety' and 'resilience' for the dominant order;
he discusses how effectively these are introduced to instil docility and a
sense in people that their inability to cope is an individual problem, and
one that can be rectified by a change in them, not the outside world!
@http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/anxious-resilience). I was
just slightly perplexed, given the enormous experience of so many
involved, that such premises weren't a greater part of the starting
position, when we now, unlike in the early 90s, don't have the excuse of
nothing being quite visible yet (and so abstract speculation being
something of a necessary and productive liberty, as it was then).

John Naughton, whose keynote I also missed, has recently been remarking
that educational establishments can't conceive of the "hell they are
walking into". As well as all the opportunities, do they recognise the
sustained and profound threat presented by new models of 'digital
transformation'. I'd agree that riding the wave, or the tiger, or whatever
exciting naturalistic metaphor might be to hand this week, will not be
possible when governments and all the large funding agencies intensify the
move of capital from pedagogy (particularly face to face and group based
critical pedagogy) to the 'MOOC' model of large-scale, global education
currently in ascendance. In many contexts, it seems obvious to me, this
will help rather than hinder the current programme of austerity; and it
will move 'education' out of the university, however hard academics insist
that what they're doing within it is unique and valuable. The advance
notice served to Arts & Humanities has been truly sobering in this regard.

In spite of this, I was really encouraged learning about the background of
the Advisory group that Bronac mentions, as they did not seem
techno-determinist in the slightest, and appeared to have a real
understanding of the broader social forces at play in past history, let
alone the present transformation. Likewise, I find the nature - and
tentative description - of areas of likely interest/import that have been
listed on the Digital Transformations Themes reassuring. I've listed them
below, and, while they're alive to the human-technological 'apparatus', I
reckon it's important to remark they seem about as far from the
affirmative discourses of post-humanism, human enhancement and cyborg
subjectivity (that prevailed in the 90s) as you are likely to get. Things
like:

	•	how we communicate and use knowledge in the context of the ‘infinite
archive’, including changes in forms of knowledge and how we conduct
research, modes of reproduction and dissemination
	•	the human implications of the expanded archive, including memory,
perception, truth, ethics,  and the use of language
	•	changes in publishing, notions of authorship, intellectual property,
the rights and responsibilities of the individual and the state
	•	the democratisation of scholarship and the globalisation of the
knowledge economy
	•	transformations of disciplines and inter-disciplinarity
	•	international or ‘at distance’ collaborative working
	•	questions of access and availability, and new forms of expression, in
the creative and performing arts

The only thing that I find strange about all of these development and
analytical frameworks is that there appears to be a working assumption
that 'digital' can be made to support the institutional formations that
presently exist. Reading between the lines, while there is a sense that
disciplines, departments, projects will 'open up' to the people, increase
access and enable some sort of measured porosity, there is no sense of
anything more troubling or, indeed, 'disruptive' to worry about or respond
to. To my mind, there's somehow no sense or reflection of the turbulence
and social emergencies in, for want of a better word, 'the outside world',
and, to use another phrase from the dominant lexicon, that seems a real
'deficit'.

Pauline.


On Wed, November 21, 2012 11:40 pm, Simon Biggs wrote:
> Charlie, everyone
>
> It's interesting to read about the Moot, which I also attended. The first
> thing I'd like to point out is that most of the presenters at the Moot
> were not associated with the AHRC or the advisory group. My understanding
> is that a wide range of people were invited to present, from as many of
> the sectors as possible that the AHRC works with. It's a broad remit the
> Council addresses (the creative arts are just one element) and although
> there are no doubt some universals across disciplines it is the case that
> each has its own take on the issues and how the digital can be
> transformative. They all have to be accommodated and reflected upon and we
> can learn a lot from each other as we do this.
>
> Charlie led a great panel at the Moot and challenged some of the premises
> of the event. It was what was hoped for. Whilst I agree that it was
> difficult to discern clear lines of travel at the Moot (much less define
> in what sense the digital can be transformative), likely due to the many
> views articulated, I am confident the conversations being had at the AHRC,
> and within the advisory group, are engaging the profound end of the
> spectrum when it comes to how the digital can be transformative. Do not
> expect to see projects being supported that do more of the same - big data
> digitisation projects, social media mining for qualitative research and
> digital conservation projects are unlikely to be funded. The AHRC is
> looking for the researchers and practitioners who are looking to how new
> technologies can be transformative. I'm thinking about the theme in terms
> of human evolution and specifically how we evolve as a homo-technical
> apparatus. We are our technologies and they are us, from language to
> computers. Radical changes in one element in a system will lead to change
> across that system. Change of this ilk is profound and work that engages
> this is likely to be supported. If that is a bit like the 90's (of which I
> generally have find memories) then I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
>
> best
>
> Simon
>
>
> On 21 Nov 2012, at 19:31, Gere, Charlie wrote:
>
>> Hi all
>>
>> Just to add a few more thoughts on the Moot, which I also attended. My
>> major problem with what is a well intended move on the part of the AHRC
>> - to fund work on digital transformations - was that, on the evidence of
>> the Moot at least, there is little real engagement with actual
>> transformations brought about by these new technologies. Part of the
>> problem was the relentless focus on kit, as if the issues of how digital
>> technologies are changing our lives could be reduced to what academics
>> could do with snazzy hardware and software. There was little sense that
>> these technologies are potentially transforming the arts and humanities
>> out of all recognition or that the real transformations are not taking
>> place at the level of equipment but rather at the structural level.
>>
>> Katrina on the other hand expressed it beautifully in her contribution
>> to the panel I chaired, when she described the changes in the very
>> ontology of the image brought about by digital social networks, as well
>> as in our reception of such images. I thought that her contribution and
>> those of other panelists on the panel took the debate to a different
>> level, as did some other contributors at other times in the day. But the
>> general tone of the event mostly militated against this kind of
>> thinking.
>>
>> WIth all due respect to the organisers to some extent it felt like the
>> kind of event that happened in the early 1990s, when excitement over the
>> technological possibilities of the digital was the main focus. But
>> rather than carp perhaps this might offer us opportunities, virtually or
>> otherwise, to debate what a genuinely critical approach to digital
>> transformations might look like, and how the AHRC might fund that.
>> Otherwise my major fear is that the limited number of funding
>> opportunities offered will go to instrumental projects involving the
>> application of data mining, visualization etc... rather than the, in my
>> view more needed, focus on the transformative effects of these media on
>> culture and society
>>
>> Charlie
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org
>> [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Sarah Cook
>> [[log in to unmask]]
>> Sent: 21 November 2012 18:23
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Fwd: November Theme: Curating on and
>> through web-based platforms
>>
>> This message from Katrina was meant to go to the list... so I am
>> forwarding now...
>>
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>
>> From: "Sluis, Katrina Patricia"
>> <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>> Date: 21 November 2012 08:34:07 GMT
>> To: Sarah Cook
>> <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>> Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] November Theme: Curating on and
>> through web-based platforms
>>
>> Hi all
>>
>> Just to add briefly to Sarah's comments, I think one of the issues with
>> the way the AHRC 'moot' was framed is that there was an absence of
>> self-reflexivity about how 'digital transformations' apply to
>> epistemologies, ontologies and practices within disciplines and not just
>> 'wider culture'. Although there was a great buzz about new 'methods'
>> (especially as it potentially gives humanities scholars the ability to
>> do quantitative research and embrace positivism) and disseminating
>> 'research in progress ' it felt at times that 'method' filled in for
>> critical thinking about the politics of software and related tools.
>>
>> Secondly, for those CRUMBsters in London, you may be interested in an
>> upcoming panel on 4th Dec at The Photographers' Gallery: "All your cat
>> memes are belong to us" where speakers will explore key questions around
>> the image economy of the web, from LOLcats to Flickr, 4Chan to twitter,
>> as well as issues arising from the curation of online photographic
>> practices within the gallery/museum.
>>
>> The panel includes Dr Lop Lop, who established the popular Flickr group
>> Somebody else's cat, Dr Alexandra Moschovi, Lecturer in photographic
>> theory and history, University of Sunderland, Dr Olga Goriunova,
>> Assistant Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies,
>> Warwick University.
>> http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/all-your-cat-memes-belong-to-us
>>
>> Looking forward to the rest of the discussion.
>> Katrina
>>
>>
>> University of Sunderland - Shortlisted for the Times Higher University
>> of the Year 2012
>>
>
>
> Simon Biggs
> [log in to unmask] http://www.littlepig.org.uk/ @SimonBiggsUK skype:
> simonbiggsuk
>
> [log in to unmask] Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/
> http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/
> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php
>


-- 
Pauline van Mourik Broekman
Director
Mute Publishing
46 Lexington Street
London, W1F 0LP

W: http://www.metamute.org
W: http://www.openmute.org
E: [log in to unmask]

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

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