Joho the Blog[ae] Ars Electronica - Speakers' meeting - Joho the Blog

[ae] Ars Electronica – Speakers’ meeting

After a loooong day on planes, I’m in the semi-small Austrian towncity of Linz. The twenty or so speakers at the Ars Electronica conference are meeting in the conerence hall. We are a mixed group, although primarily young (= younger than me): Artists, musicians, feminists, a literary professor, and more. Mainly European. More men than women, but not by all that much.

The theme of the conference is “Hybridization” which is being interpreted as “Paradox.” I’m on the first day’s panel on “Drivers and Patterns of Hybridity.” (The conference speaks a lingo I’m not at home in.) Derrick de Kerckhove of the U of Toronto McLuhan Center, is the conference moderator, and talks about moments of epiphany coming when we resolve paradoxes. Oddly, since I don’t really believe in paradoxes, my presentation is going to maintain that we are entering an age of unresolved paradox: Rather than having a comfortable idea that a thing is simply defined by where it is in a conceptual framework that reflects the real world, we now are “negotiating” the meaning of things across viewpoints and cultures in a conversation that will never end. Granted, this is not a strong paradox, but in a sense it builds the never-ending conversation into the nature of the “thing in itself.” (In other another sense, it rejecs the idea of a things in themselves.)

I’m looking forward to this because I expect to be quite uncomfortable intellectually. [Technorati tags:]

6 Responses to “[ae] Ars Electronica – Speakers’ meeting”

  1. unfortunately I can’t come to Linz, though working in Austria.but spatial nearness seems to give an extra kick to ubiquitous web conversations. so here’s the question:

    as I sympathize with your argumentation in general,in a theoretical perspective I’m not too happy with the “conversation” label. it sounds too much like “folks like you and me, down to earth, no fuzz, without all these complexities of the media world we live in”. (not you, I know, but popular in the web community.) what about concepts like “semiosis” (Eco/Peirce), foucault-ish “enonces”, Lotman’s “semiosphere”, and Wittgenstein’s good old language game?

  2. David, can you share full tect of your presentation? It sounds really interesting. :)

  3. Martin, I do mean something quite concrete by “conversation”: People talking with one another via mailing lists, blogs, boards, IM, etc. It may not be folksy, down to earth, and no fuzz, but I think it is literally conversation.

    Guiseppe: Maybe. Thanks. It’ll take me a few days in any case.

  4. right. i always tend to be too apodictic. i didn’t really mean that “conversations” were not concrete. and i do support your emphasis on conversation in contexts like PR and marketing. and in the perspective of me writing here this indeed is, well, something like a conversation, and via IM it would be even more so.
    (there is a point when “conversation” becomes more of a metaphor here, but i’m not really sure at which point.)

    but i always loved even more your “writing oneself into existence”-concept, and i do think that this points to another important dimension of doing things with signs in the context of the Web. and this dimension is too often overlooked, or bypassed, when the web is modelled as an interrelation of “people” and “technology”. what the web does is building an incredible dense and dynamic “language space” which is more an environment i’m living in than a “medium” of communication/conversation … more “semantic software” like “social software” … sorry: that was still not very clear, i know.

    probably what i really wanted to say is: i do like your “computational humanities” approach. welcome in Austria!

  5. Martin, I do agree that the term “conversation” has to be stretched pretty far to cover some stuff that I’d like to count as conversational. E.g., blogs are a limited form of conversation. The term has a political point: Don’t think of the Web as a publishing platform that substitutes pixels for ink! And it also I think it is a good “prototype” word for understanding much of what happens on the Web. Prototypes, by their nature, provide a clear instance that enable other “sort-of” phenomena to be understood.

  6. Yo… do u hav a graph?????


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