Felix Stalder on 25 Sep 2000 21:52:00 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Water-shedding

>Perhaps because you don't need anything else to read a book, except a
>knowledge of the language it is written in. A cdrom needs a cdrom
>drive, computer and software, all of which must be compatible with the
>cdrom. It also needs electricity and the technology that produces it.
>In short its usefulness requires an *entire* infrastructure which is
>itself changing rapidly. I'll go with the book.

There is no such thing as a technology that can function in isolation.
Sometimes, we just don't see all the work that goes into making a
technology work because we have become used to relying  on it blindly. A
book needs much more than just a literate reader. It needs as much a
production and a distribution infrastructure than CD-ROMs, and its
production and the condition of access are as much mirrored in the general
political economy as high tech. As any down-sized librarian can tell you,
books do disappear from the public if the infrastructure (libraries) is not
continuously maintained.

It is true that a book or scripture, once written and stored safely,
remains intact even if the rest of the infrastructure, including the
language, disappears. But how does that compare to the fact that a book can
only be in one place at a time, whereas an electronic document can be at
many places simultaneously.

This is, of course, not a question which is better, but a question of what
kind of possibilities and constraints are inherent in the infrastructure
necessary to make a technology work. I'll go with some books; and some

Best. Felix

Les faits sont faits.

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