riou on Sat, 7 Jul 2001 07:10:12 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Questioning the net

dear nettimers,

just wanted to reply to mez's diagnosis of the current state of the net:

> ...its strange - & i mite b slightly addled about this - but the further we
> progress along a new media ad][d][.here.nce route, the greater ][seems][
> the creative tendency to crawl backwards in2 the canon cave whilst throwing
> tentative angular projections in2 the progressive ether...

well, I think that you've identified the ultimate net dichotomy.  On the one
hand, there are those who are trying to situate the net within established
intellectual paradigms, most notably in the fields of media theory, cultural
theory, aesthetics, and politics.  If this is what you mean by the "canon cave"
I think it's important to point out the necessity of this intellectual space to
push our understanding of this "new medium" forward.  On the other hand,  this
"progessive ether," perhaps what you would call the vital part of the web, is
the testing ground for new ideas.  I think that the two go hand in hand because
of their radically different objectives and capabilities.  I do agree with you
that academia hasn't scratched the surface of the net, but I also think that it
takes time for this to happen.  I certainly don't want net discourse to remain
within the realm of pop culture forever, because that's not very engaging.

> ...wot i'm trying to communicate is that i'm sensing a type of rigidity in
> the network....that the medium is now somewot stained by corporate gluttony
> N regular seductions back to the tangible, the known.......

Does this surprise you?  This rigidity is caused by the overwhelming commercial
presence on the net.  An inevitable progression.

> ..although i realise that most of the art/literary market/scene haven't
> even began pushing 2wards/grappling with this "new" medium, its seems 2 be
> sliding slowly out of site....with the traditional pathways of recognition,
> segmentation, labelling & individualistic absorption manifest][er][ing...we
> seem 2 be bound within capitalistic parameters....gender
> segregations....minority occlusions....

Freedom only comes into existence when exercised.  For this reason I think that
its very dangerous to ascribe a politically empowering dimension to the
Internet.  It is, ultimately, only what people make of it.  That said, we
cannot omit the influence of the world outside the net on the net, since that's
exactly what got us to the crisis point your talking about.  So there will, of
course, be a perpetuation of class divisions by virtue of the technology of the
net, just as there will be a perpetuation of capitalistic paramaters as long as
every chain store keeps employing their web designers. I wouldn't get too down
on it, though, because there are plenty of people out there who are using the
net for interesting, innovative projects.  We just have to deal with all of the
other crap, too.


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