Paul D. Miller on Wed, 7 Nov 2001 01:53:54 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Analog to Digital Dj mixes coded language...

Hey "Trip" - okay. I'll respond to your two observations separately:

>  >> the likelyhood of multimedia platforms becoming more compact, i 
>think is less likely, due to increased specialization and access to 
>the technology. there will be more toys and bits and bites for one 
>to play with: a confusing melee of digital instrumentation that 
>could make it more difficult to switch between mediums, especially 
>by people who don't understand a device or medium beyond the "on" 

response: there's pretty much been a trend towards miniaturization for the
last several centuries, and if you think about common stuff like the fact
that your average digital watch has more computing power than the early
space program that launched people to the moon, or sent satellites into
deep space, the physical metaphor becomes a little more profound. We're
just at a cross roads. There's an old adage William Gibson used to say
"The future is already here... it's just unevenly distributed" - I look at
that kind of observation as a pretty open ended statement about how
technics culture works. But the basic premise that everyone has to know
everything about what they use doesn't ring true... c'mon... think about
how many really know how their toilet works... but most people in the
industrialized world use one... toilets are networked systems too... and
switch mediums in those all the time... (just joking, but it is
true...)... compactness and the ability to handle a wide variety of
applications and formats are what seem to be the holy grail of the
computing industry - places like Sudan or China are pretty much skipping
the old skool situation of "landlines" and going straight into cellular
culture, while we in the U.S. are overburdened not by new material (in
fact, most of the cell phones that come to the U.S. compared to Japan and
other "distributed wireless" communities are downright neolithic... the
bulk of them are still not geared to do simple things like basic e-mail,
let alone visual text greetings etc etc but yeah, there will definitely be
alot more "toys" around. If you're into using the net as a compositional
tool, check out a spot like

I keep thinking of Adorno and Marcuse's ideas on the "infantilization" of
industrial humanity, and sometimes when I'm on-line, as much as I can't
stand Adorno (his critique of "mass culture" is pretty much crap), this is
one area where I agree with him.

>don't you think part of this digital specialization and confusion 
>can be seen even in the attempted categorizations of electronic 
>music? I once talked to someone who thought "trance" referred to any 
>kind of electronic music... by no mistake of theirs: it's just that 
>clarity tends to come through attempts at organisation and 
>definition: something that digital mediums tend to dissolve and add 
>to the grey zones....


>yeah, I pretty much agree... but that seems to be the logic of urban 
>structure in general... there's a great new book by Steven Johnson 
>called "Emergence." Johnson is one of the few "cyber crit" theory 
>critics I respect at this point. His premise is that urban narrative 
>and narrative compression (how many people can fit into a specific 
>geographic space and how many signals can pass through a system) are 
>relative - this is where people like Claude Shannon and Norbert 
>Wiener (it's late and I'm tired... did I spell that right?), but 
>again, that's where stuff like "collaborative filtering" becomes a 
>norm - think about how many options there are for simple stuff like 
>printing a piece of text and take that to an exponential level... to 
>use your phrase "clarity tends to come through attempts at 
>organisation and definition: something that digital mediums tend to 
>dissolve and add to the grey zones...." - can you imagine how 
>someone like a monk from say, 16th century Ireland (one of the first 
>places to vigorously copy the Bible, and thus one of the first "copy 
>right" infringement cultures in the West....) would interpret the 
>wave form functions of say, a track drawn and created in Digital 
>Performer or Metasynth (a software program that lets you draw visual 
>images and translate them into sound) etc etc - the only thing 
>linking a human from the past to what's going on in the present is 
>that essentially our "operating" system - body and mind - haven't 
>really changed that much. What's going on now is simply different 
>interpretations of the same impulses... confusion everywhere, I 

anyway, thanks for the inquiry. Sorry about the delay in response. I
travel and that slows things down. peace,

Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid


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Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid

Subliminal Kid Inc.

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