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Re: <nettime> Your question
t byfield on Fri, 19 Sep 2003 06:18:01 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Your question

areflagan {AT} transcodex.net (Thu 09/18/03 at 04:06 PM +0200):

> Good question. But likewise, today, when pretty much every theorist and
> writer on digital culture is widely quoting the same texts, while typically
> also being motivated by quite transparent, self-serving agendas, is it in
> fact possible that "new media theory" happens everywhere else but not within
> the claustrophobic spaces of events and writings thus headlined?

is this a rhetorical question?

< http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9704/msg00011.html >

   t byfield on Sun, 6 Apr 1997 21:14:57 +0200 (MET DST) 
   <nettime> when's net.discourse not.net.discourse?

     Several months ago, I posted a series of notes to nettime
     questioning how worthwhile the very idea/phrase "net
     discourse" really is, and asking *what* it is. For example,
     like the distinction held on news.admin.net.abuse.* school
     between "abuse *on* the net" and "abuse *of* the net," is
     "net discourse" something written on the net or something
     written about the net? or both? is it critical approaches
     transplanted to the net? a culmination of certain
     theoretical traditions in one of the above-mentioned things?

             I'm tempted to think that if there *is* a "net
     discourse," it's written in machine code and operates
     (obviously) within the sphere of human activity but beyond
     our ability to "read" it directly: it consists of bots, of
     recursive structures in intramachine dialectics, of the
     formal shifts that are introduced into dialog, and so on.
     One way to read this "discourse," though, is to watch what
     happens when its structure-events break free of their
     technical basis-domain and become *specifically effective*
     beyond that domain and its logic--in what people lazily call
     "RL," Real Life. (This is what nettime is about, in many
     ways, yes?)


             We're in an awkward position at the moment: we're
     coming out of period in which systematic-theoretical
     historical and historiographical methods have prevailed for
     decades--they have trained us. But we're looking at a very
     new and unfamiliar terrain, which pushes us back in the
     direction of naive positivisms and exciting stories with
     heroes and villains. Compound these problems with the fact
     that the terrain we're looking at *consists* of *automating*
     the ideas--making them systematically effective--that, until
     now, were only as effective as the human agency that carried
     them out. Put simply, there's a big difference between
     chopping someone's head off and pushing an irrevocable
     nuclear button; more and more of our activities are
     beginning to resemble the latter, in method if not in



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