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<nettime> New Media X and Its Contents
Are Flagan on Mon, 13 Oct 2003 22:58:29 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> New Media X and Its Contents



As the great philosopher Donald Rumsfeld once said (for real), "I don't
know, and it's not knowable." Succinct words of infinite wisdom, indeed.
All this education talk has brought out much of the usual reverent mix of
nostalgia and bibliomancy; basically a repeat of the underlying sentiments
of the initial post (which aphorized its largely institutional agenda into
some sort of curriculum based TAZ). To temporarily camp out on the green,
green grass of the Francophile tutelage spoken of, I do wish Foucault had
take on an exhaustive genealogy of educational institutions. He was
obviously no stranger to parricide, performed and published along with his
student accessories, and the forewords to his lectures at College de
France in 75-76 says a lot about the relations he staked out between grand
intellectuals, the public, and what can perhaps be construed as a sort of
intermediary or rather (and better, perhaps) disseminating body of
students. Lacking, in the parent, a much deeper and preferably also more
historical critique of the various economies of educational institutions,
I should, perhaps, be excused for *professing*, in _every_ public, false
and religious sense, to some colorful objections to the professor.
Christian Boltanski, as le professeur, can be seen on video sucking a pipe
akin to Magritte's while declaring in the voiceover, "There is nothing to
teach and nothing to learn." M. Wark also made this apparent crisis in a
vacuum his afterword when the, gasp, editable vector was bent with some
Bezier curves on nettime; recall the ensuing talk, forwarded via the NYT,
of politically irrelevant academic intellectuals, aghast at their
isolation and lack of an audience? All things considered, academics should
first take into consideration that it is their own institutions and their
roles within them that may be the most pressing subject for reform, not
necessarily antipathetic students unwilling to stay with the program.
Otherwise, Mr. Rumsfeld will no doubt get lavished with honorary degrees.

The "intellectual" will remain a very interesting figure, however. When
busy buzzwords like the information society and intellectual property
continue to take shape, it is somewhat strange to issue RIPs while
struggling with an embryonic definition. Can anyone really imagine IP
without branding by brain studs? In many ways, educational institutions
are well advanced in this transformation toward taking rather abstract
pieces of commodity, with decidedly unclear use/value, and charging
extortionate amounts for the tidbits. The oft-repeated complaint of
uncritically having to teach software may be a valid concern, in some
respects, but now that, for example, the tutorial packages that come with
the various commercial installs could successfully instruct a monkey,
evolutionary face to futuristic interface, it is also a curiously Luddite
visitation by the "progressive" new media education industry. Hence these
newfound efforts focus on selling indispensable arbiters of the process,
i.e help and support. The "intellectual" may thus still become, what s/he
already is, an emblem of a profitable, for some, practicality in a
non-materialist/materialist world obsessed with the troubles of dualism.

-af



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