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Re: <nettime> Report on Facebook desk democracy
Andres Manniste on Thu, 27 Nov 2008 18:24:52 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Report on Facebook desk democracy

Thank you Ana, for your thoughtful response.

I sent this one out as a "Hail Mary Pass”, followed by a "Whoops, did I 
really press the send button?" I tend to agree that Facebook can serve 
political purposes and does have a very real use as a platform for 
dialogue about events and so on. I think that what I was addressing was 
the problem with, for example, Avatars. The devil knows Latin as well, 
and these things can be manipulated, a traditional problem with direct 
democracy. We are in the middle of a Provincial election here, and I 
received an irate email signed by many prominent artists about how there 
were massive cuts coming to the arts in secondary schools. As it turned 
out, this hoax, composed four years earlier and identified as such, was 
simply re-released verbatim. Facebook can be manipulated in the same 
manner and I am actually interested in watching groups, real or 
imaginary, appear and vaporise. I tend to think that this represents the 
true nature of Facebook and so that is why I tend to make light of the 
entire social networking phenomenon. Because I teach this stuff, I am, 
of course, subscribed to practically all of them but it was the 
interface of Facebook that intrigued me the most. Where a personal 
website or a blog aesthetically resembles the originator and one can get 
a pretty good idea of who you are dealing with, the vanilla facade of 
Facebook conceals truth. You can create whatever persona you wish and 
any unique aspects of personality disappear in the standardized blue and 
white. I can certainly find many noble uses with social networking but I 
really do think that it will ultimately extinguish itself to be replaced 
by another idea; consequently I choose to have fun with it.

I certainly think that there are creative means by which some people are 
working with social networks. The processor and the network together can 
be construed as a dynamic model of thought processes (Gabora, 2002). An 
idea that circulates on the network travels as a notion through a 
potential mind that is unique in that it encompasses the minds of 
others. Internet and network art expresses mental images, as they are 
experienced and through the processor, thinking itself can be explored 
taking shape as virtual memories and metaphors. On the network this 
circulation itself can become the work of art.  I think that with this 
bit, I was rather addressing pretentiousness and the perpetuation of 
modernist hierarchies  as opposed to truly exploring the ephemeral 
nature of social networking. The nice thing about network based art 
practices is that they need not fit institutional models.

Liane Gabora http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/liane/papers/CandC/CandC.htm


Ana Peraica wrote:

> Hi Andres,
> many of these people are just avatars : ) another thing which is 
> interesting is how it happens that the message account is blocked (it 
> happened to some people)

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