Felix Stalder on 26 Sep 2000 00:48:38 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Water-shedding

>Perhaps because you don't need anything else to read a book, except a
>knowledge of the language it is written in. A cdrom needs a cdrom
>drive, computer and software, all of which must be compatible with the
>cdrom. It also needs electricity and the technology that produces it.
>In short its usefulness requires an *entire* infrastructure which is
>itself changing rapidly. I'll go with the book.

There is no such thing as a technology that can function in isolation.
Sometimes, we just don't see all the work that goes into making a
technology work because we have become used to relying on it blindly. A
book needs much more than just a literate reader. It needs as much a
production and a distribution infrastructure than CD-ROMs, and its
production and the condition of access are as much mirrored in the general
political economy as high tech. As any down-sized librarian can tell you,
books do disappear from the public if the infrastructure (libraries) is
not continuously maintained.

It is true that a book or scripture, once written and stored safely,
remains intact even if the rest of the infrastructure, including the
language, disappears. But how does that compare to the fact that a book
can only be in one place at a time, whereas an electronic document can be
at many places simultaneously.

This is, of course, not a question which is better, but a question of what
kind of possibilities and constraints are inherent in the infrastructure
necessary to make a technology work. I'll go with some books; and some

Best. Felix

Les faits sont faits.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net