John Hopkins on Wed, 29 Jul 1998 18:49:13 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Net Criticism 2.0/network extension

>Maybe we need to EXTEND the market as a network, rather than resist it,
>developing ways of speaking through it.
>Ted wonders what it would be like to assume that the intellectual
>vanguard "is in fact a reactionary force trying to protect its political
>patrimony by imposing traditional interpretations and ideals."  We have
>to be brave enough to realize to what extent this may be the case.

The vanguard is (should be!) that which is not engaged in criticism alone.
The vanguard alights where action and word intersect.  I was thinking that
one measure of the efficacy of a critical point of view would be to see if
that point of view could be translated into a way of living to be taught to
a child!  As an educator, I am seeing the glaring gap between the academic
mind-set and the reality outside that students have to deal with and indeed
is their milieu.  I am not surprised when the answer to the question "what
did you learn in the last 12 years of education that you use in your life?"
is an uncomfortable silence from a roomful of young adults.  They KNOW what
they need, in many instances, the skills for humane survival, but they also
need something to live for.  They don't get it through the system that
built criticism.

Jordan's observations about the futility and hubris in the thought of
re-constructing a new way from parts of the old are quite accurate.  That
argument seems to be a repeat of those which vainly (in retrospect) dealt
with deconstructing the Master's House with the Master's Tools.   Naming
and confronting the enemy simply strengthens it (whatever it is).  Best to
turn and walk away on a new path.

I hope the critics live for more than the sound of their own and others'
words in their ears and eyes.  The network is alive.  The vanguard needs to
walk the walk at the same time as talking the talk:  the walk and the talk
must fly in synchronous orbit around a life that is engaged with those
around it both in cyber extension and in physical extension.  There are
people doing this, and have been doing this (quietly) for years as Brad
rightly points out.

To quote Saarinen and Taylor (from imagologies: media philosophy):

"1. in the praxis-dominated world of ultra-tech, the politics of critique
must take a new form.

2. the strength of theory is relative to strategies for action. action must
lead, theory must follow. in opposition to mainstream modern western
philosophy, thoeretical and conceptual reason must serve only an
instrumental role and thus give up its previously unchallenged position of
supreme value in itself.

3. critique that is restricted to the realm of the literate and remains a
literary project is no longer feasible as an effective strategy for action.
Argument and objective analysis, pure content, abstract thinking, logic,
and evidence, these forces of the word-centered world have lost their
creative potential.  Literate reason and the literary critic have become
relics of the past."

When can we shake this reliance on the weakness of abstract reason and
instead forge interactions of dynamic presence and being?


John Hopkins, Tech-no-mad artist and educator still on the road for the 4th
 -- now passing through the Center of the Universe to Boulder, Colorado for
a short time.

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