Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lecture 4: Postmodern and Postmodernity

What is digital culture? - Recap? (nb live blogged!)

We are looking beyond the IOCT to address the idea of forming a critical framework, judgements and to theorise one's own artistic work. That way we can demonstrate an understanding of what we're doing. When you come to do your final projects this kind of critical thinking will stand you in good stead.

Languages of New Media

Paul explains that there is always an element of interactivity with digital media. It's not necessarily true that there is a huge change when one moves on to a computer but there are degrees of interactivity.

Andy: well, everything is interactive.

Paul: sometimes it isn't important is someone interacts with something, what was important was the process...doesn't need an interactive purpose.

Jess: but as artist/creator you were interacting in the process of creation.

Andrew: so when artists create interactive installations is that a meaningless phrase or is there a point being made?

Paul: thinks this is about the intention rather than the meaning behind it. With all works of art and all systems of representation the user is required to fill in gaps in system (Manovich).

Andy: thinks interactive is being used to define degrees of control that the audience has

Andrew: so an interactive installation seems to imply that the audience has more control than a *usual* installation.

Jess: so does interactivity mean (for Paul) that the user can *change* the content

Paul: yes, to change the way it is deployed and navigated.

Andrew: If I build a pool, fill it and swim in it, how is that *experience* different from swimming in another pool?

Andy: to really originate something you must be the first person to make it (i.e. the wheel). But, innovation as a pure form and then innovation with constraints.

Paul: reminds us of Pierre Mendard and the context of the work

Andrew: If you have a sock and it gets a whole and you darn it and you keep darning it then over time you replace the thread...is it still the same sock? *infinite regress*

Solipsism: if a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise? This is the problem with postmodernism, the only way anything can be said to have a meaningful is if we all share that social reality but with postmodernism there is no social reality.

Read Murphy by Samuel Beckett

"... the sane, having at their disposal all the most deadly weapons of the postwar recovery; on the other, a seedy solipsist and fourpence. ..."

Murphy 82.

Paul: with musicians, though the music might not have been written by the performer it takes on a new meaning/context

Jess: thus gains some originality

Paul on Manovich: not only creating the things you want to create but that everyone who sees your work understands what you're trying to create.

Andrew: "intuition": discuss!

Andy: something you know without being told, people talking about interface design and what's intuitive for some people is not intuitive for others

Andrew: are there levels of intuition that exist apriori? (how birds know to migrate) With regard to elephant coming out of the wall, neuroscience is the most fertile ground right now for examining these things. There may be some kind of way of understanding what people know or want in a given situation.

Andy: But, if you put enough people in a room with a button and ask them what will happen one is BOUND to think an elephant will appear.

Andrew: how do we know intuition is intuition?

Andy: so there are cultural assumptions on what is intuitive.

Back to: Le Corbusier:

"If I hold up a primary cubic form, I release in each individual the same primary sensation of the cube; but if Iplace some black geometric spots on the cube, I immediately release in a civilised man an idea of dice to play with, and a whole series of associations which would follow. A Papuan would see only an ornament."

What Le Corbusier was interested in were universal truths. There was a strong element of idealism here. And of course the consequences of this we see in Leicester with the *design* of the buildings.

But there is some interesting 60s design in Leicester:
""The Engineering Building comprises large ground-level workshops (heavy machinery), covering most of the available site, and a vertical ensemble consisting of office and laboratory towers, lecture theaters and lift and staircase shafts."

James Stirling Michael Wilford and Associates. James Stirling, Buildings and Projects. p82.

Photo, exterior overview · Engineering Building · Leicester University, Leicester, England

Andrew: So, is it possible to have pastiche that isn't hideous?

(this question stumped us for a while)

Andrew: Culturally we've been through a shift. Pastiche had been used as a valued way of people learning how to create art (music and painting). The idea was to be as close to the model as possible = good training. But, with Modernist aesthetic pastiche become loathesome and unoriginal. Replicating the trodden path. But now the keywords are innovation, creation, and originality. Emphasis on developing one's own voice.

Jess: Pastiche now is about challenging and questioning previous contexts.

Think of "The Band" and their song that incorporates a brass band segment.

Implies the user/reader has a more elevated status as they can understand this questioning/challenge.

Andrew: postmodern thought is largely affiliated with technology. The main point here seems to be "what is original, what is pastiche, what is contextualising." clearly very important for postmodern theory (think Lyotard).

Paul: Interesting point that knowledge loses its "use-value" so knowledge is tied to commercialisation. So, in web 2.0 are things that are supposed to be of use-value are actually about commerce?

"The nature of knowledge cannot survive unchanged within this context of general transformation. It can fit into the new channels, and become operational, only if learning is translated into quantities of information. We can predict that anything in the constituted body of knowledge that is not translatable in this way will be abandoned and that the direction of new research will be dictated by the possibility of its eventual results being translatable into computer language. The 'producers' and users of knowledge must now, and will have to, possess the means of translating into these languages whatever they want to invent or learn.”

Jess: but it seems that lyotard is combining two knowledges, that of creation and that of dissemination (form and content)

Paul: Going back to the idea of exchange having value but now it's the content that has value.

Andy: In open source the idea is that information has a value but not necessarily a monetary value. It has a value when shared not on it's own.

Andrew: Howard Rheingold sees the commons of information being privatised.

Jess: so commodified knowledge can live alongside knowledge for knowledge's sake.

Paul: maybe the future is downloadable music where people get the info as well as the experience

Andrew: voluntary contributions (Radiohead) is not the future. People are prepared to pay what they think is fair.

Andy: having music freely available is more like a promotional tack rather than a way of making money.

Andrew: So the live gig is the privileged commodity.

Andrew: What is postmodernism?
"plagiarism by anticipation"

Student Presentations on "Everything is Mediated"


Paul: "Everything is Mediated"

Reading for Next Week:

Barthes, S/Z,
A Barthes reader / edited, and with an introduction, by Susan Sontag
A Derrida reader : between the blinds / edited, with an introduction and notes, by Peggy Kamuf.

Myths and Memories by Gilbert Adair

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