At Melania, every time you enter the square, you find yourself caught in a dialogue: the braggart soldier and the parasite coming from a door meet the young wastrel and the prostitute; or else the miserly father from his threshold utters his final warnings to the amorous daughter and is interrupted by the foolish servant who is taking a note to the procuress. You return to Melania after years and you find the same dialogue still going on; in the meanwhile the parasite has died, and so have the procuress and the miserly father; but the braggart soldier, the amorous daughter, the foolish servant have taken their places, being replaced in their turn by the hypocrite, the confidante, the astrologer.
Melania’s population renews itself: the participants in the dialogues die one by one and meanwhile those who will take their places are born, some in one role, some in another. When one changes role or abandons the square forever or makes his first entrance into it, there is a series of changes, until all the roles have been reassigned; but meanwhile the angry old man goes on replying to the witty maidservant, the usurer never ceases following the disinherited youth, the nurse consoles the stepdaughter, even if none of them keeps the same eyes and voice he had in the previous scene. At times it may happen that a sole person will simultaneously take on two or more roles—tyrant, benefactor, messenger—or one role may be doubled, multiplied, assigned to a hundred, a thousand inhabitants of Melania: three thousand for the hypocrite, thirty thousand for the sponger, a hundred thousand king’s sons fallen in low estate and awaiting recognition.
As time passes the roles, too, are no longer exactly the same as before; certainly the action they carry forward through intrigues and surprises leads towards some final denouement, which it continues to approach even when the plot seems to thicken more and more and the obstacles increase. If you look into the square in successive moments, you hear how from act to act the dialogue changes, even if the lives of Melania’s inhabitants are too short for them to realize it.
he Reading Room is a project based in private spaces in Berlin, with the aim to maintain, archive and represent products of contemporary art practices evolving within printed and published formats. The project presents a curated selection of over 50 artist’s publications (books, zines, magazines and newspapers) and related projects (such as fold-out posters or published audio projects), from a range of internationally based artists, both established and emerging.
In addition to the traditionally known artist-made books, artist monographs or exhibition catalogues, the published format itself is now regularly viewed as a primary site for an artist’s engagement. While often considered as secondary to the more prevalent presentation space of the gallery, the act of publishing has developed itself into a self-contained and highly resonant method of artistic expression. The Reading Room focuses on the publication utilised as medium and context for art practices, in which the artists choose deliberately and critically to engage with the format, using its materiality, edges and frame as tools for both visual and semantic communication.
The Reading Room project is based on well-known institutional “reading rooms” (such as the one of the British Museum in London), and functions as such: it is open for public viewing, but with those wishing to use it being required to make an appointment, and in return being granted solitary time to explore the collection. The Reading Room also takes its initial presentation format from the idea of the “salon”, gathering its printed matters and materials under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host. The visitors and readers of The Reading Room ring the bell of a private apartment, climb up the stairs to it, and then are able to sit in a separate study room within an otherwise domestic space, engaging themselves with the many publications and projects of the collection. Refreshments will be served.
«Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event. The history of the word experience aligns it closely with the concept of experiment.»
«In mathematics, a ratio is a relationship between two numbers of the same kind (e.g., objects, persons, students, spoonfuls, units of whatever identical dimension), usually expressed as "a to b” or a:b, sometimes expressed arithmetically as a dimensionless quotient of the two which explicitly indicates how many times the first number contains the second (not necessarily an integer). In layman’s terms a ratio represents, simply, for every amount of one thing, how much there is of another thing. For example, suppose I have 10 pairs of socks for every pair of shoes then the ratio of shoes:socks would be 1:10 and the ratio of socks:shoes would be 10:1.»
Friday, April 20, 2012 and Saturday, April 21, 2012
Storefront for Art and Architecture
ARCHIZINES LIVE: Symposium on Publishing Practices
6 Manifesto Series on: MEDIUM / SPEED / HISTORY / CRISIS / DESIRE
In conjunction with the exhibition Archizines, Storefront hosts a 2-day symposium on publishing practices as part of its Manifesto Series. Throughout its exhibition tour, Archizines has provided platforms for architectural research and debate, and demonstrated the residual love of the printed word and paper page – providing an antidote to digital publishing. Made by architects, artists and students, the publications included in the exhibition add an important, and often radical, addition to architectural discourse that will be furthered explored through the Manifesto Series.
«In thermodynamics, entropy is commonly associated with the amount of order, disorder, and/or chaos in a thermodynamic system. This stems from Rudolf Clausius’ 1862 assertion that any thermodynamic processes always “admits to being reduced to the alteration in some way or another of the arrangement of the constituent parts of the working body" and that internal work associated with these alterations is quantified energetically by a measure of "entropy" change, according to the following differential expression.»
by Charlotte Cheetham, published by OMMU / year — 2011
«With the publication published by OMMU, the purpose was to compose a compendium of paintings that inspired this exhibition: from Kunstkammers to Cabinet of Curiosities representations, and finishing with the vanities paintings.
To give form to this compendium, to design the trace of this documentation, Charlotte Cheetham worked with Pierre Vanni who make the publication a graphic curiosity itself.»
«Quipus (or khipus), sometimes called talking knots, were recording devices historically used in the region of Andean South America. A quipu usually consisted of colored, spun, and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. It could also be made of cotton cords. The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. Quipus might have just a few or up to 2,000 cords.
Most information on quipus is numeric, and these numbers can be read. Each cluster of knots is a digit, and there are three main types of knots: simple overhand knots; “long knots”, consisting of an overhand knot with one or more additional turns; and figure-of-eight knots. In the Aschers’ system, a fourth type of knot—figure-of-eight knot with an extra twist—is referred to as “EE”. A number is represented as a sequence of knot clusters in base 10.
Powers of ten are shown by position along the string, and this position is aligned between successive strands.
Digits in positions for 10 and higher powers are represented by clusters of simple knots (e.g., 40 is four simple knots in a row in the “tens” position).
Digits in the “ones” position are represented by long knots (e.g., 4 is a knot with four turns). Because of the way the knots are tied, the digit 1 cannot be shown this way and is represented in this position by a figure-of-eight knot.
Zero is represented by the absence of a knot in the appropriate position.
Because the ones digit is shown in a distinctive way, it is clear where a number ends. One strand on a quipu can therefore contain several numbers.
For example, if 4s represents four simple knots, 3L represents a long knot with three turns, E represents a figure-of-eight knot and X represents a space:
The number 731 would be represented by 7s, 3s, E.
The number 804 would be represented by 8s, X, 4L.
The number 107 followed by the number 51 would be represented by 1s, X, 7L, 5s, E.» [more info]
«The term heteroglossia describes the coexistence of distinct varieties within a single “linguistic code”. In Greek hetero = different + glōssa = tongue, language. In this way the term translates the Russian разноречие [raznorechie] (literally “different-speech-ness”), which was introduced by the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin in his 1934 paper Слово в романе [Slovo v romane], published in English as “Discourse in the Novel.”
Bakhtin argues that the power of the novel originates in the coexistence of, and conflict between, different types of speech: the speech of characters, the speech of narrators, and even the speech of the author. He defines heteroglossia as “another’s speech in another’s language, serving to express authorial intentions but in a refracted way.” Bakhtin identifies the direct narrative of the author, rather than dialogue between characters, as the primary location of this conflict.» [more info]
«Actually, it’s just Escher’s four-block wood engraving print Möbius Band I, circa 1961, which gives the appearance of being both a double and a triple ouroboros/Möbius strip combo: Two loops, two strips; three creatures, three twists.» [more info]
«Squaring the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge. More abstractly and more precisely, it may be taken to ask whether specified axioms of Euclidean geometry concerning the existence of lines and circles entail the existence of such a square.
In 1882, the task was proven to be impossible, as a consequence of the Lindemann–Weierstrass theorem which proves that pi (π) is a transcendental, rather than an algebraic irrational number; that is, it is not the root of any polynomial with rational coefficients. It had been known for some decades before then that if pi were transcendental then the construction would be impossible, but that pi is transcendental was not proven until 1882. Approximate squaring to any given non-perfect accuracy, in contrast, is possible in a finite number of steps, since there are rational numbers arbitrarily close to pi.
The expression “squaring the circle” is sometimes used as a metaphor for doing something logically or intuitively impossible.
The term quadrature of the circle is sometimes used synonymously, or may refer to approximate or numerical methods for finding the area of a circle.» [more info]
«Most of what is unusual about man can be summed up in one word: ‘CULTURE’. I use the word not in a snobbish sense, but as a scientist uses it. Cultural transmission is analogous to genetic transmission in that, although basically conservative, it can give rise to a form of evolution.»
[DAWKINS, Richard, “Memes: the new replicators”, in The Selfish gene, Oxford University Press, New York, 1989, p.189-201]
«There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. (…) Indeed, the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play. There are no SPATIAL or numerical boundaries to an infinite game. No world is marked with the barriers of infinite play (…) Since each play of an infinite game eliminates boundaries, it opens to players a new horizon of TIME.»
[CARSE, James P., Finite and Infinite Games, in Dot Dot Dot no.20, New York, 2010, p.86]
«An almanac (also spelled almanack and almanach) is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, and tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar etc. Astronomical data and various statistics are also found in almanacs, such as the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon, eclipses, hours of full tide, stated festivals of churches, terms of courts, lists of all types, timelines, and more.» [more info]
«The WHOLE EARTH CATALOG was published regularly from 1968 to 1972, but only intermittently thereafter. During its four years of regular publication, the Catalog earned a reputation, a following, and a National Book Award, the only time a catalog has been so honored.»
«Taxonomy (from Greek: τάξις taxis ”arrangement” and Greek: νομία nomia ”method”) is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification.The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as “biological taxonomy”, revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa (singular taxon). A resulting taxonomy is a particular classification (“the taxonomy of …”), arranged in a hierarchical structure or classification scheme.»
«Uma das minhas primeiras lembranças matemáticas, para além da adição, subtracção e divisão, foi a descoberta dos conjunto. Vou recordar para sempre o momento em que a professora desenhou no quadro preto grandes círculos coloridos nos quais dispôs frutos, animais, cores e uma variedade de elementos que a priori não tinham nada a ver entre si. Havia neste vasto gesto englobante um extraordinário saber: o poder de cercar animais, palavras, coisas e pensamentos selvagens que,antes de serem domesticados, se escondem e galopam furiosamente dentro de universos inacessíveis e solitários. O fascinante não era tanto agrupar, mas, sobretudo na intersecção, juntar. Eu podia graças a ela [à intersecção] juntar o injuntável. Um poder até então inimaginável permitir-me-ia doravante encontrar parentescos nas coisas mais dissemelhantes e criar ‘matematicamente’ quimeras.»
[Denisse, Mattia; Câmara de Descompressão in Experiments and Observations on different kinds of AIR; DGArtes; 2009; xxv]
«Alex: I have reflected many times upon our rigid search. It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us, on the inside, looking out. Like you say, inside out.»
[line from Everything is Illuminated, Liev Schreiber, 2005]
" Os recursos digitais estão libertando os livros das restrições físicas e liberando o acesso de todos à edição e à publicação, além de expandirem o conceito de autoria. Os papéis da cadeia do livro - do escritor ao leitor, passando por agentes, editores, livrarias e canais de divulgação - serão redesenhados.
Autor 2.0 é um fórum para compreender as novas possibilidades do digital e seu impacto criativo e económico sobre o fundamento da cadeia do livro: os escritores. Ao explorar essas possibilidades visualizaremos novos caminhos para a escrita e novas formas de editar e ler.”
The Serving Library Company, Inc is a non-profit organisation established to manifest and model a culture of publishing rooted in the fields of art and design. It enacts this commitment forwards, as a publishing engine, and backwards, as an archiving mechanism, making the circular relationship between the two activities explicit.
In the spirit of the first public circulating library, founded in 1731, The Serving Library is a practical response to changing circumstances.
It is a set of conditions to address the urgency of contemporary publishing proactively by
a) providing a frame through which the evolving physical and social mechanics of publishing can be considered and affected outside the expectations fostered by the habitual trajectory of commercial publishing and distribution;
b) reclaiming the library – whether online or physically sited – as a space for public use, where resources are pooled to generate and maintain a network of shared information that serves the interests of a committed community;
and c) channelling time and energy into defining, developing and making available a vital core of knowledge around a broad definition of design as a cultural activity that produces rather than simply promotes.
The Serving Library is intended to render such diverse projects more coherent by collecting them under a new umbrella institution with a deliberate set of aims and intentions. Its form will continue to expand and change through the participation of an ever-growing circle of collaborators. Its mission is its motto, HOSPITIUM AD INFINITUM – the principle of Infinite Hospitality.
The Serving Library will develop and maintain an extensive online website (1) at www.servinglibrary.org as a public archive of Portable Document Format (PDF) texts (2) contributed by a rotating group of invited editors, to be published bi-annually.
At the end of each six-month curriculum period (3), the digital documents distributed from www.servinglibrary.org will be collected, printed and distributed as Bulletins of The Serving Library (4).
Alongside the digital library, the physical library space of The Serving Library will contain and cultivate two main collections: of books (5) that map the far-reaching but still particular interests of the constellation of writers and other contributors that have appeared in Dot Dot Dot since 2000, plus the limited but focused backlist of book titles offered at the Dexter Sinister bookshop over the past five years, covering a wide gamut of contemporary publishing; and of objects (6) derived from illustrations in Dot Dot Dot, which Dexter Sinister have been accumulating since 2004. Conceived as a parallel operation to the printed journals, irregular exhibitions of these objects perpetuate an interest in physical artefacts as material carriers of culture – of experience over convenience.
The Serving Library will host a design residency programme (7)
The Serving Library intends to research, develop, and organise a speculative pedagogical programme (8) for free use in the public domain, based on a reconsideration of the Bauhaus Foundation Course, as conceived through the standard toolbox of contemporary design software.
(9) The Serving Library will offer intermittent workshop courses during the year, lasting anything from two weeks to two months, depending on the precise nature of the curriculum, and will stage exhibitions, events and other public programmes.
«Daí a função de uma arteobra aberta como metáfora epistemológica: num mundo em que a descontinuidade dos fenómenos pôs em crise a possibilidade de uma imagem unitária e definitiva, esta sugere um modo de ver aquilo que se vive, e vendo-o, aceitá-lo, integrá-lo na nossa sensibilidade. Uma obra aberta enfrenta plenamente a tarefa de oferecer uma imagem da descontinuidade: não a descreve, ela própria é a descontinuidade. Ela coloca-se como mediadora entre a abstracta categoria da metodologia científica e a matéria viva da nossa sensibilidade; quase como uma espécie de esquema transcendental que nos permite compreender novos aspectos do mundo.»
[ECO, Umberto, Obra Aberta, Editora Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1971, p. 158-9]
With the notion of code, communication becomes simply a matter of recognizing the one-to-one equivalences. With that of encyclopedia, it becomes a matter of tracing out one of all the possible paths that can be taken through the network, rhizome, or labyrinth, and it is for this process that Eco uses Peirce’s term “abduction.” The example par excellence of abduction is the act of criminal detection. Eco’s argument is that, just as the detective finds the author of a crime by postulating certain rules concerning the connections between human motives and actions and physical events, so in the normal processes of communication we find the meaning of a sign by postulating certain rules concerning the relationship between that sign and others. Both cases involve finding one’s way through the labyrinth; in the latter case the rule may be more regularly applied (it may be “overcoded”), but the difference is one only of degree, not of kind. All forms of communication, interpretation, and understanding are by their nature, for Eco, tentative and hazardous acts of inference.
in ROBEY, David. Introduction, in ECO, UMBERTO. Open Work. HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1989
«Elementary ecology texts tell us that organisms interact in three fundamental ways, generally given the names competition, predation, and mutualism.The third member has gotten short shrift, and even its name is not generally agreed on. Terms that may be considered synonyms, in whole or part, are symbiosis, commensalism, cooperation, protocooperation, mutual aid, facilitation, reciprocal altruism, and entraide. We use the term mutualism, defined as “an interaction between species that is beneficial to both,” since it has both historical priority and general currency. Symbiosis is “the living together of two organisms in close association,” and modifiers are used to specify dependence on the interaction (facultative or obligate) and the range of species that can take part (oligophilic or polyphilic). […] Mutualism may be everywhere, but its existence remains practically unproven.»
[Boucher, Douglas; James, Sam; Keeler, Kathleen H., “The ecology of mutualism”, in Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 1982.13:315-347. Disponível em arjournals.annualreviews.org por University of Kanas-Lawrence & Edwards.]
«(…) devemos reconhecer que, enquanto a arte clássica se realizava contrariando a ordem convencional dentro de limites bem definidos, a arte contemporânea manifesta, dentre as suas características essenciais, a de colocar continuamente uma ordem altamente “improvável” em relação à ordem da qual se parte. Por outras palavras, enquanto a arte clássica introduzia figuras originais no interior de um sistema linguístico cujas regras básicas respeitava substancialmente, a arte contemporânea concretiza a sua originalidade estabelecendo um novo sistema linguístico que traz em si novas leis (…)»
[ECO, Umberto, Obra Aberta, Editora Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1971, p. 123-4]
«Tomemos agora uma folha de papel branco, dobremo-la ao meio e borrifemos uma das metades com tinta. A configuração resultante será altamente casual, absolutamente desordenada. Dobremos de novo a folha ao meio, de modo a fazer com que a superfície da metade manchada coincida com a superfície da metade ainda branca. Reaberta a folha, encontrar-nos-emos diante de uma configuração que já recebeu certa ordem através da forma mais simples de disposição segundo as leis da probabilidade, segundo a forma mais elementar de redundância, que é a repetição simétrica dos elementos.»
[ECO, Umberto, Obra Aberta, Editora Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1971, p. 167]
Little Harmonic Labyrinth. This is based on the Bach organ piece by the same name. It is a playful introduction to the notion of recursive-i.e., nested structures. It contains stories within stories. The frame story, instead of finishing as expected, is left open, so the reader is left dangling without resolution. One nested story concerns modulation in music-particularly an organ piece which ends in the wrong key, leaving the listener dangling without resolution.
Little Harmonic Labyrinth
«(…)Goodfortune: Well, we have arrived. Disembark, my friends, into my fabulous all-electric kitchen-in-the-sky.
(They walk inside.)
Let me show you around, before I prepare your fates. Here is my bedroom. Here is my study. Please wait here for me for a moment. I’ve got to go sharpen my knives. While you’re waiting, help yourselves to some popcorn. Ho ho ho! Tortoise pie!
Tortoise pie! My favorite kind of pie! (Exit.)
Achilles: Oh, boy-popcorn! I’m going to munch my head off!
Tortoise: Achilles! You just stuffed yourself with cotton candy! Besides, how can you think about food at a time like this?
Achilles: Good gravy-oh, pardon me-I shouldn’t use that turn of phrase, should I? I mean in these dire circumstances … Tortoise: I’m afraid our goose is cooked.
Achilles:Say-take a gander at all these books old Goodfortune has in his study. Quite a collection of esoterica: Birdbrains I Have Known; Chess and Umbrella-Twirling Made Easy; Concerto for Tapdancer and Orchestra … Hmmm.
Tortoise: What’s that small volume lying open over there on the desk, next to the dodecahedron and the open drawing pad?
Achilles: This one? Why, its title is Provocative Adventures of Achilles and the Tortoise Taking Place in Sundry Spots of the Globe. Tortoise: A moderately provocative title.
Achilles: Indeed-and the adventure it’s opened to looks provocative. It’s called “Djinn and Tonic”.
Tortoise: Hmm … I wonder why. Shall we try reading it? I could take the Tortoise’s part, and you could take that of Achilles.
Achilles:I’m game. Here goes nothing …
(They begin reading “Djinn and Tonic”.)
(Achilles has invited the Tortoise over to see his collection of prints by his favorite artist, M. C. Escher.)
Tortoise: These are wonderful prints, Achilles.
Achilles: I knew you would enjoy seeing them. Do you have any particular favorite?
Tortoise: One of my favorites is Convex and Concave, where two internally consistent worlds, when juxtaposed, make a completely inconsistent composite world. Inconsistent worlds are always fun places to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Achilles: What do you mean, “fun to visit”? Inconsistent worlds don’t EXIST, so how can you visit one?
Tortoise: I beg your pardon, but weren’t we just agreeing that in this Escher picture, an inconsistent world is portrayed?
Achilles: Yes, but that’s just a two-dimensional world-a fictitious world-a picture. You can’t visit that world.
Tortoise: I have my ways …
Achilles: How could you propel yourself into a flat picture-universe?
Tortoise: By drinking a little glass of PUSHING-POTION. That does the trick.
Achilles: What on earth is pushing-potion?
[in HOFSTADTER Douglas, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, p.111-112]
«Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other “Open” movements such as open source, open content, and open access.»
«Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under an open-source license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software. Open source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner.»
«O discurso aberto tem como primeiro significado a própria estrutura. Assim, a mensagem não se consuma jamais, permanece sempre como fonte de informações possíveis e responde de modo diverso a diversos tipos de sensibilidade e de cultura. O discurso aberto é um apelo à responsabilidade, à escolha individual, um desafio e um estímulo para o gosto, para a imaginação, para a inteligência. Por isso a grande arte é sempre difícil e sempre imprevista, não quer agradar e consolar, quer colocar problemas, renovar a nossa percepção e o nosso modo de compreender as coisas.»
[ECO, Umberto, Obra Aberta, Editora Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1971, p. 280]
In an essay from the 1960s Umberto Eco talked about what he called ‘open work’, works which the performer and the audience both help to complete, through different kinds of engagement. ‘Open works’ are indeterminate and open to different kinds of interpretation. Eco cites the work of Boulez, Stockhausen and Berio, rather than that of Cage, which work he may not have been aware of, as well as the literary work of Mallarmé, Joyce and Kafka, as examples of such open works. (Interestingly, in relation to the previous chapter, in another essay of the same period Eco explicitly connects the issues of communication and indeterminacy within such works with the then recently developed Information Theories of Wiener and Shannon.)
in GERE, Charlie. Digital Culture. p.87 Reaktion Books. London. 2008
«(…) the thing is not open and shut; it is not sealed; there is a chink to let in the air; life is there, awakened by the occurrence of a fateful equality which is not exactly, not strictly equal … And that is what creates movement as there is a remainder there is no end, the cycle recommences, and time continues on. The residue is thus the seed of the next cycle (…) No further motion is possible without the discrepancy between one cycle and the next.»
Within the space of this article I cant begin to develop a new conceptual system which would replace the old discourse of mediums and which would be able to describe post-digital, post-net culture more adequately. However, what I can do is to suggest one particular direction we may want to pursue in developing such a system. This direction would involve substituting the concept of medium by new concepts from from computer and net culture. These concepts can be used both literally (in the case of actual computer-mediated communication) and metaphorically (in the case of pre-computer culture). So here is how such post-media aesthetics may look like:
1. Post-media aesthetics needs categories that can describe how a cultural object organizes data and structures user’s experience of this data.
2. The categories of post-media aesthetics should not be tied to any particular storage or communication media. For instance, rather than thinking of “random access” as a property specific to computer medium, we should think of it as a general strategy of data organization (which applies to traditional books, architecture) and, separately, as a particular strategy of user’s behavior.
3. Post-media aesthetics should adopt the new concepts, metaphors and operations of a computer and network era, such as information, data, interface, bandwidth, stream, storage, rip, compress, etc. We can use these concepts both when talking about our own post-digital, post-net culture, and when talking about the culture of the past. I think of a later approach not just as an interesting intellectual exercise but as something which ethically we must do — in order to see old and new culture as one continuum; in order to make new culture richer through the use of the aesthetic techniques of old culture; and in order to make old culture comprehensible to new generations which are comfortable with concepts, metaphors and techniques of a computer and network era. As an example of such approach, we can describe Giotto and Eisenstein not only as an early Renaissance painter and a modernist filmmaker, but also as important information designers. The first invented new ways to organize data within a static two-dimensional surface (a single panel) or a 3-D space (a set of panels in a Church building); the second pioneered new techniques to organize data over time and to coordinate data in different media tracks to achieve maximum affect on the user. In this way, a future book on information design can include Giotto and Eisenstein alongside Allan Kay and Tim Berners-Lee.
4. The traditional concept of a medium emphasizes the physical properties of a particular material and its representational capacities (i.e., the relationship between the sign and the referent.) As traditional aesthetics in general, this concept encourages us to think about the author’s intentions, the content and the form of an artwork — rather than the user. In contrast, thinking of culture, media and individual cultural works as software allows us to focus on the operations (called in actual software applications “commands”) that are available to the user. The emphasis shifts on user’s capabilities and user’s behavior. Rather than using the concept of medium we may use the concept of software to talk about past media, i.e., to ask about what kind of user’s information operations a particular medium allows for.
5. Both cultural critics and software designers came to draw a distinction between an ideal reader/user inscribed by a text/software and the actual strategies of reading/use/re-use employed by actual users. Post-media aesthetics needs to make a similar distinction in relation to all cultural media, or, to use the just introduced term, cultural software. The available operations and the “right” way of using a given cultural object are different from how people actually come to use it. (In fact, a fundamental mechanism of recent culture is a systematic “mis-use” of cultural software, such as scratching the records in DJ culture, or remixing old tracks).
6. Users’ tactics (to use the term of Michel de Certau) are not unique or random but follow particular patterns. I would like to introduce another term information behavior to describe a particular way of accessing and processing information available in a given culture. We should not always a priory assume that given information behavior is “subversive”; it may closely correlate to the “ideal” behavior suggested by software, or it may differ from it simply because a given user is just a beginner and has not mastered the best ways to use this software.