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Re: <nettime> Water-shedding
Felix Stalder on 26 Sep 2000 00:48:38 -0000


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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
CD-ROMs.


Best. Felix

--------------------++-----
Les faits sont faits.
http://www.fis.utoronto.ca/~stalder




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