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<nettime> net.crits 'n' mortar digest [Meinking - bc]
nettime's_symptomatic_corresponda on Sat, 23 Mar 2002 16:18:47 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> net.crits 'n' mortar digest [Meinking - bc]



   RE: <nettime> the dominion of nettime                                           
     "Steven Meinking" <steven.meinking {AT} verizon.net>                                 

   RE: <nettime> the dominion of nettime                                           
     bc <human {AT} electronetwork.org>                                                   



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Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 15:08:02 -0800
From: "Steven Meinking" <steven.meinking {AT} verizon.net>
Subject: RE: <nettime> the dominion of nettime

Brian:

As a receiver, I sensed a great deal of paranoia in your text, but being
familiar with your work over the past few years, I trust that you have your
reasons and that they are good ones. Aside from this, I found the text to be
very insightful(inciteful?) and I have a couple anecdotes that were prompted
by what you stated:

The First - Many years ago I moderated the Foucault e-mail discussion list
as a member of the Spoon Collective. The list was born from my desire to
openly discuss the work of that thinker, and for some time, I took great joy
in the list's development as a forum for Foucauldian discussion. Profiles of
the list members ranged from the casually interested, to undergraduate
students (like myself at the time), to grad students and academics. The list
swelled from discussions concerning fundamental concepts in Foucault's work
(oddly enough, to which there are no fundamental answers) like power, the
panopticon, docile bodies, sexuality, etc., etc.

Yet the discussions always seemed to reach a limit, a limit that was
defined, strangely, by the forum itself. You see, in retrospect, it seems I
was somewhat deluded. I had actually thought, at the time of the list's
inception, that the list could be more than just a forum for rudimentary
Foucauldian discussion. That the level of the thinkers on that list (a few
of those participants have since gone on to academic prominence) could
effectively pioneer an elevated thinking of Foucault's work through the
forum.

Unfortunately, this hope was profoundly naive. And this naiveté was never
more evident than in the first time that one of the academic list members
contributed a paper to the list. As moderator, I embraced the contribution
and made it available to all. When there was no immediate exchange of ideas
on the paper I opened discussion of the text by critically addressing some
of the disagreements I had with some of its theses. What was interesting was
that afterward there was no response at all; not from the paper's writer,
not from other members, not from anyone. In fact, the paper's writer
unsubscribed from the list.

Now I know I can be abrasive, and I am aware that my style of moderation may
not have been perfect, but it seemed there was another reason for the hush,
a hush that lasted for many weeks. There was a limit to the forum, to the
space, and this limit was circular. That the circle had a line, and that
this line should not be crossed. That on the other side of the line were
micro-despot territories, and that ranging into these territories was a
matter of not only being out of place, but of not knowing one's place. These
territories were not open to critical discursive channels, and that the
defense of these territories was carried out by silence and exclusion, not
by reasoned debate.

The list continues (I have not been the moderator for years, but it's good
to see it continuing), but it is still committed to that circle, to the
return, to fundamental concepts and issues, visited and revisited;
Foucault's sexuality, power, what secondary literature to read, the
panopticon - with none of the discussion on these topics ever reaching a
watershed.

The Second - Recently, I found myself involved in playing a video game over
the Internet. Ordinarily, I am not an avid gamer, in fact, I own only five
computer games, one of which is chess, but playing Diablo II was very
entertaining and it permitted me time to goof around with my brothers
through multi-player on the game's Battle.Net. There I discovered some
amusing, if not disappointing, revelations. The primary revelation being
that a large amount of the game's players, most likely the majority, would
rather cheat at the game, than play it straight up.

By cheating I mean a few things particular to this game, but possibly
generalizeable to other games as well. The first being that there were hacks
available for the game that enabled participants to forego some of the
routine aspects of the game entirely. There are maps in the game that have
to be discovered by the participant character's questing. But there is a
hack that enables DII gamers to see the map without exploring it, giving
them a definite logistical advantage. This was probably the most widely used
hack.

Trading items between characters found during quests is a common activity in
this game, and there is a hack that enables game-players to fake an item
they are trading, thus swindling the other player out of a good item. This
hack was never used against me, but I did run into other players that had
suffered at the hands of its usage. There is also a rampant practice called
"duping," in which a player acquires a hack that enables them to make
duplicate copies of a powerful and unique item that can then be used or
traded by their character.

The point being that when I bought the game, I purchased it with the
intention of playing the game by the rules of its designers. Yet I bore
witness to countless players that were more interested in cheating the game
and stealing from others, then in playing the game, which left me wondering
why they bought the game in the first place.

I don't mean to conflate these examples and your text, your text seemed more
serious and directed, but these experiences came to mind during my reading
and I thought to share them with you.

Take care,

Steve
http://stevenmeinking.net


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Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 17:25:13 -0600
From: bc <human {AT} electronetwork.org>
Subject: RE: <nettime> the dominion of nettime


  very interesting experiences and thanks for
  sharing Steve. i am partly done with a text
  to respond with something more tangible, &
  in doing so, it is helping me balance, but also
  make more clear why this is beyond normal
  lists and games. this is more, there are nukes
  in the world, and people who agitate and who
  instigate _on_purpose for their own ends. and
  who happen to be academics connected with
  people almost everyone knows, or that too
  may be a ruse. in any case, i will not name
  any names. that is not the point, it is the
  question. and any realization from others of
  their connection to these events which have
  one common thread, from net.architecture
  to net.art and net.theorists, and academia.
  i realize my post must be on the verge of
  pure lunacy, it is by default that way, but
  sometimes words may get through the fog
  and be able to share some balanced, basic
  observations. people involved, the one i do
  know of, are not all bad. but they are not
  helping with changing things, at the same
  time being at the top of the pyramid giving
  orders on what to do next. or, potentially.
  and sometimes, this is not the same thing
  as what is proposed, nor may it be in any
  way intentional. but nonetheless real. so i
  will try to be gentle, but give a view from
  a place that is hard to imagine that it exists,
  and it may not, in absolute terms. but there
  is something going on, and maybe it is that
  endless loop, but if it is, that is the past. so
  i hope by writing, somethign else of a kind
  of descriptor might enter into discussion-
  zones of silence. it is unfortunate to me if
  this is seen as against the ideals and the
  real values that inhabit a unique place, yet
  there are also things unsavory. and if they
  are recognized and worked through, then
  everyone could be the better off. maybe not,
  it seems, though. makes everyone so angry.
  it would be easier to pretend it is unreal.
  but, i'll place my bet on change for the better.
  brian


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