Elisha Sessions on Tue, 20 May 1997 23:48:46 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Re: ... net.art thread analyses

I wrote a paper last year about how early radio in the US was stabilized
into national networks. It's called Portable Metropolis and it's online at
http://www.bway.net/~elisha/portable if any of you would like to read some
of it.

In researching how the networks positioned radio against the
"rumor-mongering" effects of the telephone (especially in the late 1930's)
I found that early on there was no such clear opposition.  The telephone
with its private one-to-one connection was the model for many radio
technologies embraced by everyone from the police to amateur radio
enthusiasts.  The US government even went so far as to list all the
licensed amateur radio operators in an annual hardbound book throughout the
1920's, listing their names and street addresses.

I think the science of audience measurement eroded radio's capacity for
privacy or surprise.  This doesn't seem to be happening with "net.art" even
though its audience can be measured with a precision unheard of to C.E.
Hooper et al.   Radio's audience was territorial; it existed as geographic
radii of statistical probability.  net.art is transmitted passively.  It
sits and waits.  It is manipulated.  It is retransmitted.  It is totally
unauthoritative.  As soon as it becomes active (i.e. _demands_ a fee) it
becomes very laughable.



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