Peter Lunenfeld on Fri, 16 Jan 1998 02:23:18 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> curiosity

>Dear List,
>I've been following this list for while now in complete and utter
>I'm sure all posts are incredibly interesting but is there actually anyone
>reading all this?
>Or are you just trying to build a Borgesian library?
>Yours truly,

The recent spate of falsely attributed postings to this and other lists
makes me gun shy about responding to this particular post, but I'm willing
to adopt nomenclature from the music world -- The Artist Formerly Known As
Prince (TAFKAP) -- and refer to the author (or authors) of this post as The
Artist Assumed To Be Koons (TATBeK). TATBeK raises the point that <nettime>
generates quite a bit of text, and wonders if I/we/you actually read any of
these missives.

<nettime> is push media, and TATBeK seems to feel that push media like
list-serves carry with them the impression that everything should (must?)
be read. For TATBeK, email thus retains something of the urgency of a phone
call (with all but the most egregious spams having at least a slight pull
on one's time and attention).

Would TATBeK ask this same question about a printed magazine or a journal?
I think not (though something like _October_ is becoming that which one
continues to collect while never, ever reading). The assumption I make with
<nettime> is that some pieces are interesting enough to read carefully,
some get a quick skim, and a large percentage get deleted after the first
paragraph or even at the Subject line. This is exactly how I treat print
(doen't TATBeK read _Artforum_ the same way ?). The major difference is
that <nettime> posts do not come all at once (though many lists, including
Rhizome, do digests that mimic their print forebears exactly).

All told, I prefer this kind of dedicated push media to webzines and
e-journals, which I dutifully investigate, bookmark, and then ignore. In
the end, <nettime> serves as a refuge for long arguments and sophisticated
discourse, two forms that most other media have long since abandoned, and I
like the list's mix of focus and breadth, constancy and surprise. But then
again, I'm both an accademic and a text addict, so my innocence is sullied
(and anyway, I'd be first in line for a Borgesian Library Card).

Peter Lunenfeld (aka "Theory Spice")

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