Geert Lovink on Wed, 25 Aug 1999 23:38:00 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fragments of Network Criticism

> The age of the expert is over, this is the implicit message of the
> network; it is best to stop looking for them. 

it is the message of the dominant network ideology, yes. we all know that
the dirty digital reality looks different. just read that 5% of the
content attracks 75% of the users. that's not ideology but plain numbers. 
disappointing figures, yes. Internet is a mass medium. Not in essence, but
in practictal terms. And it has always been run by experts, I wonder how
else one could call the programmers and sys-ops.
> now that the network can be
> actual, waiting only for us to shape it, the lone observer is an
> anachronism.

I just read an article in a dutch newspaper, the NRC, who finally
discovered post-modernism. According to this Bas Heyne, post-modernism is
characterized by the shift from the actor to the observer. This is also my
impression of most academics these days. They do not feel comfortable
anymore with the notion of theory as an intervention (let alone as a
utopia or manifest/proposal). Many prefer to observe, and to deconstruct,
working with somewhat older material, not with the latest cultural
constructs. Perhaps the network does not encourage the point-of-view of
the outsider. But then again, the network is not the society (dispite
Castells...). The Net might produce a temporary dominant ideology, which
does not mean that all human/power relations are affected by it.

> Panic is never suitable in a crisis because it only encourages delay. 

Again such a naive copy-paste of Bill Gates' 'friction free capitalism'. 
Panic is a very deep, psycho-physical response to immediate danger. 
Suitable or not, it's there. The question is only how society repsonses to

> If democracy is both a practical obligation and an ideal, why not reject
> the hierarchy of genius at least experimentally?  Which is to say, imagine
> a history in which the great analyst is irrelevant.  

Yes, I think we can do away with the genius, this 19th century figure. 
Still, this is the age of the media, if you like it or not, and media are
(re)producing the rich and famous. Internet is also based on a star
system, closely related to the print industry, and the infotainment
business. But I also imagine such an utopian situation, where we wake up
from the nightmare called mass media. A victory of the Irrelavant! 


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