brian carroll on Fri, 27 Aug 1999 17:32:07 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fragments of Network Criticism

>I second much of what Yvonne wrote in response to Geert and Brian Carroll.

>Faith Wilding

  to me this is incredibly curious, especially considering the
  intriguing thought of an existential network by Geert, then
  having a flurry of what seems like a defense of institutional
  legitimation, almost like new age self-help of the California
  Ideology. i wrote as a counterpoint to the utopic American vision,
  as if everyone dreams of a $5 billion IPO as 'the good life.' on
  the contrary, i think the post surrounding network criticism needs
  more consideration on its existential grounds:

  such as, does network criticism exist at all apart from
  institutions of legitimation? you euro's have a much better
  deal than in the U.S.  state sponsored multimedia and the
  embrace of more than monetary ideas profit you directly.
  here, in the U.S., to me at least, it seems to be a desert
  of content. a great diaspora that left dreams behind to rot,
  or to be economically recycled for profit by some jackal.

  i lobby that it is near impossible to have critical dissent,
  or critical discourse without jeopardizing institutional
  placement. thus, the "freedom" of the network is actually
  in bad faith. that is, if i speak out on the netowrk about
  my job, i will face repercussions that directly affect me.
  the option would be 'anonymizers' and remailers, yet what
  does that do for legitimization and freedom in the network?

  existence in the network seems panoptic, and may haunt till
  days of death, the archive of the discourse embedded into a
  million micro-processes, the network has a memory.

  can there be "being" on the Internet computer network, in
  the specific sense of network criticism?  for example, my
  specialty is critiquing the e-power system which supports
  the network. i think anyone on the network is sustained by
  electricity, yet, for some reason people think it is optional
  where the power comes from for their network 'free speech.'

  occasionally, a few people who've criticized the e-power
  system, well- they end up dead. that's politics. and, let's
  imagine it is true that it is one of those touchy issues.
  now, what if nettimers were going to _really_ critique the
  Internet. i mean, besides ARPA, the NSA, etc. and into the
  Nuclear powerplants, scientific research facilities, colleges
  and universities.. uh- institutions of legitimation of this
  type of network 'being' that we are doing here...

  the case for a 'we' is a shared identity. if you're a you,
  and i am a me, then we are a three, you me we, public. for
  example, a she might write about a he, but could code their
  language minus 3rd person pronouns into a [wo|man] who can
  write about [him|her] without having to worry about the
  [his|her]-story because sex and gender are not always it.

  so, negating the network, existence on the network, being
  on the network... what kind of being, what kind of people
  are being on the Internet... who's becoming whom? is this
  list constituted by network critics? and to what level is
  the criticism waged?

  is it possible that the network critics are at some level,
  a thing-in-itself turning into a thing-for-itself?

  from my very specialized vantage, i wage that there exists
  no network criticism beyond certain limits, and beyond the
  protected enclaves of power established at institutions by
  the legitimized critics. if i remember correctly, i think
  it was said that the critic is the one who is the interface
  between the work and the audience. it is a person whom helps
  others decide how and what to think about what.

  that's why i think Geert's post is so interesting, is that
  it is, to me, an existential angst about criticising the
  network, multiperspectival and open and honest.

  all i have to add is that i think it could be considered
  that there exists no network criticism at certain levels,
  and that these levels should be addressed.

  that is, to consider 'the nothingness' of network criticism:

  what is not being said, by whom, and why?

  i don't know about you, but i am worried and feel guilty
  and unknowing about a future vector travelling this way on
  the network. i feel like something is creeping up in all of
  bureaucracy and the e-commerce economic engine, that, it
  will all of the sudden pull an electronic blanket over our
  audiovisual sight and the potential, the possiblity will
  no longer be "here" to dissent the way we can now. there,
  i fear, will be "nothingness" instead of "being" on-line.

  and i wonder what the network critics will be saying then.

  will they, er, us, be saying that network criticism is
  really occurring, and that these artist experimentations
  are what it _is_ really about (that act of legitimation)-
  or, like JODI, will a Brave New World'r spit in the face
  of the New (Electrical) World Order, and give cause for
  reflection about criticism and the critic(s).

  critiquing the critics, and the archive, de|con-structing
  the voice, popular and under-represented, to me is of
  interest, in the role of perspectivalist. who's saying
  what and why. more specifically- why aren't people talking
  or critiquing the 'heavy network', that ballistic missle
  toting, handgun carrying, gangnet surveilling, polluting
  State of mind and body, or did i miss it in yesterday's
  e-mail? how to say it is relevant-

  powerplant is sustaining consciousness in cyberspace

  powerplant is polluting

  cyberspace is polluting

  consciousness is polluting.

  to me, that is where the network critique should be placed,
  en masse by persons in positions of power to do something
  about it. even if rhizomatically, nodes of nomads popping
  up out in the desert to shout like JODI in unison, enough
  to wake up the network to dissent in this most proto-
  capitalist of mediums.

  i hoped that, from archaeological view into interpreting
  the past, and an architectural view of building the future,
  that we may have more critical things to say while we still
  have the freedoms we have. tomorrow may be too late, and, as
  i'm sure you all know- we're dying and the network is not.


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