[iDC] Re: Table Tennis, Schmeb 2, List Dynamics, and Autonomous Uses of Sociable Web Media

Ryan Griffis ryan.griffis at gmail.com
Mon Jun 12 13:46:20 EDT 2006

On Jun 12, 2006, at 11:01 AM, Trebor wrote:

> ³... it is important to keep in mind that the relevant comparison is
> always between the public sphere that we in fact had throughout the
> twentieth century, the one dominated by mass media, that is the  
> baseline
> for comparison, not the utopian image of the ³everyone a pamphleteer²
> that animated the hopes of the1990s for Internet democracy. Departures
> from the naive utopia are not signs that the Internet does not
> democratize, after all. They are merely signs that the medium and its
> analysis are maturing.²

The intersection of a lot of our discussions (linking with more  
formalized ones, like that quoted above) with spatial analysis is  
quite interesting, and something i've been pursuing for a little  
while. i was just reading a Rosalyn Deutsche article on "Reasonable  
Urbanism" in which she makes yet another argument against the  
tendency of "radical geographers" to delimit the boundaries of  
"real," "social" and "concrete" space against the discursive,  
subjective and arbitrary. The basic argument is that to argue public  
space, and hence "real" politics, takes place in the "public spaces"  
of the streets and places of commerce is to deny the exclusionary  
nature of the very notion of "public space" as a linguistic/political  
Anyway, my point in bringing this up, is to see if people find  
parallels here with some of our own calls for "real" engagements  
against those that occur via ephemeral and technological networks.  
It's not a question of those networks being problematic, but rather  
if it's a problem to build a critique of them on oppositional  
language using a "real" and a "not real" or a "concrete" and "not  
i've also been thinking about Latour's call to engage politics, not  
from a position of representation and "depth" but by "merely"  
engaging with the "surface" of politics - really considering its  
mediations and mechanisms rather than trying to get underneath them  
to find ulterior motives. In a recent interview in Art Journal, he  
talks about the need for a "positive" approach to politics, over a  
"negative" or ironic critique.
i'm not entirely sure if Latour and Deutsche would be at odds or not  
in their respective analysis, or if there is something complimentary  
and useful in bringing them together. Both maintain the centrality of  
language and subject position without falling into "identity  
politics." Either way, i guess, contradiction and conflict can be  

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