[iDC] (no subject)

David Joselit david.joselit at yale.edu
Tue Jun 19 10:08:54 EDT 2007


My name is David Joselit, and based on my new book, Feedback: 
Television Against Democracy 
Trebor invited me to pose a few questions to the list.

One of my motivations for working on television of the initial 
network era (whose terminal point, in my view, occurs when cable 
becomes the dominant delivery system) was my surprise at how TV seems 
to drop out of most new media discussions even though its genesis as 
a medium, like radio before it, is very similar in its structure to 
that of the Internet:  military research and development leading to a 
technology with uncertain use value; adoption and dissemination by 
enthusiasts; and commercial enclosure.  I was particularly struck in 
my research by how closely the early discourse around cable-when it 
was still based in community access-mirrors the early claims made for 
the Internet.  Is TV irrelevant, or does it embody a possible future 
for the Internet?

And secondly, as an art historian I'm attracted by the prospect of 
displacing our analysis of images from what they mean-i.e., their 
face value-to how they circulate, how they get concentrated (visual 
tumors even) as icons that may create publics (think of the Abu 
Ghraib photos, but, for those of you who are American and old enough, 
Campbells soup!).  Is it possible to do for images what Franco 
Moretti has done for the novel-create a kind of political geography 
or economy?  Obviously television and the Internet are two important 
public "spaces" structured by the circulation of images.

Thanks for any thoughts on these questions.


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