Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Politics of Curation

Some great correspondence with regard to the previous post...thanks. Ryan's recommendation of Allan Sekula's "Between the Net and the Deep Blue Sea (Rethinking the Traffic in Photographs)" was perfect. Rightly, Ryan and Sekula remind me that the archive is fundamentally a politicized (archaeological) space. That was Derrida's point too...that and the curation of the archive is always already political.

So, in a sense, when boyd remarks that we (just) need curation she is not stating anything new. Rather, she is stating the unrecognized most obvious characteristic of basically any sort of representation. It is just that we are often unaware of the everyday acts of curation. It is so common sensical that it is perfectly hegemonic.

When I first listened to, and then read, boyd's insights from SXSWi I was in almost perfect agreement. To a degree, I still am. However, positionality matters when curation occurs. From what individual or organziational vantage does one curate? Beyond how an archive is ordered, accessed, and what's included, ethics are shot through every possible interaction with the acrhive (be it a collection of photographs or a Facebook profile). I'd even extend this claim to our everyday consumption of information, culture, or even food. And yes, I used consumption (though in a post-Marxist Baudrillard-ian sense). Like it or not, consumption and remediation (e.g., curation) are the 21st century equivalent of production. Plugging my own take on this is an old piece from a few years back entitled Articulating Reform and the Hegemony Game. In the piece I weirdly valorize Whole Fords because it seems that even if cultural dopes are shopping there, through an organizational(albeit corporate) articulation better and more ethical practices get operationalized via Whole Foods.

I'm skeptical of Facebook and wary of Microsoft, but I do like boyd's work and her politics are, I am hopeful about the discourse coming from her as a thought leader.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's All About Curation

danah boyd was Saturday's keynote speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival. The CNET story is here.

I like a lot of what she said, namely about the role of curation in social media. For those concerned with privacy in these "new times" she had the following iterations.

To begin with, she said, privacy is by no means dead. "People care very much about privacy, no matter how old they are," Boyd said. "The challenge is that what privacy means may not be what you think...Fundamentally, it's about having control over how information flows...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Burn the Boats

TechCrunch profiled Marc Andreessen talking about how media companies are handling the digital disruption of the Internet. In particular, Andreessen was remarking on print media such as newspapers and magazines, and his longstanding recommendation that they should shut down their print editions and embrace the Web wholeheartedly. “You gotta burn the boats,” he told TechCrunch, “you gotta commit.” From there he went with a Cortes analogy, dirty colonizer that he was (Cortes not Andreessen per se). Cortes excerpt:

Legend has it that when Cortes landed in Mexico in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown. Marc Andreessen has the same advice for old media companies: “Burn the boats.”

There's one more excerpt that seems important to remember, lest fetishizing runs amok. It is,
Andreessen points out, that the iPad will have a “fantastic browser.” No matter how many iPads the Apple sells, the Web will always be the bigger market. “There are 2 billion people on the Web,” he says. “The iPad will be a huge success if it sells 5 million units.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In-Class Writing 3-2-10


Read Bill McKibben’s blog post at: .

Next, identify one sentence that seems to characterize a main point that Mckibben is trying to get across to readers. Write this sentence below.

With this sentence in mind, answer the following two questions in 1-2 sentences each. Post your remarks to the class blog or use the space below to do this.

• Who is MciKibben’s intended audience (or audiences)? What statements or characteristics exist in the blog post or blog that suggest this audience?

• In what ways do you find McKibben’s argument to be compelling (or not)?