More Symposium Take Aways

David D on the Facebook hack, Kevin Bacon, why not become a hub, and that you need to do it. (Related to that thanks to Boglarka for this gem.) Denham on the Facebook hack, making, and the new world order. Boglarka concerned about sitting in a sea of media signals. Ditte using Castells (one of the key writers on the internet as an information economy come technological ecology) to think about technical come cultural determinism. Kevin on, well, Kevin, Facebook, and listening to your writing talking back to you. Lauren wants to keep technology under control. Jackie on creative freedom (I think creativity is defined and enabled by constraint, not the other way round, and while the sic-fi example might not have worked the question I think is who can you make something that is outside of ‘codes’?) Louisa has long bullet point list. Danielle has a good culled set of observations. Rebecca on whether technology controls or not (I don’t think it is about control, control assumes direction, a centre and decision, the view being described is that there isn’t a direction, or a centre, and that lots of technologies arrive that don’t yet have a purpose – cars being my example (but you could easily add the Xerox, the telephone, and the typewriter), so if they aren’t thought to be needed then why or how do they come to be?).

Big Lev

Dominic on Manovich on stories and databases and long tails and YouTube. Courtney on database, narrative, games. Boglarka and databases and narrative. Samuel picks up the semiotics of Manovich with the paradigm versus syntagm discussion. Isabella has a good gloss on Mr Lev Manovich’s essay. Brittany links to a biography. Tamrin discusses narrative and database. Tom on games, database, narrative – friend or foe? Courtney has a YouTube clip explaining what a database is and why they’re useful. And Courtney on the reading and how for Manovich the world is just a big collection of stuff (a database). Begs the question, is narrative then a less ‘authentic’ depiction of the world than a list? And Rebecca on games, narrative, databases, lists and stories.

Galloway, Protocol

Denham’s take away is:

I think this is the key point that I took out of this reading (most of it I didn’t fully understand), the idea that although the internet is commonly viewed as this chaotic, ruleless utopia/dystopia, there are still a very stringent set of protocols governing how we act on the internet and contribute to the network that it creates.

This is a good place to begin from. Galloway also argues from this that ‘protocol’ is how all of this is controlled, and that ‘protocol’ is how things get controlled today. He’d argue society, not just the internet, and at this point it is like the internet is the manifestation of a lot of other changes and ideas. Which I suppose begs the question of whether the internet has caused or accelerated this, or whether the internet responded to a cultural change?

Holly has an outstanding post that begins to think about protocol, lots of nice examples from outside the web to contextualise why and how protocol matters. Olivia picks up the tenor of ‘control societies‘ and worries about what that might mean.

Anna D has a fantastic post joining Galloway to the stuff about scale free networks, so that decentralisation doesn’t equal lack of strucure, and that what Galloway shows is how important protocol is (I’d suggest technical and social) to making this structure sensible to us. Protocol as an economy and ecology of control is ‘flat’, decentralised and possibly more democratic. I don’t know, but its structure is flat and there aren’t really centres, just processes of agreement that are in turn highly ordered (protocolesque) events. For instance anyone can write a RFC, and anyone can join the W3C and have a say in what protocols are defined for the internet. Anyone.

The Virtual

Danielle picks up the material parts of the internet and digital technology that I raised but thinks some of it must be virtual. We use ‘virtual’ to mean that we digitise stuff and once this was thought to make it ‘immaterial’ so what sort of media it was originally doesn’t matter to the system. A bit of video is the same as a bit of text to the network. That is true. Just data to be pumped around. But it is still stuff, and that is something that contemporary thinking in these areas is increasingly paying attention to. The other use is thinking that what is presented is virtual as an ersatz copy of something real. Except with digital stuff ubiquitous I’m not sure we gain much by thinking it is different. We don’t talk of cinema as virtual reality, and to my mind Second Life is anything but ‘real’!