Sunday, December 6, 2009

caught up: Terranova and Bookchin

Tiziana Terranova writes “It has long been appreciated by science that large numbers behave differently than small numbers. Mobs breed a requisite measure of complexity from emergent entitles. The total number of possible interactions between two or more members accumulates exponentially as the number of members increases. At a high level of connectivity, and a high number of members, the dynamics of mobs takes hold. More is different.” p. 106

I think this lack of difference was what was disappointing about Natalie Bookchin’s presentation. Bookchin collects footage from You Tube and show us the similarities of people’s posting from videos of road trips, to dancing to the same song with similar moves (maybe from the original video) and people talking about fear of the economy and anti-depressants, which serves a momentary interest but end as quickly as the life of the video. The story stops there as well as the data she collected on how many views for each video was canned when the video was edited. Although she has put the videos back on You Tube it’s gestural since the compositional format of the video breaks them into bits that are hard to see and limited from the internet technology. With a little more effort and a common digital media software Jitter, to name one method since there are many, it would have been possible to have the video data pulled from the internet data updated in real time, as in the how many times viewed, point back to the connectivity with the community.

Although a very well edited and choreographed video and an interesting look at what is posted on the internet, I question when the free labor of internet is harvested for material and placed out of context is this act similar to when Terranova compares the “people shows” of the TV networks and the new Web does this replicate the TV capitalism with the art market. Perhaps not in a monetary sense but maybe in the cultural economy? “In a sense, they manage the impossible; they create monetary value out of the most reluctant members of the postmodern cultural economy; those who do not produce marketable style, who are not qualified enough to enter the fast world of the knowledge economy, are converted into monetary value through their capacity to affectively perform their misery.” p. 95

The Natalie Bookchin lecture is available here:

And if you missed Jonah Brucker-Cohen it can be viewed here.

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