Monday, October 1, 2012

form, content, and time

When i first read Terranova's first "proposition on informational cultures," I was a lil' frustrated.  Parsing dense technicalities for what definitely seemed like more than seven pages, I arrive at what seems to be the fruit of my efforts-- the technical discussion of information and meaning transfer becomes a metaphor for a society inundated with information: "Indeed Crasson...will conclude that information and meaning might be inversely proportional...the proliferation of information spells the drowning of meaningful experiences in a sea of random noise"-- However the communications engineers "might ... have misunderstood the informational dimension of communication as such and their repeated efforts at amplifying the signal in order to drown out the noise might be as counterproductive in a social sense as they would be within the circuit of a stereo system... because it does does not take sufficiently into account the powers of feedback or retro-action- increasingly cynical or even angry audience/receivers or just a kind of social entropy that nonlinearizes the transmission of messages as such"  excuse the lengthy quoting.  -- Terranova spends a considerable chunk of time introducing the technical language around transmission theory in order to put his sociological observations into this language.  This frustrates me as a receiver because I'm not prof of sociology of communications, and have made similar observations in layman's terms "an over-inundated audience will know how to sort through over-stimulation to discard the repetitive or the annoying."  But it also interests me, enough I guess anyway to write a blogpost about it, because the form of Terranova's argument mirrors his point (his content).  "will all subsequent technicalities lead to a far more easily-parsed sociological application, which is not particularly dependent on a perfect technical understanding?", I wonder, and more liberally skim impending technicalities.  Terranova tells me about an audience's quickly-acquired ability to parse overwhelming information, and simultaneously demonstrates it, using her reader as an example.  ( i don't want to accuse Terranova of mirroring his propagandists and marketing directors; this idea is only partially applicable, but I think funny to consider)

Also-- his chapter 2-- network dynamics recalls Benjamin's talk on time:
"the simultaneity of actions has taken precedence over the succession of events and the world has been reduced to one unique time and space- 'an accident without precedent'".
"Western metaphysics looks at movement as a function of homogeneous, hence unchangeable space and time...Duration [the time-quality of the internet] implies a qualitative transformation of space and space itself is nothing but an ongoing movement opening onto an unbounded whole"

Benjamin says  "to articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it ‘the way it really was.' It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger"

So "network dynamics" move us away from homogenous, empty time, but does it make time even more empty (time ceases to be a container- it is an open system), but our actions within it seem to have greater effect; we modify time, not merely move through it.  Very cursory observations but which could perhaps lead to more..

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