Friday, July 29, 2005

Tate Seminar on Publics

One might as well not try not to sound like a broken record when, in fact, one is.

The link below is a great resource for thinking about the contemporary formation of publics, something that I've been trying to think about in the context of internet-based photography and, less directly, any number of online activities (so, I think Lawence Lessig and Eric Raymond and McKenzie Wark are all describing features of how contemporary publics work) . At the beginning of his talk, Warner declares that thinking about sexuality needs to be at the center of any conversation about publics, and then goes on to show why this perspective is so incredibly productive. You can find a record of the talks here:

Making Public Seminar 1, Tate Modern

Special note for those of my friends who are interested in affect and generational formations. Warner's entire talk is structured around the role of affect in public life, but he really gets down to it starting at minute 17. And he answers a question about (stylisations of) generational conflict at 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fear, and the question of what disciplinary educations are good for

I was thinking about my talk yesterday (which went fine, nice to meet Tim Jordan, and to see Kate O'Riordan), so I was thinking about my talk and noticing that when I write sociologically, or at least, for sociologists, I feel as though I'm charting my progress through the argument by trying, above all else, to avoid pitfalls, rather than stepping more surely, more positively. I feel defensive; and I think the writing probably betrays my defensiveness. There are probably two things I'm defending against: 1. the kinds of arguments and maxims of sociological argumentation that I don't care to heed (in other words, steering by my own interests in tension with my tolerance for that which bores me but which is probably either important or necessary) and 2. that which I probably should know (about sociological argumentation) but don't, because I never learned it, because it's not embedded deep in the strata of my education.

All of which suggests to me a reasonable (but probably no better than reasonable) answer to the question of what disciplinary educations are good for (in other words, an answer that isn't merely defensive or territorial): they create the conditions under which one, at the best of times, can step surely through an argument, following one's own interests more than a cringing, fearful sense of all which might potentially undermine one's argument (following one's interests more than one's discipline).

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Me, Talk, Public, this Wednesday

CRESC, Culture and Social Change: Disciplinary Exchanges, 11-13 July 2005 [scroll down to theme 2 to see my abstract]

Come along. It's easy to sneak into conferences without paying.

Once I've given the talk, I'll try to learn how to post a downloadable file here and make the script of my talk available.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Finally Something to Show

I know I've mentioned this art exhibition, Day to Day Data, opening in Nottingham on July 20th, then travelling to Portsmouth in September 2005 and finally coming to London in March 2006. As far as I'm concerned, it explores many of the themes I've been exploring and wanting to explore with my photography research. Which is why it was such a gift to get commissioned to write for it (thank you Sarah Cook and Ellie Harrison).

So, the essay I wrote for the show draws strongly, if somewhat subterraneanly, from my work on this project. I consider it my first official "output" (I wonder if the ESRC will feel the same). You can find it here: "Better the Data You Know..."

Also, Sarah Cook and Ben Highmore have both written excellent essays, Highmore's dealing with the (subject) matter of everyday life and Cook's detailing some of the discussions and themes which originally galvanised the show.
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