Monday, 21 May 2012

Assembly - Re-thinking the Digital

Tonight I went to a talk by Charlie Gere, called Assembly - Re-thinking the Digital within which he was promoting his forthcoming book "Community without Community in Digital Culture" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). Not really sure what to think about it, his point was something that i agree with completely, that the digital should not be separated out from the 'hand crafted', technos and the body develop in sync, not as separate and unrelated entities, we have always been digital, technology is part of our 'culture', and plurality, or difference is essential to the functioning of self. He plotted this argument via a host of premier league thinkers, Derrida, Nancy, Aristotle, Steigler.

And whilst I agree with all this, particularly notions of difference and violence as essential to maintaining self against the techno fantasy of the mind melding type, I am not sure what more he adds to the argument. He cited live coder Alex Mclean, and Jodi, but again I am not sure to what end, beside a reference to plasticity and destruction, as in Mcleans 'fork' code and Jodi's encoded 'instructions' to make a bomb.

There does seem to be - with academics who are embedded in institutions - a desire to use images in powerpoint presentations which 'look' like what they are talking about. The source material is often adverts etc, but from this audience members pov this is a really silly distraction, especially when, as was the case tonight, the image is the Apple Mac logo, yes its got a bite out of it, yes its the fall of man, yes its religious in connotation and yes its a bit lame, cliched and redundant. 

I have been a fan of Charlie Gere's writing but have to say I was really disappointed by the talk, its seemed really unfocused, with lots of irreverent jokes about hating contemporary art etc, his work is much better than this  - be interesting to see the reaction when his book comes out. 


  1. 'Lame, cliched, redundant'

    Bit harsh, Kevin

    Love, Charlie

    1. err- yes was a bit harsh, but you know what I mean, power point aesthetics and all that - not offense meant, i suppose i was frustrated by not 'getting it' - look forward to the book though. K