Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meta-Discourse and the (Post-) Digital Book @ The Disinhibitor

Michael Cross posted a few paragraphs from the talk I gave in Bflo this past Friday, "Meta-Discourse and the (Post-) Digital Book (How The Hole Is Still Being Made)" at his blog, The Disinhibitor. Thanks to Margaret Konkol for organizing the talk, and for the great conversation and company of those in attendance!

How to instill the book with living presences that may bear witness to a set of social constellations and coordinates without doing harm to the participants/what has been offered through often unreflective and spontaneous forms of participation? How to resist this move as a gesture invested with cultural capital or as a move in a kind of art game while still being able to reflect critically upon it, or simply acknowledge its tendencies? The prefaces that I intend to include within The Hole, in this regard, reflect both the content of the would-be book, but also how the book is always a kind of performance within a discourse, and specifically as this performance is addressed to one’s peers, friends, and contemporaries (if only after the fact). How not to render lame (or dead) a process that one loves (or has loved) and wishes to further extend? How to circumvent the inevitable tendency for such ‘projects’ to become captured by staid forms of institutionalization, archivalism, or academic research; the negative forms of distribution and critical reception that pervade both commercial and academic culture (however much all of us work in relation to these cultural locations)?


David Wolach said...

Hey Thom,

I have near-zero connection at moment, so this is a web negative 3.0 registration of excitement about the talk. The book of course. But I'm interested in your use of "feedback" loop here, the would-be book's function as a sort of common connector (to continue the circuitry metaphor here). Might you say more that notion and the push here to circumvent rendering dead--or at least visible to various forms of commodity--those living, becoming social formations we, well, live for? Friendships that offer more than (or beyond what), perhaps, we can articulate (once we attempt to articulate those exchanges, they reappear elsewhere, or slip away, or morph relative to the measuring)? So feedback loop as potential to destabilize (or maybe re-destabilize) the tendency for relations that are our becoming to be captured, even unwittingly giving into forms of cultural capital real or imagined? But as coterie forms, then also necessarily (so to speak) a destabilization of coterie as well? It appears you're positing an opening that forms between institutionalization/rendering dead and the coterie forming as exclusionary or itself sedimenting (an opening that is neither of these), by and thru building into the would-be book a kind of participatory imminent critique, rendering it always part-way open or gesturing at atopia, part way self-exposing/self-disavowing? And so I come back to the question of how you're seeing the relation between the image of the feedback loop and the hope for something node-like in a living process of becoming--he would-be book?

Thank you as always Thom for your honest and constantly unsettled thinking-as-conversational, inviting, privately public...

Solidaridad, from an SF motel with no heat,

Thom Donovan said...

Lots to say, David. And the full talk, which took me an hour and a quarter to read and is not represented by MC's post, deals with these questions in much more depth. Your comment says it all though. This being what 'I' am after. A model of those feedback loops which keep things live, and which may resist the inevitable deadening pull of real and cultural capital, especially with regards to the institutionalization and archivalism of poetry (or, simple, cultural production) both within and without academic/commercial power structures. The book, when it is published, I hope will enact this problem as much as it describes or "theorizes" it. Love, --Thom