A Last-Minute Conversation


Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 23:09:16 EDT
From: Anon@
To: /seconds@
Subject: Re: INVITATION: Photographers' Gallery: LAUNCH /seconds 1/11/05

Dear P Lewis,

The editorial statement tries very hard to establish a dialogical space that is both 'clear' and self-reflexively complex. The fundamental paradox of internet-based conversations which seems to have eluded technophiles of the web is that a network is not a community. This does not mean, as you rightly point out, that various 'voices' may not be generated, thrown and circulated among correspondents. What it does mean, however, is that the indexicality of community is unavailable for scrutiny, for the simple reason that it does not figure as a dialogical brake in this circumstance. Indexical modes of speech are deferred, rather than defeated. A new category of conversation has emerged from this technological possibility. It is neither dialogue nor script, but something else. A speech that cannot admit to truth in the hope that liberal inclusivity will fashion its own truth. The constantly deferred question of who is speaking and why belies the fact that even rhetorical truth is absent without leave. One cannot claim a space, although that is debatable insofar as technophiles always address the question of ownership of fetishised technology first, because that is all that is left to fight for, even as the battle has been lost. What is hardly elucidated by '/seconds' is this problematic of placeless and faceless dialogue. This, of course, is the 'way' of the future for some; for others, the future is merely 'shown' and ramified into a deferred analytical future. The present is an endless stream of more or less uninteresting blogs and images. The values of immediacy -- held paramount -- and 'uninterrupted' distribution are thought to be capable of what? And why an invitation to a launch, when the logical outcome of web-based discourse is the serendipitous discovery of lurking networks and ventriloquists? There is no 'depth' to your surface. That is not a criticism of your project, but a statement of the conditions of practice. A convoluted surface may look like a brain, and may be metaphorically replete, but a glance at the contents reveals another agenda just as self-regarding as any other self-publicising artist. Now, who am I? Of course, the question is meaningless, since in this regard I am but a syntactical mass deflecting or absorbing the shower of messages falling in my neighbourhood (another superseded term). We are left with deformation of a sort; yet another mirror-space to replace society.



Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 23:59:16 EDT
From: /seconds@
To: Anon@
Subject: Re: INVITATION: Photographers' Gallery: LAUNCH /seconds 1/11/05

Dear Syntactical Mass,

Thanks for your response

Peter Lewis