Thursday, January 03, 2008

As the Page Turns II

The new year opens with META/DATA being the Book of the Month reviewed at The Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies edited by David Silver and run out of the University of Washington San Francisco. RCCS is generally one of my favorite review venues for cybercultural books and features writing by emerging artists and scholars in the new media scene.

Here's an excerpt from the review by artist and scholar Vika Zafrin:
META/DATA is both a retrospective and a series of arguments all meant to be made today, with histories of varying duration. Amerika is a remixologist, he re-presents arguments born in early writings over and over, adding to and rephrasing them; META/DATA gives a strong sense -- and record -- of theory's evolution through practice.


Amerika presents himself to us as a "Tech*know*mad whose fluid Life Style Practice captures consciousness in asynchronous realtime and is forever being remixed into One Ongoing Text Exactly" (56). Thinking too hard about the precise terms Amerika uses, many of which he doesn't quite define, is detrimental; such passages seem to create a certain mood rather than expect the reader to follow an academic argument. The artist accomplishes the very difficult task of giving readers a sense of his internal state and its constantly morphing interplay with external stimuli. He proposes that the fluid creativity and responsiveness he clearly achieves consistently is more widely available than one might think: "Being avant-garde may be the primal state we all live in but are conditioned to ignore so that we can slog away inside the bureaucratic superstructure of consumer culture and its devout attempts to keep us aware that we are ON THE CLOCK" (70). To combat this, we are invited to consider the words of Henri Michaux, himself both writer and visual artist: "There isn't one me. There aren't ten mes. There is no me. ME is only a position of equilibirum. An average of 'mes,' a movement in the crowd" (74).

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