New LoD abstract draft

I’ve finished another a draft of the abstract for “Logic of the default.” Comments (and pedantry) welcome. I’m looking forward to writing this essay, though these days I’m spending more time on “Tabling the grid.”

As part of this year’s “do new things” push, I’m working more online. I’m moving away from the “everything on the web” philosophy I used at Florida because WIU has quotas for web space and because I need to work from a variety of locations without fretting about software. (Yeah, I could probably carry around a flash drive with PuTTY, WinSCP, and Fugu, but whatever.) Right now, I think I’ll want more flexibility than the default WordPress page functionality provides, so I’ve turned to MediaWiki. Perhaps I should look more carefully at WordPress plugins; Wiki code is available. Heck, maybe I should roll my own.

On the MediaWiki side, I need to see how I can group pages. For example, I want to gather the LoD pages so that I can move through them quickly. Ideally, the process would be semi-automated. Namespaces or categories might do what I need. Time to RTFM.

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6 Responses to New LoD abstract draft

  1. Brendan says:

    Looking good. Will want to read it.

    The way you describe Manovich’s notion that users should (do?) rely on the logic of the default carries a hint of resignation as an undertone. I mean to say that he resigns to the fact that software can’t be individualized and so users should stop engaging in these fake acts of individuation. That undercurrent (which may certainly come from my own projections on your reading of LM) reminds me of Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations, in which he suggests that the only response to the obscenity of communication is silence.

  2. jeff says:

    Yeah, but that resignation really doesn’t mesh with all the wacked out shit going on right now in terms of innovation (as a better word than individualization). I’ve seen all kinds of modifications, adjustments, builds off of, etc various platforms and software setups, whether they are online like Flickr or wikipedia or stand alone.

    One part of American culture loves defaults: food, shopping, TV. Some, though not all, of the web community seems to be more up for changes and adjustments. Not Pimp My Ride for the Web, but something else.

  3. cbd says:

    Riles, part of the issue here is my telegraphic representation of Manovich, which is necessary because of the form (abstract=500 words). There are definitely negative aspects to Manovich’s argument and to the LoD in general: people apologize for not customizing, etc. This is in addition to the resignation you speak of.

    I think Manovich’s equivalent for Baudrillard’s silence is “the minimalist loft.” I’ve posted a longer excerpt from The Language of New Media which shows how that works for him.

    As you can probably guess, my gut reaction to Manovich’s “use the default” was “No way! I”m not a Microserf!” I’m still trying to figure out if I agree, both with his argument about the defaults on computers, and apropos the culture at large. Obviously, I need to broaden the reading I’m doing to understand the “there is no individualization” arguments as they’ve been made by LM and others.

  4. cbd says:

    The other thing, is that while the wider questions of defaults appeal to me, there may be better theoretical concepts which already exist to discuss certain meanings of “default” (e.g. ideology). In this line of thinking, a narrow theorizing of the default specifically for technologically articulated questions (old and new media) is more constructive than a broader conceptualization which spills over into other meanings.

  5. Clancy says:

    Interesting stuff. I too found myself wondering what was behind Manovich’s statement. Like Brendan, I heard resignation, but in a passive-agressive, petulant teenager sense. I also wondered to what extent Manovich is arguing that embracing the default is subversive, and if so, how.

    Have you seen this post back from when Clay Spinuzzi was guest-blogging for Johndan? How might the LoD intersect with the “Print Shop moment” and end-user programming?

    Another reason for the disengagement might be anxiety (“I’m afraid I’ll break it!”).

  6. cbd says:

    I think Manovich is sincere about embracing the default does offer a method of resistance. See the longer excerpt I mentioned in a comment above for a bit more context.

    Interesting link. I’ve heard another description for that phenomena, but can’t remember it right now. However, I’m less optimistic about the dawn of end-user programming than Clay. I’d love to see it, but I’m afraid that folks are just too conditioned to believe programming is “too hard.” Without a doubt, that enforces one class of defaults.

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