[NetBehaviour] stone fence

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri Oct 2 21:07:09 CEST 2015

Dear all

the conversation, now just having seen John's reply to Ruth, moves me but I doubt what I would say now resonates with much; 
except that I feel I understand and much appreciate John's argument, and it is so well put, this image of the sliding scale
and the ageing.  

I also follow Annie, and thus would answer Randall in the same way, I like the (old) maillist, and though as subscribers we receive too
many mails, I try to read when I have time and follow, and like Ruth I much appreciate the networking and the sustainability of a certain
continuation of exchange, between friends or people interested in the things we are interested in discussing here. Many if you here
I don;t know personally, some I do.

But John points to something that (in my own melancholic way) I feel is being lost more and more, those "relationships that are the most proximal to us. From there it
procedes outwards, ripples on water: the praxis of intimate momentary life --mediated only by the body"  which may very well be also those
that we built or committed to when younger and moving about more, or those we cling to in our teams (say, my performance ensemble). I do fight
for my ensemble, for sure.

Ashamed to say, Furtherfield can't be far away (when I am in London and at work), 45 minutes, an hour?  but i have little time, teaching
and working with my lab company, the projects, and their management, the private commitments, the house repairs, maintenances,
and all manners of things one still tries to do and cannot; I am less and less capable of sustaining energy, and I also had (expressed here 
last month) less and less hope. 

So John defended me last month when I commented on the refugee crisis in Europe and on my 
feelings of despair that my good intentions were meaningless; Randall had requested that artists must stand up for change and
feel that art or meda art can make a difference, against the "erosion of the basis for empowered living."   I had only spoken
of my inability to tear down the fences in Calais.  And going to the village next to mine to donate food, it didn't make anything
better, rather (loooking at what happened a week later in Budapest when refugees were c oncentrated in the train station, when
talk of concentration camps reopening for refugees begins, when the camps at Calais were bulldozed, when borders are drawn up again
(let's not have borders someone said here), rather it seemed to be compensatory of guilt.  Then I wonder how tiny our radius becomes.
Guilt should grow proportionately.  Yes I should offer help to Ruth and Mark
and come over to Finsbury. And protocols, John, we are facing so many  many when working still in institutions and they slowly destroy
our idealism or knowledge, the ruins of schools. 
 You moved to the hills I hope.  When we move out, does the proximal then also slide?  or have you found it stronger now?

Johannes Birringer

From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org [netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] on behalf of John Hopkins [chazhop at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2015 7:00 PM
To: netbehaviour at netbehaviour.org
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] An interview with Geert Lovink

Hi Ruth!

some musings...

> I do not agree John,
> With you argument we would refuse to read books too, because they don't spring
> from someone we can see and touch.
> for better or for worse the human drive to communicate always has us reaching out.

This was a more general critique (or maybe simply a reminder) of where we are,
where we've been, and that these protocols exist on a sliding scale. Books are
definitely on the scale, (Imagine a life with human contact only via reading
text on paper?) So it is not an absolute, as we are already, at birth, on that
sliding scale that (some would say) started with the transition from oral to
written language.

It is only such that evolving techno-social protocols (text-based communication,
telephones, SMS, mobiles, etc) become norms that often never get questioned once
a large fraction of the population have adopted (or been coopted to adopt) the
protocols. Maybe I'm being ultimately retro and showing my age, but I want to
keep questioning any/all evolving protocols (while also including ones that were
normative to me and pre-dated my arrival on the planet as well...) For example,
as someone who was heavily invested in the mail-art network back into the early
80s, I used the postal network protocol as a means for cross-linking and
participating in a sizeable international network of folks.

> My relationships with the people who I meet in the flesh are enhanced and
> enriched by those maintained across digital networks and vice versa.

Of course, you are quite right ... that is where we are in the present moment --
distributed selves having established distributed lives because of the ease of
quite phenomenal (and energy-intensive) travel and tele-communications
possibilities. Again, this mobility is on a sliding scale -- even if I could, I
wouldn't want to be visiting all my international network of friends every few
weeks as it would take a terrible toll on the body & the planet -- driving,
flying, time zone changes! Once around when I was 20 years old, I calculated to
that point in life I had spent 100 24-hour days of my life in a car, traveling
at 55mph/88kph.

> After all I think you and I have only met once in physical space and yet your
> writings and conversation add an important ecological sensibility to my world view.

consumated, consecrated, yet distant! ;-)

> Rather we need to coordinate better in good faith to create tools and community
> for mutual benefit and to resist inequitable and alienating forces where we meet
> them.

The fact that a Mailman-driven platform persists reflects on the average age of
participants here -- old enough to have found this protocol a useful new tool
that fit our evolving life-styles; likely too old to be sustainable via another
set of protocols. I would prognosticate that the character of the dialogue
carried by the 'list' will not survive a radical platform/protocol shift. I've
seen numerous other distributed 'networked' communities implode as a result of
protocol changes (sometimes they evolve and adapt, but this is rare).

Resistance to alienation I think needs a core that arises from the life
arrangements and relationships that are the most proximal to us. From there it
procedes outwards, ripples on water: the praxis of intimate momentary life --
mediated only by the body -- is the source, the driver of all empowered change.
When I am sitting in a room with other humans and the more and more frequent
instance arises where they are 'not there' because of their 'distributed' life,
I feel an erosion of the basis for empowered living ...

Having said all this, with a simple (cheap) GoDaddy account, you can make &
manage Mailman email lists to your heart's content (so far!) -- if you are
experiencing provider issues... Oh and maybe a change would fix that incredibly
annoying problem with some netbehaviour users -- that we do not receive our own
postings! argh! :-0


Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
grounded on a granite batholith
twitter: @neoscenes
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