[Sigcrit-l] sigcrit news; _Machines that Become Us_

Ron Day ronday at wayne.edu
Tue Apr 29 00:51:00 EDT 2003

Some of you may have wondered why the "virtual SIG," SIG-CRIT, that you belong to is not listed on the ASIS SIG website (http://www.asis.org/AboutASIS/asis-sigs.html ).  To be honest, I don't know.  I have written Dick Hill several times about this.  Many of you know what a battle we had just to get as far as being allowed to form a "virtual SIG".  Personally, though I am sad that others don't know about us, I find it rather amusing to belong to a "secret" society within the society.  Sort of like that other critical theorist/librarian, Georges Bataille and the journal/secret society,  Acéphale. (We might remember Suzanne Briet's description of Bataille at the Bibliotheque nationale in her alphabetical memoir: "Beautiful blues eyes and a bovine face...but as an English reader once said to me, [in English] 'Why are pretty boys always so stupid?'")

I'm sorry to have been slow on passing on news from other lists.  Between the recent war and other things, I have been rather overwhelmed and the other lists have been rather dry.

Things seem to be picking up, though.

As many of you may know, the recluse French writer and philosopher, who formed an intellectual bridge between Heideggerian phenomenology and Derridean poststructuralism, Maurice Blanchot, died on Feb. 20th at the age of 95.  And Stan Brakhage, the famous avant-garde filmmaker died on March 11.  I remember seeing Brakhage when I was at SUNY Binghamton in the mid-1980s.  He was sort of rambling, probably because he was drinking out of flask while addressing the audience.  The only thing that I remember him saying was that loving people was not difficult; what was difficult was loving only one of them!  But, the films were very interesting.

Some of you may be interested in the collection of essays in the book, _Machines that Become Us: The Social Context of Personal Communication Technologies_ (Transaction Publishers, 2003), edited by Jim Katz at Rutgers.  Despite the rather Deleuzian/Guattarian title, the book is largely grounded in empirical research on its title topic.  The volume contains some rather interesting essays, too, however, on tattoos, ICT embedded clothing, fashion, etc. written by a small Italian woman contingent at the conference in 2001 from which this title issued.  Katz writes in _Machines that Become Us_  that an earlier title, _Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance_ (Katz and Aakhus; Cambridge, 2002) contained earlier papers on this theme which Katz has termed, "_Apparatgeist_."  Leopoldina Fortunati (author of _The Arcane of Reproduction_ and who, for the past 10 years has been writing on ICTs, particularly from a feminist perspective) who attended the 2001 conference has written me that Erlbaun is to publish soon the first of the conferences in this series that followed the theme of ICTs and the body, _Mediating the Human Body_.   I assume from the title that the book will be in English.

Ron Day
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