I work with so many Web 2.0 applications I forget them so this post as an update on what I am still finding useful after 4 years of uploading, posting, tagging, linking, etc, using digital technologies including proprietorial (EndNote, Adobe Creative Suite, Windows) and open source (WordPress, Flickr, Delicious, Slideshare, Picassa and a myriad of Google products). Although my resources are meant to be shared, these technologies help me to trace how a my own cartography of mind organically evolves. They also serve as a mnemonic devices, a virtual memory palace.

Endnote1 is still my preferred entry point for new reference material and the easiest to search. I’ve created a library just for 2009 but this can be easily integrated into my entire library. I would like to add all of my timeline entries into Endnote as I did with Inuit Social History, Museology, etc. I need to have precise ethnoclassification first so I can find them.

Notes

1. I had hoped to replace this proprietorial software with another open source but I have been using EndNote since the early 1990s. My post Zotero versus Endnote is still one of my most visited.

Webliography and Bibliography

Shortlink for this post http://wp.me/p1TTs-im


In an article (2008-07) entitled “Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Web” published in Association of Computing Machinery’s journal Communications Hendler, Shadbolt, Hall, Berners-Lee and Weitzner bemoaned the fact that the Web was under-researched and recommended a systems approach to enhance understanding of the Web itself and its continuing social impact, model the Web as a whole and improve engineering of the future Web (Hendler et al 2008-07).

Internet studies focus mainly on technological and monetization aspects. Even the semantic web is geared towards search engine optimization as a market tool.

This illustration, hosted on Flickr, was featured on the cover of the July 2008 edition of Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)‘s Communications magazine. It accompanies the Hendler et al article (2008-07). Generative artist Marius Watz [1] uses programming languages to create graphics like these: Communications of the ACM 51.7 – Story spread & “Communications of the ACM 51.7 – Cover image”. Art direction was by Andrij Borys Associates.

Communications of the ACM 51.7 - Cover image Communications of the ACM 51.7 - Story spread 

(Thank you to Watz for use of his images.)

Watz explained, “I don’t explicitly use the rhizome as a model, but many of my forms are based on emergent growth and the interaction between agents governed by simple rules. My interest tends towards the aesthetic rather than the academic, so I generally use whatever models produce interesting behavior.”

Watz’ images resonated with what I have been attempting to do with slow world technologies such as Adobe Photoshop where I combine layers of images of neurons, as a rhizomic metaphor, with constellations of nodes on the Internet placed manually. This process is really an attempt to represent an object that is static which is not the case with the Internet (or the brain’s neurons and synapses). In a sense I am attempting to visualize my own use of the Internet, particularly the emerging semantic web where we redefine older terms and invent new ones to describe what is being done in the name of the Internet in 2009. It is a form of cartography or decalcomania using the trope of the rhizome. Deleuze and Guattari (1987:12) remind us that “a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model. It is a stranger to any idea of genetic axis or deep structure.”

Conversations on this ontology of knowledge management is being indexed under numerous categories, tags, ethnoclassifications, folksonomy, taxonomy . . .

From Dendrons1440x900.2008

My motivation for seeking out rhizomic metaphors comes from the work of French philosophers in the 1960s such as Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze who, through their politicized philosophy of difference, developed concepts of consciousness or mind and new forms of thought, writing, subjectivity that are useful for understanding the non-linear, open-ended space of the Internet.

Philosopher Gilles Deleuze and clinical psychoanalyst, Felix Guattari co-authored Anti-Oedipus (1972 [1983]) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980 [1987]). They proposed an “art of living” that embraces hypertextual and hypermedia processes.

Like Nick Lilly, “I hoped that the “primary tropes used by Deleuze and Guattari (the rhizome and tree: rhizomatic knowing/being and arborescent knowing/being) would provide me with a way of getting at key differences between a print-literate consciousness and a e-literate consciousness”. So in my own digitages I sought out images from life sciences as templates to create my own customized rhizomic cartography. They are intended as complex visualizations and are highly subjective. Because they are developed slowly as layers, they are in a way unending and constantly changing.

Arborescent knowing/being is represented in tree diagrams that are genealogical whereas rhizomes are anti-genealogical (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:21). “We should stop believing in trees, roots and radicles. They’ve made us suffer too much (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:15).”

“The tree comes to symbolize the distinction between subject and object, between signifier and signified, encompassing the whole of dualistic logic through its branching patterns, through its definitions of set pathways between root and branch (Clinton 2003).”

In A Thousand Plateaus (1980) Deleuze and Guattari challenged modern beliefs in hierarchy, identity, subjectivity and representation. and promoted principles of difference and multiplicity in theory, politics, and everyday life (Best and Kellner 1991).

However, Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the virtual defies representation as a visual image and must be imagined as a field of dynamic forces. Even generative software-based visuals like those employed by Marius Watz [1] cannot visualize that which will not just be but is constantly becoming something else, as it the case of the Internet.

Deleuze and Guattari are concerned with complexity theory, scientific research into self-organizing material systems. In their early work they focused on a materialist study and intervention of self-organizing material systems – systems without hierarchies resulting in a de-centered rhizomic network which (Protevi 2001-11:2). called empirical geophilosophy. According to Protevi (2001-11:2) their empirical geo-philosophy has an explicit political dimension in which they examined hierarchical systems where one body is dominated or domesticated by another, stereotyped reactions are implanted, exploitative procedures developed and implemented and territories are formed. In contrast, Deleuze and Guattari summoned a new earth with new relationships to the creative potential of material systems to form de-territorialized de-centred rhizomic systems where free bodies are formed with multiple, shifting and increasingly intense internal and external connections.

Deleuze and Guattari’s distinguish between virtual and actual wherein the virtual is the threshold where behaviours change and the actual refers to constituted bodies with elementary particles with observable properties and (even predictable) traits, tendencies and patterns of behaviour (or aggregated results of simple behaviors) which can be consciously recognised and therefore represented. The virtual refers to potential transformations or transcendence of material systems and elude represented as their properties of bodies, entities, singularities evade conscious recognition. Virtual singularities are irreducible, self-differentiating entities whose properties are emergent not static (Deleuze and Guattari 1968, 196?). They shape shift with increasingly intense internal and external connections. While it sounds chaotic, it isn’t as the virtual realm has regional ontologies which provide its own taxonomy and systems of categorization.

Notes

1. Generative artist Marius Watz works with generative software-based visuals (therefore he is a generative artist). In an interview he described generative works as open systems that unlike machines or paintings, are not finished. “Generative works are ”open“ in the sense that the artist does not completely control the process, but allows other factors (whether randomness, external sensory output or user interaction) to affect the output. It is of course possible to create ”closed“ deterministic works, but most generative artists enjoy the aspect of giving up a certain amount of control (digitaltools).”
He is based in New York and Oslo, after 5 years in Berlin. “Generative art is an art practice where the artist creates a system, typically a piece of software, which is either used to create a work of art or constitutes a work of art in itself. Generative art describes a method or strategy, rather than a specific style or medium of work. The form of Generative Art that most people are aware of is software-based visual abstract art, with artists like C.E.B.Reas, Lia, Jared Tarbell etc. being the most visible exponents. This work is abstract, visually complex and non-representational. Typically, it will be purely digitally generated, with no ”natural“ origin” (digitaltools).”

2. Rhizome as a metaphor for the emergence system, the Internet:

“The rhizome is an anti-genealogy ( (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:11).

“[The rhizome] is a short-term memory, or antimemory. The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots. . . . the rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system without a General and without an organizing memory or central automaton, defined solely by a circulation of states (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:21).”

“A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo. The tree is filiation, but the rhizome is alliance, uniquely alliance. The tree imposes the verb ‘to be,’ but the fabric of the rhizome is the conjunction, ‘and . . . and . . . and.’ This conjunction carries enough force to shake and uproot the verb ‘to be’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:25).”

“Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:7).”

“Principle of multiplicity. . . . Multiplicities are rhizomatic, and expose arborescent pseudomultiplicities for what they are. . . . A multiplicity has neither subject nor object, only determinations, magnitudes, and dimensions that cannot increase in number without the multiplicity changing in nature (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:8).”

“Principle of asignifying rupture: against the oversignifying breaks separating structures or cutting across a single structure. A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:9).”

“Principle of cartography and decalcomania: a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model. It is a stranger to any idea of genetic axis or deep structure (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:12).”

From Desktop

 

Webliography and Bibliography

Watz, Marius. 2008-07. “Communications of the ACM 51.7.” Communications. Association of Computing Machinery: Advancing Computing as a Science and a Profession.

Best, Stephen; Kellner, Douglas. 1991. “Chapter 3: Deleuze and Guattari: Schizos, Nomads, Rhizomes.” Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations. Columbia University.

Call, Lewis. 1998. “Hypertext and the Postmodern Pedagogy of the Enlightenment.” The Journal of the Association for History and Computing. 1:1.http://mcel.pacificu.edu/history/jahcI1/Call/hypertext.html

Clinton, Dan. 2003. Annotation: Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. “Rhizome,” in A Thousand Plateaus. Theories of Media. Winter 2003.

Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Felix. 1972 [1983]. Anti-Oedipus.

Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Felix. 1980. Mille Plateaux.

Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Felix. 1987. Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 1976. Of Grammatology. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Guattari, Felix; Deleuze, Gilles. 1968 [1994]. Trans. Paul Patton. Difference and Repetition.New York: Columbia University Press. Review by Alex Scott.

Guattari, Felix; Deleuze, Gilles. 196?   The Logic of Sense

Hendler, James; Shadbolt, Nigel; Hall, Wendy; Berners-Lee, Tim; Weitzner, Daniel. 2008-07. “Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Web.” Communications. Association of Computing Machinery: Advancing Computing as a Science and a Profession.

Protevi, John. 2001-11. The Geophilosophies of Deleuze and Guattari. Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG). 

Roderick, Ian. 1998. “Habitable Space.” Space and Culture

Speechless @ 100,000 visits

November 23, 2008


Knowing that this blog begun in November 2006 has now reached its 100,000 visit left me speechless. I believe my first blogging experience was with Flickr in the fall of 2006. Since then I discovered the interconnectivity of a rhizome of 2.0 technologies.

Over the past few hours search engines sent visitors to this site to find answers for these queries: “Treaty Seven timeline” (2), Jennifer Naglingniq (1), “dangerous concepts for a business economy” (1), “ripples” (1), bringing the blog into six-digits.

Creative Commons

I uploaded my layered .psd image entitled Creative Commons to my free Flickr account on October 22, 2006. It was viewed 43,393 times and 23 people call it a favorite.

I believe I uploaded this image to Flickr on October 22, 2006. By January 2009 25 people tagged this image as a favorite and it had been viewed 46, 003 times. Because it was one of the earlier images I posted in my Flickr account, once my free Flickr account hit the magic number of 200 images, this one and many others are no longer visible on my photostream. However, since it is well-tagged and linked to this blog and others, and has been highlighted and used by others through the Creative Commons Licensing, it is still being found through searches!

The more recent revised version Creative Commons II is still available on my Flickr photo stream .

Creative Commons II

I know a pro account would bring these missing images back into the photo stream, but I do not want to take the risk of album deletions, etc. And my cyber experiment has been with open source and free accounts.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/89488115@N00/276344173


ReadWriteWeb highly recommended this new Firefox add-on called Juice:

I have come to trust ReadWriteWeb authors’ suggestions and I am giving this a try. In the end I do not add a lot of tools to my everyday web use but we’ll see if this one becomes part of my daily media breakfast . . .


which world religions get excluded?

Washington Post's blog On Faith: which world religions get excluded?

When I began to become enraptured with Web 2.0 I wanted to find ways to use intelligent, emerging instruments from the semantic web to continually improve findability and search optimization of resources I had gathered over many years, even if my own PC broke down and all my back up systems failed, and my own memory became faulty, or . . . I had hoped that blogging would help me remember where I put things that might someday be useful again.

The catalyst for “Folksonomy: optimizing soul searching” was a question regarding how absent categories impose their presence through their very absence. Faced with closed field category/subcategory options offered by Digg for example, under which I had to place my article, etc I struggled between philosophy or society, finance or economics, environment or politics.

I have also found it enlightening to find under which categories my own Creative Commons blogs, articles, posts and images might appear.

As my own sites grow organically, my categories and parent categories constantly need to be reformulated; new tags added and others deleted or merged. The goal is efficiency and elegance in the ungainly word of “findability” or search engine optimization, potent instruments in the semantic web.

At times I am frustrated by the absence of categories that exclude entire populations and conversations. Recently I came across a site hosted by the Washington Post. In their About page they describe how they use the limitless space of the online world to host a blog entitled “On Faith” which invites “intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful,fruitful, intriguing and constructive conversation-among specialists and generalists about the things that matter most, religion, the most ancient of forces, the most pervasive yet “least understood topic in global life.”

I read comments and the post from David Grant, a junior at Virginia Tech who commenting on his visit to the Baha’i gardens in Haifa,Israel-Palestine (which has recently been named as an International Heritage Site) remarking on the broad reach of the Baha’i religion. “Where else on Earth could you find a family from the Bible Belt, a pair of South Africans currently working in Japan, and a crew of Peruvians all heading to say their prayers at the same spot?”

I wanted to search “On Faith” for more strings on the Baha’i but realized that Baha’i World Faith was not offered in their pop-up menu of “List Posts by Topics” which did include: Anglican, Atheist/Agnostic, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Earth-based Spirituality, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Native American religion, Protestant, Quaker, Sikh, Taoist, Wiccan.

As of February 2008 there were 5,000,000 Baha’is in the world and 159,692 Baha’is in the United States. I couldn’t find a figure for either Taoist or Wiccans but one site at least claimed that in 2001 there were c. 34,000 Wiccans in the US.

Baha’is promote tolerance and moderation and are anxiously concerned with the social issues of the time in which they live. Baha’is around the globe contribute to civil society at locally, regionally, nationally levels on issues and programs related to World Religion Day, interfaith relations, religious freedom, Race Unity Day, race unity, elimination of prejudice, advancement of women (CEDAW), human rights, among others. Baha’is have offices at United Nations as NGO are are prominent in international forums as invited participants acknowledged for civil moderate behaviour in the most volatile situations. Recently the U.S. Bahá’í U.N. representative Jeffery Huffines received a Friendship Award for his work “promoting cultural understanding throughout the world and at the UN Headquarters” and for serving as a “positive, guiding force” to all. It is surprising that Baha’is seem to be largely absent from this forum.

The categories offered under “List Posts by Topics” are confusing since some are parent categories for the others. The Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants and Evangelical are all followers of Christ and are all therefore Christians. Which discussions take place solely under the name of Anglican, Mainline Protestants and Episcopal? In terms of the semantic web it would be far more useful to provide a theme-based “List of Topics” that is inclusive of all the groups and religions mentioned. Tags could be used to facilitate searches for a Quaker, Sikh or Baha’i or Catholic perspective, for example. I would recommend that the blog architects revisit and update their taxonomy using principles of folksonomy: what users do with words.

Years of working with research materials leads to a way of thinking with categories, subcategories; key words (tags); abstracts, descriptions, key concepts, timelines, references in .eml or similar formats. The semantic web revs up that process with powerful tools. So my blogs are always a work in progress, process works.

My own personal blogs are experimental and while I am very conscientious about what is here, I can claim no professional authority in any one field.

At this time in my life I feel as if I live outside linear time. Blog stats soar up suddenly for no apparent reason on a blog posted weeks or month ago. So I tidy it up a little. Then the graph drops sharply again with no apparent reason. I don’t need to try to control it.

Outside linear time, I could just pick up threads begun months ago on Milton Friedman, the social history of Inuit, media objectivity or what we do in the name of such concepts as “memory work” or “everyday life.” Through creative commons I could share all my teaching, learning and research resources without having to shorten them, tidy them up or make them ready for someone else’s deadline. Take what you need and leave the rest. I would still work as hard as I could to maintain my own standards particularly in investigating , acknowledging and referencing sources of information, images, etc.

As I am creating, writing, coding, snurling, twittering, blogging, and uploading to wikipedia, social bookmark accounts, my blogs or others’ etc I have absolutely no trust in anyone.

I post knowing that anything I have shared can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, misread. It can be rejected, ignored, criticized. It can be copied and pasted without my name attached. I license all my work under the Creative Commons License 3.0 SA-NC-BY but I know it cannot be enforced in most cases.

So why bother?

What I do is not based on my need to trust others in cyberspace. I do not feel as though I am an embodied link in an embodied network in linear time and space.

This is even more than that. If I use the semantic web effectively, a searcher who is not “now” from a geographic location that is not “here” can still find my arrows, my markers, hotwords and icons, index-mouse-clicks that might just help them a little in their search. Maybe I will be that searcher.

It is more important to me to work hard at providing information that is not misinformation, trying hard to be as close to the truth as is possible, to use the most powerful arguments from the most reliable texts available to me at any given time.

I am not an anthropologist nor a journalist; I am definitely not a churnalist. My responsibility to me and therefore to others in this network or not, is to post that which I believe to be useful in a way that allows others to follow a trail of truth claims should they choose.

Thirteen years ago Francis Fukuyama in Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (1995) questioned predictions that the Internet, the computer to computer communication network, unleashed from restrictions imposed by its creator, the Department of Defense, would herald a new organizational network constituted by small firms and individuals that would prove to be superior to large, hierarchical corporations and anarchical market relationships (Fukuyama 1995:195). Fukuyama argued that network efficiency depended on reciprocal moral judgment [1], “a high level of trust and the existence of shared norms and ethical behaviour between network members (Fukuyama 1995:195).” He contrasted the necessity of that network users share social responsibilities and obligations with hackers and other users who were “free spirits hostile to any form of authority . . . vulnerable to certain forms of normlessness and asocial behaviour.”

Fukuyama furthered argued that the Internet is a community of shared values using the concept similar to Shumpei Kumon’s notion of “consensus/inducement-based exchange.” He felt that Internet users in the 1970s and 1980s (mainly government and academic researchers) internalized unquestioned shared values. The Internet could be kept low-cost if users respected certain ethical standards.

In 1994 two lawyers broke the Internet’s code of ethics and bombarded news groups with advertisements for their services (Fukuyama 1995:196). The lawyers were not breaking any written laws and were not shamed into retreat. However, the sheer quantity of hate mail they receive, forced their server shut down.

Although the monitization of all things Internet is well underway, there is also exponential growth in cyberworld capital [2] which like cultural capital or academic capital can facilitate access to certain privileges. I am aware of ways in which users of social networking sites strategize to optimize search engine findability, to increase their hits, statistics, and cyberworld capital.

I am not certain if the success in accumulating cyberworld capital or monitizing all things Internet is made more efficient by trust?

Notes

1. Fukuyama compares network as community concept to the Japanese concept of keiretsu and its western reincarnation in American conglomerates like Gulf + West + ITT. keiretsu depends on a high level of trust.

2. Some measure cyberworld capital in terms such as “authority” as with Technorati. Others self-identify as A1bloggers.

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