Networked Media - Week 5

08 Jun 2017

In Postscript on the Societies of Control, Gilles Deleuz critiques Foucault’s disciplinary societies, noting that many of the examples fit in the context of 19th and early 20th centuries but don't necessarily hold up today. I agree with this criticism, especially Deluez's comment that "the corporation has replaced the factory, and the corporation is a spirit, a gas." While Foucault's description of the disciplinary society is apt for hospitals, museums, etc, Deleuz provides an accurate update that takes into account larger post-WWII forces such as globalization. It is especially interesting, given that Postscript was written in 1992, how Deleuz's framework still rings true in the Internet age. Perhaps there is a larger connection between the mechanisms of choice/control embedded in globalization and the changes brought about by the internet. One common thread is marketing, which Deleuz "centre or the 'soul' of the corporation," and can as a defining feature of the late-twentieth century economy (think Mad Men), and has taken new life in the internet age one of the primary ways of generating income from internet traffic.

In The Digital Ephemeral, Wendy Chun discusses memory in the digital age. Chun raises issues around "digital memory" and our reliance on social media companies and other tech companies as reliable stewards cultural heritage. As someone who works on the digital side of the cultural heritage sector, this problem is something that we are accutely aware of but no comprehensive solutions have yet to emerge. Much of the current work revolves around identifying and scoping the challenges, such as how to accession an author's papers if those papers are now hard drives. Do you preserve someone's Recycle Bin in perpetuity? Do you keep email with bank information or other personal/sensitive info that's not necessarily connected to their ouevre?


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