Making Things Public I

Ok, I’ll not try to summarize how Latour outlines his idea of Dingpolitik — (that we do not have hard facts, but matters of concern & that it’s about how publics gather around an issue, how an issue is a ‘thing’, not a fact but a gathering together). He uses of course etymology and refers to the Icelandic Thing — the parliament — to describe what a thing is; I’ll not go into the important role of mediation, of deliberation and yes, rhetoric; I’ll just say that I find this redefinition of politics very exciting and very clear. It also makes me pick up the texts that he refers to, specifically Dewey’s The Public and its Problems — Dewey being a favorite of mine ever since I read Art as Experience.

I’ve spent lots of hours in the shady garden in Kanne, going through every page of what N. calls ‘the brick’ (the catalogue). No I did not read every word, but at least I’ve seen every page and I’ve read a good deal of the articles. Sometimes I put a post-it on a page, sometimes with a few words scribbled on it. I’ll go through those ‘bookmarks’, harvesting the quotes…

‘Gathering’ (coming together, collecting): how — I thought — is that connected to the current technology around blogs…. rss (our own, personalized collection), gathering of different bits of content through keywords, using folksonomy; how Technorati (etc.) aggregates content; how even search engines do this. A blog collects bits of writing (and images, and links, and keywords) and people (readers) and other blogs. But the content is also collected, harvested, gathered.

I’m not stating anything new here — I’m trying out the words, and try to think (or visualize even) the different layers of mediation.

When I do this, I’m actually also going back full circle to what is probalby one of Latours many starting points for Making Things Public: the issue network-research of Noortje Marres and Richard Rogers, that lead, in any case for N., also to the rediscovery of Dewey’s ideas about the public, and how publics gather (form) around an issue.

I somehow like to tie that in to current webtechnologies and current practices of online writing too. (Speaking as a blogger, blogs as partial conversations, blogging for oneself, publishing without a public, yet one’s texts are gathered, and most importantly maybe — bringing in rhetorics — the ‘ethos’ of the blogger).

Well, maybe it’s also sort of tying it (‘my thoughts on blogging’) into the politico-philosophical discourse.

Just thinking aloud. // Some quotes then…

“The cognitive deficiency of participants has been hidden for a long time because of the mental architecture of the dome in which the Body Politik was supposed to assemble. We were told that all of us — on entering this dome, this public sphere — had to leave aside in the cloakroom our own attachments, passions and weaknesses. Taking our seat under the transparant crystal of the common good, through action of some mysterious machinery, we woudl then collectively endowed with more acute vision and higher virtue.


Unfortunately, much like the Tower of Babel, those ‘palaces of reason’ (…) are no longer able to house the isssues they were supposed to gather.”

Remember how ‘messy’ is the world of blogs…

Bruno Latour, ‘From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik’, in Latour & Weibel (eds.) Making Things Public. Atmospheres of Democracy, ZKM / MIT, Cambridge Ma, 2005, p. 30

blogging,en,quotations,research,ubiscribe | July 20, 2006 | 20:20 | Comments Off on Making Things Public I |


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