...Or at least the wordy ones are...

That is my problem too.

It becomes a problem when you force poets to get paying jobs as "regular" writers...Their artistic sensibilities escape, leak out into the lines that are supposed to be writing about someone else's art, not creating their own.

But do we really need to lock them into a cage? Maybe the way to get rid of all bad writing about art is to refuse anyone but poets to write about it. Then we don't have to worry about communicating over-theoretical, power dynamic-laden, canon re-creating, self-indulgent text that manipulates the opinions of audiences before they ever (if ever) even experience the work themselves.

But then where does the function of "intellectual labor" come in? How can we turn a dime by knowing how to twist a few words into an expression that produces an effect with the same impact of tangibility that comes with sight, touch and sound?

And here I am reminded of lyrics by Tori Amos that summarize this outburst of frustration:

"I guess you go too far when pianos try to be guitars."


No Way Out

Art as background images for book covers

In my intertextuality class last semester I made a case for the circulation of artist images in non-"traditional" art venues/mediums as a source for creating intertextuality, or what marketing calls synergy -- the linking together of products/images/artworks/etc in an individual's mind that informs her/his experience of the company/artist. Marketers hope that synergy will lead to the development of product preference, and later, nearly unaware and impulsive [like muscle contraction], product purchase. I believe that there is also something unconscious happening to our perception of artists and artworks when we experience them in other venues, like on the cover of books. Whether or not we know the image is of an artwork, the image is still imprinted in our memory, creating the opportunity for making an intertextual connection between that previous experience of the image, and a later one.

My case study: Damien Hirst. I am not going to go into all of his strategically brilliant examples of mastering his own synergy, however I am going to make note of one particular example, the cover of Will Self's book How the Dead Live.

Now, Amazon has two different versions of the cover, one hardback and the otherpaperback...both of these US-release version don't have the cover I'm discussing...The UK paperback release had Hirst's 1991 work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a rather appropriate piece given the topic of the book, but also since Hirst and Self are often viewed in British media each as the "bad boy" of their mediums.

Self included an interview-style conversation with Hirst in his book, Junk Mail and has commented on the High Art Lite scene of which Hirst is considerned not only the President but also a client. Not so coincidently, they are both members - and have been kicked out of - the infamous Groucho Club in London (a place not unlike NYC's Soho House; the pool was in an episode of last season's Sex and the City, fyi).

Hypothesis 1: Synergy/intertextuality, directed by flow within media and social networks, increases the cultural capital of the artist and economic value of their work.

Or, as Hirst said...

"It's about minimum effort, maximum effect, and people who work and play in a way in which you can't separate one from the other..."

Another example that got me on this subject today... Edward Burtynsky, and his 1996 work, Nickel Tallings No.34 . Analyzing my own "intertextual" experience of this artwork, I first saw the photograph in his exhibition at the Canadian Embassy.

And today, I came across the book This Overheating World and immediately made the connection. I don't know if the publisher licensed the work or not, but the images are too similar to avoid making a link. The meaning of this intertextual relationship? It is different for each individual.
How did I find the book? Randomly...a funny thing happened on my way to blog today, which made me think of this artwork [the only image I could find was this adaptation of the work] --- I can't remember where I saw it, nor can I remember the artist's name, but I found the book at this site when googling the artwork's title.

What was the funny thing that started all of this? A squirrel was digging in the dirt by the sidewalk. Normal, right? Looking for a burried nut, one would assume. Except that there was a hypodermic needle right by where the squirrel was digging --- Who knew that the squirrels of our nation's capital are in such a desperate state?! And, ironically, this was all taking place near the bushes of the St. Stephen Catholic Church.

Hypothesis 2: Google is a spider weaving the intertextual web of >online< experience.


One-liners and Drive-bys

Tyler at MAN contemplated his recent NYC gallery walk on his blog today, musings that I have myself been thinking about for a while now...He asked for comments...So here they are:


Tyler: "...Such is the problem with much conceptual art: Once you grasp the idea, you often don't need to look at the art."

This is what I refer to as a "one-liner," an artwork that creates its presence less from its visual representation and more from a singular concept that drives the experience of the work. [I wrote about this back on 1/25/04 at collected works]

Think of it as the "low fat" version of milk or ice cream or [insert your favorite food here] -- something essential from the original is missing, but after you get used to the taste of it (skim milk versus whole milk), you don't realize that the product you are consuming is a fundamentally different experience from the original. After months of drinking skim, go back to drinking whole milk and it tastes completely different -- almost sickly thick, creamy and too heavy. Gross! Gimmie the skim again and save the whole milk for the grannies!

Working from this metaphor, consider the long-term impacts of consuming fat-free or lite products...How is it messing with our digestive systems? Consider the digestive system as the parallel to the part of the brain that derives pleasure from the experience of artwork. What are the long-term consequences of experiencing these one-liner artworks? How does that mess with our expectations of artists and artworks?

Cliffort Geertz called for thick description in ethnography writing, putting anthropologists to the task of achieving a deeper understanding and reading of the meanings embedded within actions observed in cultures. A multi-faceted reading of an artwork is nearly impossible with the one-liner since it simply does not provide depth beyond a single concept.

Hypothesis 1 – Much of the one-liner art is from a younger generation of artists, those that are receiving as much accolades -- without thick criticism -- as are many of the pop music stars of today.

Hypothesis 2 – Why the one-liner version of conceptual art? Perhaps these artists are unconsciously demonstrating what happens when you grow up with your experience informed and indoctrinated by the language of advertising. Maybe the one-liner is the artistic manifestation of the cut-to-the-chase, low-fat, one size fits all, have it your way, join the low carb revolution, get it while its hot, advertising message.

If we are getting an advertising slogan from one-liner conceptual art, does that mean that an exhibition is like the “stuff” between sections of a sitcom, a conglomerate of commercials?

Is walking from gallery to gallery like channel surfing on a lazy Saturday?

Tyler: "Everyone who looks at a work of art subconsciously puts it to a test in the first three-to-five seconds they look at it. I know I do. For me it's a very straightforward test: Do I want to look at this? Is there something here to keep me visually engaged?"

Do we stick with this channel or move on? Do we let the one-liner message seep in? Do we try to derive something more from a commercial or do we just get the logo imprinted into our memories, and to the company’s hopes, conjured up later?


Tyler: "As I sat on the train, I wondered if the nature of the Chelsea crawl, 30-40 galleries in six hours, creates or contributes to that. Or does it just discipline the art-goer to look closely and recognize what s/he already likes?"

Is gallery-going turning into a drive-by experience? Or perhaps more fittingly, a Drive-Thru experience, one Big Name Artist to go, Super Size the video art fries and make it a medium Triple Thick One-Liner Shake…Oh, you don’t do the Triple Thick? Okay, give me a lite Coke, I mean, Diet Coke.

Pace. Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon can tell you that pacing is essential. If the pace of everyday life is about cramming everything you can into a tiny window of time…

[multi-tasking in the car: eating a breakfast bar while driving to work, listening to your sister’s latest crisis and giving advice on the cell phone, planning what your post-work activities will be]

…how can we expect that won’t impact our should-be slower activities and experiences, like gallery-going? Even the name for the activity, “gallery-going” is an active verb acting on us. Replacement? No suggestions right now.

Is all of this a serious red flag, an alarm to answer to? Maybe not...Until I hear of TiVo partnering with the Guggenheim...

Coffee today: Double cup, one sugar, and yes, some heavy cream, save the skim.


It's been a long time...

I've been off-line for both deliberate and unintended reasons. So, here's a running list of the things I've been thinking about - a lot - over the last week:

1. plasticity - genetic version and chemical engineering
2. love, and the need to have a lack there of right now...
good good good article
And, per my favorite author...(Milan Kundera in Laughable Loves):

"My loves are a stage upon which nothing is happening."

3. writing and DJs...okay, so this topic has been in my mind for months now...might post some recent writing on it, later...

4. Weak Social Bonds and network theory...Part of this is the six degrees of separation thing. Ironically, very ironically, Kevin Bacon was in a movie on the tv that was playing in the background during a weekend charades-like game I was forced into by some friends visiting from out of town...The game and the recent relations between me and my friends from high school got me thinking too analytically again...

The game was played by a friend during a corporate retreat and brought into our ever so exciting Friday night activities (yeah. quiet long weekend. much needed after three days of working with a metal brake).

The Game: Each player puts four names of characters or people on four separate sheets paper. These then go into a bowl. The group is divided into teams. There are three rounds to this game. The first round requires that each player from each team uses as many words as necessary to describe the person on the paper selected. Once that name is guessed by the team, another paper is drawn, and this continues until a minute and a half has passed. Then it becomes the other team's turn. Each name guessed is another point (obvious goal: be the team with the most points at the end of three rounds). Second round requires that the person that is "it" (like in $25,000 Pyramid) describes the person using only two words. The third round consists of gestures only - no words - to describe the person.

What I observed that was really interesting to me (and my overly intellectualizing mind; annoying, I know) was how quickly the names of the people were reduced to singular entities -- their "essence" was minimalized to a simulacra-like advert slogan, a one-liner. And this "one line" became learned by all, regardless of the team, throughout the three rounds.

Example: Janet Jackson and Lil Kim. You can guess what the gesture was to visually depict Jackson. Early on we learned that Lil Kim had a similar breast-baring moment in some other popular televised event a year or two earlier (I can't recall which one, but again, that is unnecessary because all I needed to know for the functioning of its place in the game was the highly contextualized one-liner that was made of Lil Kim -- not the history of the event referenced or a deep knowledge of the person for that matter). So, quickly after round one, Lil Kim became known in round two as the "Other Boob." Both teams shared this representation and in the third round when a breast-gesture was made -- Jackson, then Kim, were both thrown out in succession as potential answers to the clue.

Another example was British actor Cillian Murphy, unknown by most in the room, but after the reference to Killian's Red was made, he became the "beer guy" and the gesture of pounding and slamming a pint. Since this game was played by eight people, it was fascinating to watch and see which ones of us had the more competitive short-term memories for these one-liners...and the more effective skills for communicating, not the individual's references, but rather the references that would be most understood by the members of their team. All and all it was fun exercise in observing social interaction, group learning and game theory in action.

5. What the hell is going on between my sister and I?? We are four years apart, but the generational difference is huge. What constitutes such a large gap despite the difference of a relatively short period of time? I got into a conversation about this over the weekend...I've thought about this before and hypothesized that it has its roots in the speed of technology that is different today from prior generations...increasing speed brings more rapid cycles of fashion which influences the formation of value systems, which to me, are the visible loci of generational differences. A way to measure this? Who knows. I get really frustrated by the difficulting in translating theory to "real-life" experimentation and research. Again, another reason that I'm looking forward to this internship at the Smithsonian - ethnographic research, something formal to ground a highly theoretical experience in CCT as a "culture" person...Ah, I always complain about that program...I wish it would just admit that it wants to be a technology/policy/business program and get on with it. Regrets, I've had a few...

Note: Sinatra makes a nice accompaniment to metal bending and cutting. Oh, and Coors Light helps too. Yea for Jersey art-making vacations.


DNA finger prints

Today I smiled as I read the ending of the City Paper's article on artist Sylvie van Helden's show at Elizabeth Roberts Gallery.

Quote from the City Paper:

“I would run DNA samples through electrophoresis gels and you would get a striped pattern…That was a long time ago.”

I have had no previous experience of this artist’s work directly – Yet, now I’m intrigued to see her work that was, in passing, mentioned to me as “The Pasta Show.”

Her description of the DNA extraction processes brought me nostalgically back to the lab I used to work in, also a long time ago: smooth black laboratory tabletops I used to scratch pencil marks into…the smell of mixing nearly odorless liquid compounds that over time would solidify into a almost clear gel…the squishing, sucking noises that would eek out of the gel once it hardened and the spacer comb was removed, leaving perfectly rectangular wells to hold the DNA samples. I still have photographs of the resultant DNA chains containing patterns in a seemingly foreign language: bright white lines, or weaker, fuzzier stripes, depending upon the concentration of nucleotides.

The entire process – from extraction to sequencing — is time intensive and requires exacting patience, much like etching and lithography; both can be considered a science and an art. In the end, you are left with two forms of documentation (or, “evidence” of the performance of sequencing – yes, I mean that in the sense of performance art): one is a sequencing of the arbitrarily named but logically positioned nucleotides [lists of A, T, G, C symbols for nucleotides, like hieroglyphics] and the second is a photograph representation of the DNA chains separated by length in the electrophoresis process, a light-painted portrait of the sampled DNA. Both are equally abstract, minimalist and difficult to access their meaning without a substantial amount of training and knowledge specific to the field.

Now, I’ve alluded to a number of art traditions in the last paragraph, deliberately so. Genetic engineering, for quite some time now, has been represented in the mass media, along with other technically-oriented scientific advances. And, for a while now, artists have been incorporating the techniques in their productions, with their philosophical concerns riding along in the sidecar. Two artists I can think of off-hand whose work I’ve seen are Marc Quinn and IƱigo Manglano-Ovalle.

Since work like this is being produced, and curators, writers, etc. have to explain it to audiences – in text and orally – how are these explanations being derived? Are courses in genetics, biotechnology and other sciences becoming a required part of the coursework for art history majors/curators in training? Or, is it assumed that faced with materially challenging work, like that of Quinn or Mangalno-Ovalle that the curator/educator will do what they usually do – Research? Yes, except that now curators will be accessing the science libraries and journals first, perhaps. But how clear can these texts be to the traditionally art-trained? Science has its own linguistic register just as the art world does. How challenging is the translation?

Again, I return to the question of the education and training programs that are producing this generation of young curators and art writers. It seems that art is being used to access science at both the primary education and university level, but is that true for the reverse scenario?

NOTE: the link on the word "university" goes to a biology course syllabus. I was extremely disappointed to not see my favorite -- Mark Dion -- listed. From this neglect, I assume that yet again we have evidence of academia ignoring the larger societal implications of their projects (which Dion's work addresses directly).

I didn’t see anyone I knew from my biology or chemistry classes in art history courses, nor would I expect to…my suspicion is that these two fields have yet to truly converge. As my next project for the journal gnovis will explore, interdisciplinarity is not as common or easy as those that use the highly-touted buzzword believe.

Additional reading from this morning which fueled this:
The “Third Culture and Disciplinary Science
, by Micheal R. Allen.

“The literary intellectual who inquires into what is written or thought about the physical world is also studying, through discursive reference, the physical world. That intellectual also studies the literary work of scientific intellectuals, who, after all, write and talk about their work. The scientific intellectual also studies not just the physical world, but also the discursive one. Theorems and data are all encoded in discourse that other scientists must refine or replace. Scientific paradigm shifts are much like linguistic paradigm shifts: they are a change in how reality is defined and perceived.”

This quote makes my final point nicely. Literary intellectual, or art historian/curator, both access other disciplines (in this case, science), in order to communicate an idea about their object. To truly capture the conceptual depth of some of the contemporary artwork that deals with genetics and other “hard” sciences, a discursive language must be understood and used in order to capture how this type of contemporary artwork–like a scientific paradigm shift—offers a change in how reality (and its art forms) are defined and perceived.



My friend, Kate Sandhoff, just emailed me with a great site that follows up on the issues of late. Check it: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk

Kate is a manager at Accenture who is currently frustrated by the repetition involved in performance reviews, citing the characteristic phrase of "pro-actively seek out" as an example of this language virus at work in the corporate world. She writes, "doesn't pro-active and seek out mean the same thing? Yet, all the PFFs (Performance Feedback Forms) I read say this. It's like you feel you have to write it in a certain way because that's how other people have written yours. It becomes almost a competition of who can out-do the next, to confuse everyone!"

I respond to this with the email I sent to Tyler last night in reaction to the fusebox press release:

quoted from the press release:

"In his paintings Whitmore employs the aesthetic vocabulary and improvisational working methods of cathartic abstraction, tempered with glimpses of effete subject matter; fairy tale illustration, rococo decoration, and Victoriana. The result are potent works in which formal issues challenge content for supremacy."


"I'll take OBSCURITY for six hundred."

"And the answer: Another Daily Double.

"Well, I am indoctrinated with postmodernity by my graduate program, Alex. I'll wager one thousand dollars, the approximate cost of one credit at Georgetown University."

"Okay, and here is the clue. This word has not been used to describe art since its addition to the Webster Dictionary."

"What is 'effete,' Alex?"

"That is correct!"

"No, really. Alex. Tell me, what is 'effete'? I must have been skipping class for happy hour at the Tombs that day!."

A few final, summarizing points on the discussion of the last two days...

NOTE: If you're just getting to this, you might want to start with the post from 2.04.04 below.

The emergence of a postmodern register in contemporary writing and speaking about art has spread to dominate the ways in which we textually or orally frame the artwork we encounter. Many of the words of postmodernity have been invented or mutated from their original meaning by the authors of their theories --- words like, abject, text, interdiscursivity, simulacra, etc. These words have gained legitimacy as postmodern theory has come to dominate academic disciplines concerned with cultural studies via the node to node travel and replication of them within those social networks (much like the spreading of viral DNA [1] [2] [3] [4] from host to host; everyone connected by the network eventually gets sick).

Eventually, the sickness spreads into other networks or fields of relations over time, like the spreading of disease from continent to continent; students indoctrinated (inoculated) with the postmodern register travel from the ivory tower and inhabit various nodal positions in other fields/organizations such as galleries, museums, art magazines, auction houses, etc. In these new “bodies” or areas of the network, the viral language continues its replication, gaining legitimacy in those spaces as well. In any field, legitimacy is access to acquiring power, or cultural capital that improves your position within the network. Thus, commanding the postmodern rhetoric as a curator or writer grants you status in the art world.

However, as examined over the last two days, the language of these theories can deteriorate and lose the substantive tie to their original (often complex) theories. The words become vacant, and fail to communicate any tangible, useful data; “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Thus, the node-to-node transmission of data fails as well. Instead of communicating information, the words convey a thin veil of institutional legitimacy, some bit of power that elevates the object to which it is describing, the artwork and artist’s own place and status within the network. The words that constitute the postmodern register become simulacra to themselves, signifying nothing.

NOTE: Here I’ve flagrantly used a theory to describe the crisis-like condition of theory in language. Inevitably, the snake eating its own tail rears its ugly head in argument, if only to say, isn’t this all just useless?? An awareness of your own role in reproducing this language is absolutely necessary.

And so a potential conclusion/consequence?? Maybe the individuals within the network will rally against the inoculation of this non-communicative way of speaking about the objects that give the institutions of the art world its meaning (and jobs). In an outcry, we might try to kill off this type of language, attempting to destroy it by eventually getting at its roots in academia. Maybe. Regardless, it is the power afforded by its institutional legitimacy that must be thwarted.

But what would be next? Who will write the new language? What will it sound like? How will it feel? What will it communicate and how?


Continuing from yesterday...

...Today I had the fortunate experience of reading an essay for an upcoming show of Jason Gubbiotti's paintings at Fusebox. Let me begin with a caveat: this is not a blast on the gallery or the writer. It is merely a timely demonstration for a portion of my argument. < ! -- And, in many ways as a student and writer about art myself, I too struggle with the very issues I am describing here. -->

The essay has the expected hallmarks of any art essay:

  1. “a hail to the artists of the past” or, the placement of the artist within the canon of art history. This is the art world equivalent to amazon.com’s website feature, “Customers who bought this book also bought…” (Hey, we “academics” do it too! Just take note of the “dead guys” I’ve mentioned in my blog).
  2. a treatment of the artist’s methods and materials, though more and more, technique seems to fade in the spotlight…Now, a conceptual framework structures how the art work is known and experienced more than the materials with which it is constructed.
  3. and the final, most distinguishing characteristic is the linguistic register, or “art speak” that is peppered with the rhetoric of postmodern theory which inevitably entangles the artist and work in a fishnet web of language that seems nearly vapid in actual valuable substance.

Reading essays like this forces me again to address the struggle I fight in my own writing; I wrestle with the training I have as a product of my own educational background. The language of theory that populates the classrooms of art history majors, curatorial training courses, and any discipline focused on cultural studies, is unnecessarily obtuse. For the business-side of the art world that was rattled by the product-less, conceptual art of the seventies, adopting this isolating way of speaking about itself and its products (artists/art works) gives it a protective cocoon. I hypothesize that it is even responsible for privileging issues of class to continue in the art world. Simply put, if you don’t have the educational training ($$$ hello student loans!) to master the complex obscurity that structures the sentences used to discuss an artist’s work, then you are positioned as an outsider to the system. >>scroll down on this page to read a linguistic approach to the insider/outsider impact of language<<

Education, Bourdieu (and other sociologists, linguists, etc.) argued, is the primary way we are socialized after the family. Academic disciplines (re)produce themselves through the ways in which they talk about the object of their study, the language (or, linguistic register) of their field. With critical theory having lived a VIP lifestyle in academia for decades now, it makes sense that we would observe a correlation between the language used by academics and their students post-graduation, out in their “real world” places of employment as curators, writers, etc. A whole new generation of theory-trained students have earned their degrees and are now taking over the artworld, mutating the language of the field as a consequence of their own devices. Like a person's genes exposed to tanning beds, the mutation is slow but inevitable, with periods of definite punctuated equilibria.

SIDEBAR: As I mentioned, I really am going to pursue these ideas further for my graduate thesis. Having recently picked up a copy of Terry Eagleton’s book After Theory, I have a new way of positioning and exploring my own somewhat skeptical, slightly bitter, questioning of the theory I myself have come to know (and love, in many ways) through formal and informal education. Having read just the first two chapters, I am already on Eagleton’s side (so far)…but there’s time for more of that discussion later.

Again, back to Bourdieu… an individual’s ability to master and successfully use the language of his/her field demonstrates an individual’s linguistic habitus; it conveys his/her cultural capital, or, relational position of authority in the social network. Language = Power.

If the written (and spoken, too) word is how information about artists is communicated from network node to network node (*see yesterday’s post), then what is really being communicated by a language that is seemingly deliberate in its positioning of the general audience as outsiders? Words only communicate when the receiver of the message understands their meaning. **There is more to be said on the impact of this type of data traveling through the network, but I’m going to save that for a later date.

So, as writers, we are faced again with the Beginning Journalism / Academic Writing 101 lecture concerned with:

AUDIENCE. Who are you trying to satisfy? If its collectors, do we need to make a buyer dictionary so they can weed through this postmodern rhetoric? If it’s the artists, are we effectively representing them if the vocabulary isolates and conceals the meaning of their work? It seems we are writing for others that are trained in a similar educational background. In so doing, we continue to keep “the masses” at bay, out of art galleries and away from spending their money on good art by young artists that need the support. As academics, how can we make our work relevant to the outside world, so that when we take on teaching posts, we do not use the same Pedagogic Authority that we have experienced ourselves?

PROPOSED SOLUTION: Shift the language out of the abstract and back to the tangible. Use the experience of the senses to talk about artwork; if you can smell the olive-like thickness of the paint or hear the water being lapped up by a shore-lined painting, say so. Use sentences and words that create a visual, or some other sensory experience, in the reader’s mind. Of course, this is perhaps too much of a poet’s band-aid to the issue. So, like most academics and cultural critics that react rather than respond, I will slip away into the sleep of the night, picking this topic up again at a later date.


Can theories become signs for themselves (and progress to becoming simulacra)?

I propose that they can. So can people, as I argued in Warhol as Simulacra.

The background for making this statement comes from a lot of personal observation >>pseudo-ethnographic research<< of people in various fields (academic, the art world, business world, etc.) interacting with each other. Now, I'm going to use a bit of theory to talk about how a complex theory experiences degradation into a simple signified, like chemical compounds into atoms.

Social Network Theory is perhaps the best model for explaining the social arrangement of individuals from a communications perspective. Individuals exists as nodes in a network and their relation to others within the network is based on a number of capital forms (a la Bourdieu): economic, cultural and symbolic capital, which all contribute to the creation and maintenance of social capital. Since Bourdieu, there has been evidence to believe that the main currency form for any of these types of capital -- the true atom of exchange -- is data or information. When information flows through a network, like data transmitted via the internet, it travels most quickly (speed=efficiency in this model) when it is in its smallest form, the most minimum derivative possible that still contains the essence of the information being communicated. For example, web developers will place a handful of thumbnail images on the main page of an online photo gallery. By using thumbnail images -- smaller, lower-quality versions of the original, the photo gallery site loads faster and individuals accessing the site can browse to find what they are looking for in a much more efficient manner.

In conversation, we often use language that reveals our educational and cultural background -- our linguistic habitus -- which itself changes given the context from which we are speaking. In linguistics, this is called a linguistic register (for example, "doctor speak" or "legal jargon") and having command of this register within particular contexts, or, in certain temporal and spatial network configurations, adds to our overall social and symbolic capital; if we communicate our product effectively with appropriate command of the business world register, we are more likely to make that sale or win that potential client's trust. The trust is earned because in literally "speaking the same language" we see ourselves in the Other (Lacan: "There I am!") with whom we are communicating and this (mis)recognition confirms our existence as individuals in the world.

So, enter postmodernity and its theories of fragmentation. Enter interdisciplinarity, and the growing opinion that it is now a preferred methodology to pick and choose what we like from across any discipline in order to serve our own hypotheses and research needs.

As a researcher trying to cull together an interdisciplinary approach to understanding communication policy, we are reading copious amounts of theories from many different arenas, some of which are completely new and foreign to the three (including myself) students and professor working on the project. Ambitious? Yes. Feasible? Yes. Without potential "invisible" consequences to the theories employed? No.

EXAMPLE FROM TODAY...We have been reading about Multiple Stream (MS) theory which describes how certain policy issues get on the agenda, and how decisions are made. Having read the chapter three weeks ago, we came into today's meeting looking to see how the theory fit into our overall theoretical framework for the research. I re-read the chapter just prior to our meeting, preparing to defend my suspicion that the complexity of stream theory had been lost over the past few weeks and that a nebulous, tiny fragment of the full theory had taken its place. I was right. Instead of remembering or accounting for some very crucial nuances embedded within the theory, the idea of the theory, its sign, had come to be circulated within the minds of the individuals and in our conversations. Our four-person network had elicited a deterioration of the theory that, without serious attention to its detail within our book, could have gone on into the minds of the readers of our research as merely this stand-in, this simple sign. This would be dangerous because once an idea enters into network exchange, it travels as this atomized, data form which in turn populates itself into each of the nodes on the network that comes into contact with it. So, a watered-down, simulacra like form would only perpetuate throughout the network.

-----More on this later....Yes, this will be a major component of my thesis...


A few short announcements...

1. A long weekend off of blogging due to a Jersey adventure.

2. Final interview at the Smithsonian today -- wish me luck. Interesting development that makes me even more interested in this internship

3. Finally finished my edits to my paper which is now published on gnovis

4. Yes, I did agree to be the writer for the gnovis "Interdisicplinary Toolbox" piece. I'm writing the abstract this week.

That's all for now...