The aim of this page is to hash out, as much as is possible, some of the more personal connections that I have felt or observed between the process of writing this blog and the theory contained within it, and, more macroscopically, links between the theories of this seminar and the practices of my quotidian life. The first thing that comes to mind for me here is that the virtual expansion of time that I have dealt with in this blog (namely in the Time/Space section) is truly embodied by this blog format. Here, time is nonlinear to the point of near nonexistence. True, blog posts carry publication dates and can be arranged chronologically, but content can be edited at any time; even the dates of the posts themselves can be altered if so desired. Moreover, much of the content of these posts is actually remixed versions of material that I generated earlier in the course (which were themselves primarily remixes of famous social theorists who wrote years, decades, sometimes centuries before I did). The blog imbues this content with a sense of immediacy, rendering its initial time signature irrelevant.
This concept of the remix (which is explained via Manovich in the first entry in my Social Theory archive) is central not just to the alteration of time that occurs within this blog, but to the pure content of the blog itself. Everything that you see here has been remixed from somewhere. Beyond the work that I have rehashed from past essays of my own, none of the theories that I present here are truly original. I give my opinion on them and use them to prove points, but they are all cited back to another source somewhere. Even the aesthetics of this blog are a remix. The layout is a template that I found using the WordPress site, and the background image and others used here were lifted (likely illegally) from a Google Images search. The remixing will only continue as I fold in the ideas of my peers into this structure within the next few days. What is most amazing to me about all of this is that many of these same modular pieces can (and likely will) be employed in my classmates’ blogs, and each finished product will be equally complete, different, valid, unique, and useful.
While this process has been amazing and fruitful for me, it has also undeniably been a colossal struggle. As I write, I sit here on
my bed surrounded by somewhere between 15 to 20 different packets of paper, all annotated and highlighted and all pertaining to potentially relevant content for my blog. Add to this a multitude of virtual windows that spray out at me every time I swipe This physical picture is fully representative of the virtual struggle of organizing and presenting this blog. Molding all of these modular pieces into some semblance of a cohesive whole has been the most daunting challenge of this entire seminar. Indeed, even my cognitive focus has suffered during the writing process as a consequence of the highly mutable, decentralized material that I am dealing with. I have often found myself unable to work on one page for more than a few minutes without being forced to turn away to address ideas for additions to other pages that are exploding in my brain. At the current time, I am left with countless unfinished ideas, loose ends strewn across my mental landscape. An appropriate metaphor for my situation would (ironically) be the physically mediated experience of playing Whack-a-Mole: only just having time to “beat down” one disturbance before the next pops up. Moreover, I fear that the limitless nature of the blog structure (as opposed to the word count associated with an essay) combined with my proficiency for drudging up way more information than could ever possibly be useful for one assignment, has driven me to participate a game with too many moles for any one player to handle. I have done my best to trim back the extraneous content, to relegate overly exploratory questions to the Notes for Future Projects Page, but (to concede a cliche for clarity’s sake) I fear that I have still bitten off more of the virtual pie than I can chew. All of this discussion notwithstanding, what we must not lose sight of here is that this mutability and flux can be a beautiful thing. While essays are generally limited to monochromatic laser beams of thought, blogs function more like a full-spectrum kaleidoscope. The blog, while undeniably more difficult to organize for a linear thinker like myself, is so much more flexible and can serve so many more diverse purposes for such a wider swathe of people than a sharp, linear essay ever could.