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Moreover, these coded pixels create an imaginary foil against which we project a relation to Rimbaud's portrait, whose expression changes depending on what we do. The effect is quite surprising. At first our gestures seem aggressive, like a breach with respect for the image of the author. We then enter into a game of exchanged "gazes" between several different kinds of representations: an absent photograph of an absent, long gone Rimbaud and us, present "in the image" by virtue of our cursor.

The experience is eerily intimate and reciprocal, embodied in very different forms that co-exist on the screen and through our gestures. Code intrudes on performance by guiding our hand; at the same time, we intrude on the image by shuffling its components. Emancipation from medium or genre is not the issue here. Articulating a unique combination of media-references and genres is, however.

A coded-sign links up to the spectator's gestures, and, in the process, attributes intent to the image being explored. In Agnes de Cailleux's Your Projection , the coded-sign structures "inter-actions" on another rhetorical level. The wreader has to stroke the window, as if it were skin, in order to conjure up, bit by bit, fragments of images and sounds. The wreader's relation to this coded-interface is not one of deployment but of a slow, erotic unearthing of potential meaning. Again, the website engages the wreader in an imaginary form of reciprocity, this time not on the scale of pixels buried within a single image, but on the scale of a hidden tree-structure orchestrating facets of multimedia content.

Code links author to wreader, who in turn gives form to code and reveals what the author programmed the device to show. On one hand, authorial intent is explicitly mediated by code; on the other hand, the wreader's gestures give shape to the author's hidden intent. Code—instrument—also instrumentalizes the wreader, who then "performs" the code. A close analysis of comprehension in digital and networked media shows that meaning springs from a program that is both anticipated by the producer and actualized by the wreader Davallon et al.

One might go so far as to say that the artist is present—in a symbolic, deferred, and virtual sense, of course—to the wreader via a programmed interface and various diverse prosthetic devices which make up for gaps in time and space. The author anticipates, the wreader actualizes, and code is the mechanism that gives shape to this joining of projections and gestures, "open" to each other.

In this sense, code resembles the Fluxus "score," also incomplete until performed and acknowledged by the spectator, become "spect-actor" Weissberg The dialogic flows contained within digital interfaces, however, remain circumscribed by a single, unifying set of instructions bound to the medium. By comparison, a Fluxus score is much more open to interpretation than any website. It leaves room for what Fluxus artists called "play"—i. Even though code can be written to run random sequences, randomness is not equivalent to freedom of choice—in particular the freedom to mix and match mediums.

Code may be indifferent to content, but it does pre-format how a wreader both reads and writes in response to it. Web-artists have been tempted to de-mystify the buried aspects of code and unveil the languages hidden "intra-medium. It shows how code works behind the "work," focusing on internal semantic differences among types of computer-code.

To disjoin code from its actualization, however, is to neutralize code, to display a simulacrum stripped of its operating value. Indeed, the intelligibility of computer code is in part a function of use. To this extent, the Internet allows for unprecedented independence from established publishing and distribution systems, including of course, those of the art establishment. Artists create, publish, and advertise all within the same medium, without having to negotiate terms with middle-men.

There is no better example of this than the website of Fluxus artist Ben Vautier, otherwise known for white hand-written messages on walls, tee-shirts, posters, and other media, as well as his "living sculpture project," a boutique in Nice crammed with paraphernalia. If one scratches where Ben itches, up pops a story by a friend of his, Gibertie. The website is not just about Ben, it is also about his world of friends, his network.

Ben the web-artist dons several hats. He's an artist, a business man, an art historian, an editor, a friend, a publisher, and curator all in one. True, this is not equivalent to Fluxus polyphony. Ben is an actor on his own stage, quoting friends, impersonating a selection of genre, media, and identities within a single medium. But he does address the Fluxus idea that a given art is a constellation of inter-actions that include explicitly non-artistic activities.

And he forces us to shift gears right along with him. As he changes his role, we change ours: when he is an art dealer, we are his clients; when he is a critic, we are his engaged readers, no longer simply perusing menus. Natural Selection , by Mongrel, a group of British artists, is a more violent parody of genre, use, and hyper-link, bringing each user's "intent" to bear on the content of the website.

Natural Selection is a search engine, mimicking Yahoo, waiting for the user to type a query that will in turn provide a unique constellation of leads. But here the signe passeur is used to subvert social code and break the link between anticipation and actualization. For one, the user's queries don't match up with expected results. Innocent key words such as "art" yield pornographic or fascist content. Moreover, by activating these key words, the unsuspecting user is confronted with her share of responsibility for bringing despicable material onto the screen. Third, targeted algorithms, also written by the author of the website, alter the pornographic content into "randomized, prejudiced-packed drivel," to quote the website's "about" menu.

Again, computer code sabotages social code—behind the screen—and the pornographic genre takes a beating. Although the pictures aren't scrambled, the text is, and the context completely skewed as a result. Is porn still porn when all the wreader's expectations can't put the genre back together again? The Fluxus dynamic, however, is not only about multi-modality, it is also about the synergy of a network of people over time. In this lineage, and with implicit reference to Fluxus mail art, Marc Amerika explores the potential literary forms contained within e-mail exchanges: ".

Is this the story? Is it conceptual? What happens when the conversants agree to let the dialogues go public? Is this an activist recording or archiving of an ultra-contemporary art scene that defies categorization? Who owns it? Who buys it? Perhaps it ' s a kind of creative mindshare.

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Indeed, e-mail exchanges among individuals are a unique form of communication. The dialogues are typographic, archived on servers, organized into folders. Dialogic threads weave a collectively authored "digital text," accumulated in time and materially embodied in many different layers of written code. This brings us back to Fluxus and Peter Frank's "grand-scale orchestration of giving and receiving" Clavez accelerated and magnified by the Internet. Here, not only is the space for intermedial play quite vast, so is the potential "virtuoso" audience.

Fluxus artist Ben Vautier sends off a weekly e-mails to his appointed audience. This much said, insofar as it sends out a message with no intent of receiving an answer, Ben's poetic newsletter matches conventional press more than poetry. It sets an agenda, imposing what is or is not newsworthy. It does not depend on audience participation in order to exist.

At stake, a type of reciprocity, which—in real time—oscillates between production and reception. Indeed, by merging both communication and representation, the Internet's peer-to-peer applications have as yet untapped potential. To quote Saper once again: "When aesthetic and poetic decisions embodied in artworks lead to a heightened or changed social situation, one needs to describe these forms as sociopoetic rather than as artworks within particular social contexts.

The social situation is part of a sociopoetic experiment" xiii. Unless it is a shared experiment, a current event is neither "current" nor an "event" in Fluxus terms, no matter how poetic its content. To the examples presented above, we would like to add two prototypes of our own. Dick Higgins' complaint that "paintings do not allow any sense of dialogue. Behind the screen, object, space, surface, and co-presence all have the same status.

All are "representations. How can one imagine who is looking at what at any given time? On the Internet, articulating the ways in which representation and dialogue overlap requires placing people's avatars center-stage. Only then is it possible to begin to organize information according to shared interests and affinities.

City Paradigms is constructed around a linear, accordion-like sound track, punctuated by animated icons over which float the names of all the site's visitors. One is not "alone" on this website: at a glance, one can spot a crowd and decide to join it. Unlike the instant feedback characteristic of video, however, the screen is not a mirror of self but a representation of a relationship. City Paradigms articulates representations of people in relation to the texts being read.

It is also a platform for an "event" to happen. If two or more people are interacting with the same animation, a figurine at the bottom of the screen offers them space to chat. The "event" is what people see, do and say together, "sociopoetically. It is an augmented chat space embedded in a graphic environment that evokes a windswept, barren landscape. In contrast to most chat spaces, Sandscript is an interesting exercise in opacity, as close a mix of dialogue and painting that we could muster.

Each chatter's pseudonym is associated with a sound, so that, like crickets in a field, the group creates a shared presence, audible to all. Pre-scripted poetic content is also woven into the spontaneous, real-time dialogue of chatters. Two hundred or so "keywords" lie dormant and inactive until a chatter inadvertently types one in, triggering the appearance of a character or a change in the graphic environment.

Each bit of information thus revealed is in turn interactive: simulated dialogs among fictional characters lead to blogs which develop the characters at greater length; animations in the sand lead to fragments of Morse Code or images; bit by bit, facets of a hidden intrigue emerge from the sand.


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Here dialog is a backbone around which information reveals itself according to what wreaders are discussing among themselves. Instead of an "object" center-stage, dialogue is the backbone of the work. Content is not revealed by a "gaze," but unearthed from a hidden database by means of the typed exchanges among chatters.

Most theatricized chat spaces—however technically innovative—create very conventional representations of real or imaginary worlds; they are not intent on upsetting reception. They seek to make the device as transparent as possible, i. Sandscript , however, hangs in the balance between dialogue and fiction.

The wreader is indeed reader, writer, and interlocutor, torn between the urge to express herself, plunged into the narrative and exchange banter with fellow wreaders. In an article entitled "Dialogue: a hyper-link to multimedia content," we discuss how the wreader of Sandscript oscillates between two different postures: on the one hand, the artistic posture of "looking at"; and on the other hand, the tool-oriented stance which "looks through.

At issue in this collective context is the nature of the signe passeur , now meant to manage the field between representation and social interaction. As we have seen, the digital hyper-linked sign straddles several functions: it is a text, a pointer, and a hinge that brings to the screen another text. Pre-programmed, the digital sign anticipates its use, re-casting traditional relations between gesture and intent, shared among author and wreader via code. In the context of an application such as Sandscript , however, the wreader is being asked to do more than participate in revealing intent via a signe passeur.

Half of the stage is covered, the other half left "blank," open to the public. The only way to "fill in the blanks" is to chat, to produce a text that will be projected on the screen, and thus "received" by either another wreader or a program, ready to respond in kind. Here, authorial intent is revealed through the wreader's ability to communicate with a mix of real-time interlocutors and fictional characters.

More or less aware of this situation, the chatter in Sandscript is—in a single symbolic field—expressing herself in "life" mediated by the device, of course all while coaxing "art" from a pre-programmed environment with the very same device. A new dialogic form is at the heart of this website, closed in by rules and open to play. The over-all effect is an odd mix of opacity and transparency meant to enrich networked representation, transformed into an event as well as a dynamic.

As we have seen, Fluxus's plunge into "life" jumbled the distribution of roles traditionally attributed to author, art-object, and spectator in the production and the reception of works of art. In so doing, Fluxus paved the way for the rapid appropriation of the Internet by a new generation of artists. Today, web-art has a pre-digital challenge to meet for which it is particularly well-suited: representation within an explicitly dialogic context.

Far from an easy task. In an article re-published for Fluxus's year reunion, Ken Friedman warns that ". A failure of philosophy is the problem. Too many artists are entranced with the physical qualities of media and unconscious about ideas. Art is burdened by attention to physical media and plagued by a failure to consider the potential of intermedia. The question is, however, not whether artists are clever enough with new media, but whether a happening is a happening if it's been programmed and takes place on-line? If its audience is scattered in space and can't smell or feel the "Aktion"?

If the event is pre-scripted by code while its audience is free to multi-task?

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Today, pre-determined formalisms structure every gesture, every decision. The change is philosophical in scope. Put bluntly, it's as if the Fluxus shoe were turned into a painting by Van Gogh and Fluxus's bold link to the outside world severed in the process. With the Internet, the circuit is media, medium, and content at the same time.

In sum, Dick Higgins's original concept of intermedia calls for reformulation. Opposition between art and life just doesn't have the same impact today as it once did. Retrospectively, one might argue that twentieth-century art has succeeded in fusing the two, starting with futurism and culminating in Fluxus "events. For intermedia to become a fertile ground for experimentation today, it must free itself of past aesthetic oppositions and situate itself elsewhere, in the field between image-signs, machine code, and bodies.

In this range of "inter-mediations," the real space of the wreaders and the fictional space of representations merge, joined by prosthetic devices such as screens, cursors and keyboards. For some, these changes are unwelcome and hamper creativity. For others, they enable new, shared forms of representation and presence, woven, by gesture, in real time and in symbolic space.

Carol-Ann Holzberger-Braun is a painter and multimedia artist. She is a graduate of Princeton University B. She can be contacted directly at carol-ann. Her field of research focuses on cultural and artistic practices using information and communication technologies. She is in charge of a research and artistic creation platform that gathers pluridisciplinary teams of new media artists, musicians, writers, and researchers in social and engineering sciences ELASTIC platform. They study questions related to interaction, forms of representation, and multimedia script and montage.

She can be contacted directly at gentes enst. Luc Dall'Armellina. Trois fils. Your projection. Whitney Museum Codedoc. Whitney Artport. Ben Vautier. Le site de Ben Vautier. Natural Selection. Marc Amerika among others! Poetics of Digital Texts. Carol-Ann Braun. City Paradigms. Timsoft, the company behind augmented chat software. Andersen, Eric. Antin, David, Jerome Rothenberg. Artaud, Antonin. Paris: Editions Gallimard, Situated Literacies, Reading and Writing in Context.

London: Routledge, Becker, Howard. Art Worlds. It opens with a personal history of that involvement, focusing on a study of the communities in a single, small university building. It then moves to the way the concept has become co-opted by those who teach university-level writing in the United States. In the second half of the paper, the original criteria as given in Genre Analysis are modified, extended, and brought more up to date, followed by some concluding observations.

By the time Genre Analysis was eventually published in , discourse community DC had become a member of a trio of interlocking concepts, the other two being genre and language-learning task Swales ; Flowerdew For most of the next few years, I did not pay much attention to the concept, but I did keep mentioning to my doctoral students that the strange configuration of units in the small building where I had my office would make a splendid dissertation research site.

However, I was unable to persuade any of the students to take it on, so around I decided I would do the study myself. The basic idea was to see whether we had three different coherent and cohering discourse communities, each on its own floor in the same building. The clock goes very slowly in the Herbarium. If a botanist wants to borrow some specimens from Michigan, he or she needs to agree to keep them for at least two years , and may actually keep them for decades. The reference books that the systematic botanists employ for keying out the plants they are studying have a shelf-life for decades.

One major project, to describe all the plants of western Mexico, began in and was still continuing up to a few years ago. In the ELI, the shelf-life of its products, typically textbooks and tests, runs some 5—10 years or so before they are revised or replaced. While in the Computer Center, the shelf-life of computer manuals, etc. So I started to look around in order to bring myself up to date. My first surprise was that the old material in Genre Analysis seemed to be very much alive and well. The Wikipedia entry, for example, opens with this two-sentence paragraph:.

A discourse community is a group of people who share a set of discourses, understood as basic values and assumptions, and ways of communicating about their goals. Another quarter consists of entries from encyclopedia-type websites such as Researchomatic and the NCTE briefs. Most of the rest are either posts from instructors expounding the concept for their composition students, or blogs from those students, summarizing and applying the six criteria to their own experiences.

How many more? Here is a PowerPoint slide from one of the more interesting instructor uptakes by Heather Wayne, at that time a teaching assistant in English at the University of Central Florida. I have added some explanatory notes in parentheses :. Using the 6 criteria, are these discourse communities? The latter was premised on a homogeneous assemblage of people who share place, background, language variety and who largely share social, religious, and cultural values.

Such communities tend to be small and isolated, such as those existing in mountain villages, or on small islands, or in desert oases. In some contrast, the former is a largely heterogeneous, socio-rhetorical assemblage of people who broadly share occupational or recreational experiences, goals, and interests. Thus, members of a DC may have different first languages, different religions, and belong to diverse ethnicities. In addition, discourse communities both influence and are influenced by the larger communities within which they are situated.

In consequence, when a university becomes established in a town, the presence of this constellation of discourse communities influences the wider urban environment; as a result, the urban environment provides services that are helpful to the university, such as cheap student housing, cheap restaurants, museums, and more bookshops, which in turn further consolidates our sense of a university town like Cambridge, Heidelberg, or Uppsala. And the same shaping forces create other kinds of town: religious ones like Lourdes, Assisi, or Mecca; sporting towns like Le Mans, St.

Andrews, or Saratoga; or government towns like Washington, Ottawa, or Canberra. In other words, both concepts have developed fuzzier boundaries as the world has changed. A third problematic area is that both the discourse community concept and that of communities of practice tend to view their objects of study through an overly idealistic lens, especially in terms of assumptions about shared beliefs, values, motives, and allegiances among its members Harris For instance, when we visit a department in the university that is new to us, our immediate impression is typically one of a homogeneous and sedate disciplinary world with wide agreements about such matters as methodology and epistemology.

However, the more we get to know it, the more it seems to be fragmented and compartmentalized, and perhaps even fractious and adversative Tannen To an outsider, a linguistics department, for instance, might seem to represent a collectivity of folks with a like-minded interest in language. However, to an insider, there are clear differences between a phonetician and a phonologist, or between those who pursue the relationship between language and mind, and those who pursue the relationship between language and society.

Sometimes, of course, difference leads to fracture. As in a number of universities, the biology department at Michigan has split into two, one dealing with micro- and molecular biology and the other dealing with ecology and evolution. Finally, like many in major U. I suspect I was always a little too practical and pragmatic for my mostly theoretical linguistics colleagues, while a little too research-minded for my fellow EAP instructors in the ELI. Since then, it has been widely used and discussed sometimes critically by scholars in applied language studies as a way of recognizing that communications largely operate within conventions and expectations established by communities of various kinds.

As this interest in the concept has proliferated, we have come to see that these communities are, in fact, differentiated by various factors, such as how localized they are, what origins they have had, and what types of activity are central to their existence. So, it is the main purpose of this section to offer a categorization of different types of discourse community; if you will, to draw an outline map of the discourse community territory.

These are groupings of people who all work at the same place as in a factory or a university department , or at the same occupation in the same area all the bakers in a town.

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These DCs have acquired many abbreviations and acronyms as well as some special words and phrases that are needed in order to get their jobs done more quickly and more efficiently—terminologies that are not used, nor even often understood, by the general public. For example, when I worked in Aston University, one of the main eating places on campus was the Vauxhall Dining Centre. When I saw consternation on their faces, I would hurriedly have to explain that I was not suggesting eating at the clinic for venereal diseases!

I know when the building is unlocked and how to gain access when it is locked, where the toilets are, and who to ask for technical help. I know which codes to use for the photocopier, and where to find certain office supplies, and so on.

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However, when I travel to another university for a conference, I do not know any of these things and, unless the signage is excellent, I will probably soon get lost. Lower-level university staff typically belong to just their local departmental discourse community, while mid-level staff may belong in addition to the communities of, for instance, departmental budget officers, who get together for regular meetings and discussions.

Members of these DCs also have acquired expectations and conventions of behavior that orchestrate their working days. One further consequence is that implicit value systems emerge which determine what is seen as good and less good work. Further, members of these DCs may get together socially outside of work, which further reinforces the community. Often, in these communities, there are apprentice arrangements such as probationary periods whereby new members are scrutinized as they attempt to acculturate into accepted occupational behaviors.

They are typically associations of some kind that reach across a region, a nation, and internationally. They may be informal groupings or more formal ones with rules, elections and paid memberships. One informal group that I belong to is Southeast Michigan Birders, and this is part of an email message I received recently:. As they flew closer to the road they swooped lower and disappeared into the woods.

Because of the open fields and time of day I suspected SEO, but thought probably not because I have never associated SEO with an affinity for landing in woods. Indeed, many types of discourse communities develop shorthand expressions, such as abbreviations and acronyms, to aid speed of communication.

Members of such groups can be of different nationalities, ages, and occupations, and can differ quite considerably in their economic circumstances and educational backgrounds. They come together because of a focus on their hobby or recreational preference. Today, these kinds of DC are much aided by modern conveniences such as email and the cell phone. In some cases, they may produce a newsletter or have some other kind of publication that is distributed among the members. In many professions, there has emerged over the years a national association that is designed to bind the members together and advance the profession in terms of protecting its rights and using its specialized expertise to lobby against what it views as ill-considered policies and in favor of those that it believes to be more soundly based.

Many of these associations have a national conference, whereby individuals from far-flung places gather together to learn of latest developments, review the latest products in exhibition areas, and listen to luminaries in their field. These days, they typically have very active websites, wherein members can receive updates and express their opinions and preferences. These are hybrid communities whose members have a double—and sometimes split—allegiance, as they are confronted by internal and external challenges and pressures.

Consider the situation of the local branch of your bank, or a car dealership in your area. The people who work in such places have both their own ways of going about their tasks, and their own conventionalized ways of talking about those tasks and with their customers. However, they also are in contact and receive instructions from regional or national offices that in part determine how they carry out their duties. In effect, they are subjected to both centripetal and centrifugal forces.

Members of such departments are members of both a local DC and a focal one. They understand how things operate in their own institution as they go about their teaching and administrative activities. Unlike outsiders, they know when rooms and buildings are locked, and where and to whom to make an application for some small amount of money. But they are also specialized scholars whose closest colleagues are likely to be elsewhere, perhaps even in other countries, and whose activities involve presenting at conferences in other places and publishing in distant journals.

As is well known, there often emerges a conflict between the local demands on their time and the focal demands on that time—a conflict that is presumably becoming exacerbated as more and more higher education institutions are pressuring their faculty to publish in recognized international journals Bennett In my own case, I am a member of the institute where I have had an office for the last thirty years, but also I am active in the wider world of English for Academic Purposes by, for instance, serving on a number of editorial boards. My current hobbies are bird-watching and butterfly-watching, and I belong to various associations that support these similar but not identical activities.

In the past, I was a member of a focal DC that brought together a very disparate group of people who were interested in the postal history of Hong Kong, about a hundred philatelists from some twenty countries. As we move from one DC to another, our verbal and social behavior adapts to the new environment, but I do not believe that this necessarily implies that we adopt new identities, or that we are somehow merely an aggregation of different personae.

Unless, of course, we are spies or under-cover agents. My beliefs about this were brilliantly exemplified and with an astonishing economy of words, including but a single opening verb by Alexander Pope:. See the same man, in vigour, in the gout; Alone, in company; in place, or out; Early at business, and at hazard late; Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate; Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball, Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.