February 25, 2010

Interpretation of Newsfeed

Marshall Sahlins brings a curious account of history created in battles of sign-systems that get coded variously as 'events' in diverse historical registers. News-feeds on the virtual coffee-table of Facebook offers a good illustration. You evolve a sign-system of your own through photos and comments and links and friends, and bring it into a particular wiremesh (that you imagine is your social network) of other sign-systems intentionally through friends lists and privacy settings; and then into unintended/unknown dimensions of the wiremesh through leakages of privacy strategies, and comments of unknown friends of known friends, conversations of known folks in unfamiliar albums. Some of this immersion into the unfamiliar maybe intended; voyeuristic. Some of it nonchalant. Some of it feared, exacerbating, fetishised.

Thus grows a 'permanent dialectic of structure and practice'. One plugs in to construct a world according to a blueprint in one's head, plugged into a finite number of blueprints that one predicts one's own can fall in place nicely with. And also wanting in a strange fear-fetish way that unlikely ones will trickle into theirs. And then shit happens. Known travel-photos coming out of unknown sign-systems get continually interpreted along mixed metaphors and mythical realities. Histories are generated to contest and continue existing ones.