Promiscuous Relations (thinking about relational media)

Extract from today’s presentation I gave. The talk will be online in next day or so:

This granularity, and tagging as the facets of things, creates a promiscuity of internal connections. This promiscuity is compounded by Flickr’s porousness to the outside, where anyone can add their stuff, and so ever new facets and relations necessarily arise.

This is a relational promiscuity that, to repeat, begins to shift from an artefact centred model — the photo — toward its role as relay and intermediary amongst a variety of social, communicative, and technical networks. This is not what we generally value when we talk about digitising existing physical collections. Hence, in Flickr, and certainly the Circus Oz archive, there isn’t really an archival ‘object’ as all its media becomes a relay and material for the series that they will always find themselves assembled by.

This is also a relational ecology, though I think ecology risks being suggestive of something holistic and bounded. While there may be individual images that really matter, it is much more about the relations that happen between my terms and those images, and between those images and their manual and computed collections. Their silence as things in relation to what collections and relations they may find themselves within is the strength of a platform like Flickr and the Oz archive, and why its objects remain always porous and available to new relations.