it nevertheless remains the case that the two ways of acting can be distinguished according to whether they bet on place or on time. (p.39.) Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. Print.
This is an intriguing little almost aside. Strategies bet on place and tactics on time. Today I’ve been thinking about this with undergraduate students in the integrated media subject and tried to use it to begin to prise open how we can use this to think about Korsakow films and our curriculum.
Industrial or heritage media (what was once known as ‘mass media’), even where it is time based and so revolves around programming (TV and radio) occupy time spatially. That is they treat time as place like. The simplest way to approach this is (that rasping noise you hear is the sound that happens when you shove philosophical niceties aside) that a place is always something that can be returned to, whereas time is not. We can return to the same lecture theatre each week, and it is, more or less, the same place. But it is never the same time in the sense that a different event will happen there (even if a lecture in the same subject), and that there is no real possibility of repetition. Time, in the sense used be de Certeau in the quote, is fluid, transient, ephemeral and casual. It is the time of ‘hanging out’ where you don’t’ parcel it out into measurable blocks (even if you said ‘let’s hang out for 10 minutes that 10 minutes rarely has the strict occupation of time that say 10 minutes of film, television, radio, or even examination occupies), the time of being with friends, or just doing something which is more about the doing of the some thing than it is for accounting for the time.
Industrial media, on the other hand, has to do nothing else but account for its time. Each moment is mapped, quantified, monetised and audited. Here time is not extended because something is ‘interesting’ so lets do it a bit longer, but time is made to fit into these quanities. Hence at 6pm each evening this thing is what will appear there (because it is a place), and next week, or even the next night, the same again. There are, of course, exceptions (live events) but even here we know that this is now negotiable where events are often in themselves paused to fit the place of the broadcaster (this extends from scheduling decisions through to interruptions in play). In this conception place is strategic, certain parts of the day are more valuable than others and the object is to of course maximise return for every moment of this. To this extent it is in no way dissimilar to a merchant maximising returns per metre of floor space in a mall or a store.
Similarly, when we make this media we also turn time into a place so that in the newspaper the sports section will always be in the same place, and the most expensive advertising is always in the same place, and in the film that edit will mean that that shot will always be there, each time, on each screen. The variability and difference that is fundamental to time is rendered into the repetitive sameness of place.
One way to think about making and using a Korsakow film then (as a method of doing, a way of being a networked media practitioner, and a different sort of viewer) is to realise that it is tactical in relation to industrial and heritage media. Time stretches so that viewing is subject not to the cartesian coordinates of a clear beginning and end (the film is 97 minutes long) but to the attention of the viewer, that is their interest. We are exploring ways of making that fall outside of the industrial of needing to know more or less what is to be done before it is done (scheduling, shot lists, production sheets, and so on), that if you notice something then in that moment use the ready to hand everyday to record it, for some sort of later use, finding time and making do amongst everything else. It can also be thought as a tactical in de Certeau’s sense in a deeper way, as the way we make things in Korsakow is through loose connections, fuzzy clouds of relations rather than fixed and directed relations. This might relate, might appear together, they might not. This opens up an informal space alongside the directed ‘this will be and then this will be’ of strategic media that does not choose or have to contest the self important grandness of strategic big media, it just finds moments in the margins, alongside, differently. This is one of the many reasons why it is a disruptive technology and why some of the curriculum is disruptive, it isn’t like Korsakow takes aim at something (that would be strategic) so that we can understand what it is by what it takes issue with. It’s more like parkour, happening over there not really that interested in what you’re supposed to do with street furniture, or dance, or places, but finding new uses in the time of its own doing.
This is not a no but, rather it is a yes and.
, Network Literacy
, Vogging Theory