out of all the people in this world that i half-understand, bruno latour is by far my favourite. ‘visualisation and cognition: drawing things together’ is my favourite academic paper by far, where he explains in no small part the western world by tracing the practice of using bits of paper. ‘aramis, or the love of technology’ is one of my favourite books, which transcends the genre of ‘look at this team of people working to make their dent in the world’ in the most amazing ways that just won’t make sense in summary. at it’s extremes you go from reading straight technical documents to hearing a train philosophise.
the thread that runs through these is that rather than gesture about society, technology, culture and other abstractions, if you want to do something productive in the world of those terms, start at the manifest phenomena in their tiny instantiations and build up. its quite a shift in world view, but i’m signed up - hence looking at the ‘liveness’ of live events through what is exposed by people as they experience the event.
so being able to attend CHI and hear latour give the closing keynote was a gift. not that i’ve entirely wrapped my mind around what he was saying, to put it mildly: WHAT BABOON NOTEBOOKS, MONADS, STATE SURVEILLANCE, AND NETWORK DIAGRAMS HAVE IN COMMON: BRUNO LATOUR AT CHI