From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki



1 Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star. Sorting things out : classification and its consequences. MIT Press, 1999. (POLITICS OF CLASSIFICATION)

The authors explore the socio-political dimensions of classification systems, highlighting them as fundamental components of informational global structures.

"All classifications, including those in libraries, function according to a set of three ideals they apply a system of classificatory principles to a given set of objects; an object can reside in one and only one category; and all objects are accounted for in the classification."

The two authors see practices of listing and classifying as "ubiquitous part of work in the modern, bureaucratic state.". Assigning people or their actions to specific categories.

They present the idea that there is a tension between global standards of classification and the local application and use of them.

They add that the institutionalization of classification produces the structures we live in. "The institutionalization of categorical work across multiple communities of practice, over time, produces the structures of our lives, from clothing to houses".

2 Michel Foucault. The order of things. Panteon, 1971 (ORDER)

First of all, in this book Michel Foucault talks about Borges and how he appropriates the List of the chinese emperor's animals and explains its metaphors. He talks about the exotic charm of this weird list as an another system of thought demonstrating the limitation of our own. This list has been a key idea to me, informing my writings , readings and practice.

I am currently reading this one, therefore the connections here can be a bit vague still.

I mainly focus until now in two topics within the book: "Order" and "Mathisis and Taxinomia".

Quoting from the preface: “at one and the same time, that which is given in things as their inner law, the hidden network that determines the way they confront once another, and also that which has no existence except in the gird created by a glance, an examination, a language; and it is only in the blank spaces of this grid that order manifests itself in depth as though already there, waiting in silence for the moment of its expression "

3 Luther H. Martin (ed.). Technologies of the self: a seminar with Michel Foucault. (CONSTRUCTION OF THE SELF)

I am interested to connect Foucault's ideas on subjectivation and technologies of the self with the idea of the politics of the list and how it constructs us. Accorfing to Foucault, the subject is constituted through practices which does not find by himself but rather one finds them in his culture and are proposed , suggested to him by culture or society. "Technologies of the self, which permit individuals to effect by their own means or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality" (hardly seen independently from the other technologies of - power-production and sign systems)

Here , also connecting with t Stuart Hall, who during his "Media and Representation" lecture says that although humans share inherently classification skills, the classification systems are learnt. Therefore we can see them as means of training.

4 Soren Pold and Ch. Ul. Andersen(ed). Interface Criticism: Aesthetics Beyond the Buttons. Aarhus University Press, 2011 (INTERFACE CRITICISM)

In general the work of Pold and Andersen addresses issues of interfaces and provides a thoughtful criticism. I am interested in looking at the list in the second part of my thesis as an interface to online collections and talk about its aesthetics. Here, the cultural and aesthetic criticism approach of the authors to the interface seems relevant to my topic.

"We do not only see the world with our eyes; our seeing is also accomplished and takes effect in a way that is governed by semiotic and material media, which are historical constructions in our reality".

They also talk about interfaces as cybernetic , that include feedback and interaction. In my work, the list of searching and search results online is such a "cybernetic device" based on these two principles.

According to the authors, an aesthetic and cultural critique should be applied to interfaces.What can we understand about the online list and its effect on our experience by exploring its aesthetics ?

I am also interested in the Interface manifesto they wrote and particularly in its third paragraph, which talks about the interface as an ideological construct.