Check out the comments on the first post to see a list of blogs that we have pulled up for your perusal. You should all have permissions to post your own response, here on our public blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Streams of conscious thought.

In this post I am at liberty to be instructive (http://smittenkitchen.com), perverse (http://www.terrysdiary.com), disjointed, opinionated, flattering, racist (http://rabidrepublicanblog.com), sexist (the blog in question has been removed but this gives an overview of the content: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/senate-hopeful-says-he-takes-full-responsibility-for-blog-posts), coherent, concise, unintelligible, witty (http://failblog.org), etc etc. Its tone and content are subject in its entirety to my personal choice and opinion, with the only consequence of my writing being the reaction of the reader to my sentiment and their resultant views on my character and intellect. Let me thus, by choice, begin somewhat anecdotally…

I was once a serial blog addict. Reading, looking and listening, not writing. It was a few years back, when I had frequently featured on a community radio show for a brief period of time in Melbourne (not quite a claim to fame) and was constantly in search for not only new music but the opinion of said music, as readily offered by trusted aficionados. I was also quite partial to building road bicycles and was consequently a frequent visitor to blogs such as http://fixedgearbikes.blogspot.com/, etc etc. These blogs served to expand my knowledge in my areas of interest by exposing me to the work and opinions of others, which in turn influenced the decisions I made regarding what to emulate, desire, promote, avoid and of course, what to play on my show.

After relocating to Berkeley, my lust for blogs in general waned rapidly and I wondered if it had just been a passing fancy. However, my interest was reignited last October when I obtained a press pass to the CMJ Music and Film Marathon (for the hell of it but really under the guise of a music correspondent for the Melbourne radio station) in New York, which is a showcase of upcoming artists in combination with shows from well known performers, held every year for one week across a hundred or so venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Over 1000 artists were scheduled to perform and I was familiar with about 200 yet would only have been able to write knowledgably about 60-ish. A definite problem for me, when trying to decide whom to see, let alone critique or interview and true testament to the extents of the global market for popular culture. ‘Trustworthy’ music blogs yet again served their purpose in informing my decisions. Interestingly, throughout the course of the event, the notoriety of blogs and bloggers was consistently revisited, from conversations with Pitchfork writers at press events and panel discussions held by major labels that targeted the relevance of blogging to the industry, to the poignant sentiment of up-coming ‘grimewave’ (a genre… apparently) avant –rap artist, Cities Aviv in the intro to his seminal track, ‘Fuckeverybodyhere’: “Fucking bloggers, you fucking made me and you’ll fucking break me. Fuck you bloggers. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck everybody here…”.

Of course, parallels can be drawn between the mode of delivery, content and function of music blogs and blogs of virtually any specific area of interest, be it kite surfing or architecture. Due to the proliferation of digital media, blogging has become a widely disseminated forum for information, and though often unique in their content and format, the majority of blogs share a number of typological or functional characteristics. For instance, there are blogs that serve mainly as a means or promotion or advertisement, such as the well-known archdaily.com or archinect.com, whom, while providing opinion via the selection of work represented, mainly serve to describe projects through the documentation of their creators. Akin to music blogs like thehypemachine.com, these showcase the extents of work produced internationally, as curated by those, we can presume, with taste. Such blogs play an integral dual role for researchers, artists, and designers alike, as a free, highly accessible means of promotion and inspiration. The second category is defined by an emphasis upon critique and opinion – the author’s personal opinions and the opinions of others as re-iterated as seen in http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/ or http://www.new-territories.com/blog/– and despite endemic subjectivity, provides validation of our own position as contextualized within the opinions of others. This typology bears closer resemblance to the blogs precursor, the manifesto; characterized by rampant opinion and polemic discourse.

As is typical of manifestoes, bloggers often make claims to speak on behalf or a broader practice or provide disclaimers to the contrary. However, unlike the printed manifesto, whereby publication and dissemination are typically tied to the writers professional, academic, political, socio-economic or cultural status, the bloggers authority is typically defined through a ‘hits per site’ basis, where a greater audience leads to notoriety- indicating that credibility is gained through popularity as opposed to expertise. As understood and clearly articulated by Cities Aviv, the influence of blogs to shape both individual opinion and the collective sentiment of a profession places authoritative bloggers in a position of power– where the influence of the blog is simultaneously coveted yet feared. However, despite their sometimes-overwhelming influence, certain qualities of the blog such as its perceived transience and often-unmediated content undercut any delusions of grandeur that may be harboured. For instance, you wouldn’t cite a blog in an academic paper unless you were specifically writing about popular culture or really didn’t know any better. The opinions expressed in blogs are typically treated as ephemeral; fleeting glimpses that can be removed or revoked at any moment. Time stamped streams of conscious thought, unique in their frequency and brevity.

Speaking of which, as blogs are typically rather short in reflection of a general attention span, it would not be presumptuous to assume that I’d lost you after the second paragraph, so allow me to conclude abruptly by leading you on some random tangent. To another blog of course as such is the nature of these things. This is the blog of a good friend of mine who is an industrial designer. It’s called Atlas and it’s pretty great if you’re into looking at beautiful things in muted, complimentary tones: http://feltednebula.tumblr.com/

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