John Kelsey’s article in last September’s Artforum, with its criticisms of digital networking, combined with some comments from my friend Scott Lyall, provoked me to take a step back and ask what it is I’m doing here. This post is late, but the response is still current.
Most popular blogs are compilations, or offer some other kind of usability—I just put out my own ideas. In any case, there is a huge difference between blogging, which is basically journalism, and Facebooking, which is enthusiastic co-operation in a giant marketing system. In what way is what I am doing different from writing for Artforum? Of course “Robert Linsley,” the voice that you hear speaking out of these words, is an artifact of the technology, and a fiction, but that’s not new in any way. That it is a less enlightening, and much less entertaining voice than say…Felix Krull…is an aesthetic problem, not a world historical crisis of the disappearing subject. I think that the form rubs against the context in some small way—I don’t compromise my writing to meet the demands of so-called SEO. There is software that will alter one’s writing for maximum Google placement, I don’t use anything like that.
Maybe it is a little bit perverse to send out one’s ideas into nothingness, but no more perverse than writing a newspaper column. The real perversion here is that the labor is unpaid, like most work in the digital economy. Admitted, I take pleasure in doing it. But…it has to serve some purpose. I thought the posts could be notes for a book, but a blog has a centrifugal nature—its deep form is the tangent, or digression. The longer I write the less likely it will make one book—maybe two or three, but that’s impractical.