Friday, September 26, 2003
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Bucket of Books

Charles DeGeorge's Young Aristotle, now in the Orsay, was a hit of the Salon of 1875. It's one of those sculptures from the racy Victorian era that we can hardly see anymore, now that the fundamentalists are in charge.

Boy Aristotle sits around on a nice morning. He doesn't bother to dress properly (lucky us), he doesn't sit properly, he's just reading from a bucket of books.

My talk at Paris 8 on Software Aesthetics was, I think, a complete failure. The big issue may be that I've got a fundamental problem with the argument that I'm unable to see. The mid-size problem may be that I'm ignorant of French, and that's a larger obstacle than I'd realized.

But a very real problem is that there seems to be no place to speak about new media where we can safely assume that we're all familiar with the relevant bucket of books. This is very bad. I'd assumed, by now, that at a specialist conference I was safe referring to Joyce and Aarseth, Landow and Manovich, McCloud and Laurel. How can we stand on the shoulders of giants -- or on each other's shoulders, if not giants are handy -- if we haven't done the reading?