Where books are closed on the outside and open on the inside, digital texts put this relationship in reverse order. The openness of the digital text—that it is hard to know where its contours are—contrasts with a performed inaccessibility that also belongs to the networked text. There is always something “out of touch” about the digital. Consider Kenneth Goldsmith’s online Soliloquy (2001), which was initially published as a printed book consisting of transcripts of his digitally recorded speech over the course of a single week. In the online version, words on the screen only appear when touched by the cursor (the electronic finger) and then only one sentence at a time. Every time we move the cursor to illuminate another sentence, the one before it disappears, just as the one after remains invisible. Like a jellyfish, the textual whole slips through our fingers.
This is not to imply that digital texts are not at some level “there.” This would be to fall prey to the “virtual fallacy” (computing culture’s equivalent to Ruskin’s “pathetic fallacy”). Digital texts are somewhere, but where they are has become increasingly complicated, abstract, even forbidden. We cannot see, let alone touch, the source of the screen’s letters, the electromagnetically charged “hard drive,” without destroying it. Unlike books, we cannot feel the impressions of the digital. The touch of the page brings us into the world, while the screen keeps us out.
There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.
Spielberg and Lucas predict massive implosion in film industry:
People simply have a limited amount of time, said Spielberg. “We can’t expand the week. We can’t expand the 24-hour cycle. So we’re stuck with so many choices.” The enormous amount of available content has pushed movie studios to be more conservative, banking on the power of event films to break through the white noise of a crowded marketplace. “You’re at the point right now where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a real shot at the brass ring,” he said, “than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal — and even maybe historical — projects that may get lost in the shuffle because there’s only 24 hours.”
I have a general sense of most of what is here, although there are some corners that have things that I have not examined,” Johnson said. “Probably there are some things that nobody has examined for a hundred years or so.
Behemot proudly presents the newest shipment of great books at great prices. All these are already neatly filed on shelves.
I’ll start adding them to our online shop next week. See you around, each working day afternoon, from two to eight. Take care!
These computers are different. They don’t help you accomplish tasks with programs and apps, but rather they very literally augment the experience of living your life. The technical problems facing these devices are tough ones– ambient computers need to be intelligent enough in software and advanced enough technologically to get out of the way. Glass isn’t there yet. Not even close.
A long time customer-friend send me a link to this interesting article about France’s culture minister “attack” on Amazon:
France’s culture minister has attacked Amazon, the online retailer, for deliberately undercutting traditional rivals to create a “quasi-monopoly”..
..Calling Amazon a “destroyer of bookshops”, she added that she was considering a ban on free postage offers and a current regime of allowable 5 per cent discounts on books.
The only thing I don’t understand is why they use so many quotation marks. What Amazon does is even worse than “dumping” and the monopoly that they are after is even worse than “quasi-monopoly”. And, yes – they are a “destroyer of bookshops”.
I absolutely agree that Amazon should abide by a certain set of rules. First of all – they should pay taxes. Secondly, they should improve working conditions in their sweatshops. And, yes, maybe they should even stop using books as a loss leader for their other merchandize.
While it’s true that France (like any other non-English speaking national state) can protect their own book-selling eco-systems (“exception culturelle”) – I still think that there’s nothing we can do to prevent Amazon from ultimately destroying the English language book-selling eco-system.
The Book Depository (established in 2005 by an Amazon drop-out and acquired by Amazon in July 2011) will ship any English language book at a dumping price to any place on Earth.
Good news is that I approach this shit from a new angle. I understand Amazon as an agent of change. No doubt – an evil, right wing agent of change. But, the truth is: it forces us, mainly small booksellers and small publishers, to think in new creative ways. It polarizes. And that is good.
About a month ago I shared some of my opinions with Agata Tomažič for her article on the current state of book-selling (article is in Slovene). Here are some of my thoughts:
What happens to books? Nothing. Books are doing better than ever. They are finally getting rid of all the unnecessary shit that became “books” during the times when printed books were the industrial standard for a long form narrative.
What happens to the book-business? It’s over. Amazon and the Pirate Bay dismantled it. Very few booksellers will survive. Internet towards copyright industry is like if someone pulled out the plug from the bathtub.
The good news is that the water in the bath was already lukewarm before Amazon and the Pirate Bay. During the eighties the fast growing English language book-business entered some kind of a Rococo phase. Publishing became a corporate industry.
The Pirate Bay is, in my opinion, that progressive, left wing agent of change that might force us to redefine our copyright laws. These laws, in their present state, protect corporations and victimize people.
Digital text is different from physical text. Files shared via the Pirate Bay are not books at all. Enabling sharing in this case is enabling a new life for a long form narrative. It’s reincarnating. It is a first step towards something new and different.
It might sound crazy, but in my view the Pirate Bay and the world of physical books are complementary. The Pirate Bay emphasizes community. It puts people before profits. This is why it should be our preferred agent of change.
Behemot proudly presents its new, very cool header banner logotype:
It’s a kind of a long story. And I am terrible at making long stories short. It goes something like:
Selected for an exhibition of best works
Couldn’t make it to the opening party
Routinely googled “Behemot bookshop”
Found Katja’s portfolio on Behance
Got in touch
OK, now seriously:
I guess it’s a serif font. There’s this little triangle, reoccurring and almost invisibly present on each letter. I think it has something to do with stone carved letters and Ancient Rome. So it’s something we are very familiar with. It has been around for a couple thousand years.
Suddenly – like if a spell is cast (in other words: against all logic) – two triangles migrate onto a round, soft sphere of the only round letter. Absurd!
Slightly shifted reality. A perfectly normal letter suddenly resembles a head of a cat, maybe even more. In one word: Behemot.
Very cool. Full respect.
Do not believe the rumors of the obsolescence of your path. If Proust was a neuroscientist, then you have no urgent need of neuroscience, because you have Proust. If Jane Austen was a game theorist, then you have no reason to defect to game theory, because you have Austen. There is no greater bulwark against the twittering acceleration of American consciousness than the encounter with a work of art, and the experience of a text or an image. You are the representatives, the saving remnants, of that encounter and that experience, and of the serious study of that encounter and that experience – which is to say, you are the counterculture. Perhaps culture is now the counterculture.
Leon Wieseltier in New Republic
In fact, the brain essentially regards letters as physical objects because it does not really have another way of understanding them. As Wolf explains in her book Proust and the Squid, we are not born with brain circuits dedicated to reading. After all, we did not invent writing until relatively recently in our evolutionary history, around the fourth millennium B.C. So the human brain improvises a brand-new circuit for reading by weaving together various regions of neural tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language, motor coordination and vision.
This is tremendously interesting. To perceive a physical text like a landscape? I find it almost a finished piece of art. Great article!
Craig Walzer, Atlantis bookshop, Oia, Santorini, Greece:
Both these videos have a soothing, pacifying effect on me. Congratulations, guys.
via Book Patrol
Cory Doctorow in Berlin. Good talk, beautiful jacket.
“At the recent San Francisco Internation Film Festival, Steven Soderbergh gave a keynote about the current state of cinema. It is worth reading if you enjoy movies or are engaged in any sort of creative work.”
“Storytellers of all kind should watch this speech or read the Awards Daily transcript, it examines how audiences are changing in the 21st Century.”