n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..

Preaching to the Converted: Questions on the Role of Authorship and Readership

As with any new platform for communication, there is the need to ask questions on the role of control, distribution, and reception. This means asking the simple, but important questions of: 'Who are we writing for?'; 'What are the responsibilities of authorship?'; 'Are we just preaching to the converted?'; and '[Well then,] What about the readership?' I had hoped to publish an initial set of paragraphs, aimed at introducing a more profound discussion. I just spend 2hours writing and fine-tuning my initial thoughts, but unfortunately they got lost in cyberspace (due to pressing the wrong button). I am hoping to re-create some of my initial thoughts in the weeks to come. In the meantime, I don't want the forum to be postponed by this loss. Therefore, I would like to use this opportunity to post this blog, with a short (second-hand) introduction; hoping that it be able to spark a discussion. More n.e.w.s. to come...



I am glad that a discussion regarding "control, distribution and reception" has been raised. However, I wouldn't be so quick to translate it into a division of cognitive labour between "authorship" and "readership," which seems in many ways to reproduce the production/reception binary, of which the artworld and other expert-culture enclaves are so fond because it allows them to posture valiantly in counter-distinction to those whom they consider consumers. Before we authors set ourselves apart from our readers, we might ask what such a division of labour offers and what its conceptual costs are. One myopia-engendering aspect is that it tends to attribute expert status to those who write (who know) and client status to those who read (who don't know yet). But what if we challenge the whole expert paradigm? A platform such as n.e.w.s. seems an appropriate place to test out a more inclusive and more extensive category of subjecthood -- what I refer to as "usership." I will flesh out what I understand by this in a subsequent posting, but it comprises all those who have a living interest in such things existing and whose knowledge comes not from some form of expertise or counterexpertise but from use. It replaces expert-assigned value by use value.