This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
Technology usually plays a central role in narratives of progress. Broadly understood as sedimented human ingenuity, different stories grant technology a greater or lesser role in our eventual emancipation. Some even see technology as alienating or ensnaring us - preventing us from an ill-defined happiness. What is less clear, I think, is where we draw the line designating technology. Take something like the bill of rights. It has certainly progressed since the original ten amendments, but we would not call it technology. Perhaps a better example is something like conceptual art. To what extent does this form of art - more complex and difficult, and yet more popular and diffuse than that which came before it - represent something like the arrival of a new or the improvement of an old technology? Similar questions could be asked of advances in problem solving skills, management techniques, or any number of non-electronic advancements.
There is also the more pragmatic side of the discussion, namely if, specifically network technology, is to link us together, how do we go about making sure that everyone has access to it? Ethan Zuckerman and Omar Wasow will discuss this and other questions at the New Museum tomorrow.