seeing in binary

if:book: 10 types of publication : A sweet article on the “symbiosis of print and digital media.”

One center is this

This trajectory – books that originate in blogs – pulls away from the narrative of ineluctable digitization that preoccupies much of the debate around the relation between print and the internet. Of course, it’s not new (remember Jessica Cutler?). But the BibliOdyssey book narrative is especially delicious (should that be del.icio.us?), as the material in the book consists of print images that were digitized, uploaded into scores of obscure online archives, collected by the mysterious PK on the BibliOdyssey blog and then re-analogized as a book. It’s an anthology of content that has come on a strange journey from print, through digitization and back to print again. So it’s possible to observe these images in multiple cultural contexts and investigate the response of ‘the acculturated reader’ in each. The question is: what does the material gain or lose in which medium?

Just right for starting discussion in both Weblogs and Wikis and E-Rhetoric. Here’s one place the two interests meet – perhaps in a mashup | remediation. The article illustrates a couple of mashups: the Facebook Halloween costume, and the print publication of the blog originating BibliOdyssey. Others are out there: using Scabble tiles in a digital production, f’rinstance. When print fetish gives way to | is mashed with digital, we change the rationale for valuing the work:

Quirkiness; novelty; art-historical interest; the fleeting delight of stumbling upon something visually stunning whilst idly browsing. But the infinite reproducibility of the image means that it’s only of transactional value in a momentary, conversational sense: I send you that link to an amusing engraving, and our relationship is strengthened if you grasp why I sent that particular one and respond in kind.

The overall value of the blog, then, is in its function as dense repository of links that can be used thus. So what is the value of the images again once re-analogized? In the case of BibliOdyssey, it’s a beautiful coffee-table book, delightful in itself and that archly foregrounds its status as hip-to-the-internets.

Blog-as-repository is not brilliantly new (R. Blood discusses it, and I can hear you say “value added,” “Richard Lanham,” and “Give back to the net”). But “10 types of publication” places the digital close enough to the analog to see the analogue. To see in binary.