Web Culture – 1

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The conference “Web Culture: New Modes of Knowledge, New Sociabilities” was held yesterday (10th February) at l’Institution des Chartreux in Lyon. Hosted by Sylvain Bourmeau (journalist for Mediapart), the speakers were Dominique Cardon (sociologist, researcher), Antonio A. Casili (sociologist, researcher) and Virginia Heffernan (journalist, New York Times Magazine), and talked about how internet changed our access to knowledge, art and the others.
The first speaker, Dominique Cardon, focused on the impact of web on culture and non-professional content production.

Before internet the amateur was a lover who was living for his passion but didn’t do it for a living, and belonged to a little part of the population (5 to 8 % according to the survey of cultural practices of French people). Nowdays there is an explosion of the non-professional content production (30% publish content online). Photography is one of the best example : just look at flickr to see the size of the trend (the 5,000,000,000th photo has been published on September the 19th). We read, we write, we publish photos, sounds, videos, we comment, we react constantly.

The amateur was critized for being to personal, for not doing the separation between himself and his work. But with the web this point is becoming the main part of the amateur expression : this hazy expressiveness is done by self/one’s identity production and self/one’s tastes exposition. We show ourselves, we share our tastes and associate them with the tastes of the people of our network.
We promote our work and ourselves, the content production has now an identity aspect. There is a continuity between the work and the person, continuity but not confusion, we show ourselves but we are fully aware of the public so we choose what we show (and this is a form of distance).

Faced with this huge, fantastic and disturbing content, the professional workers must wonder how to be different, how to be seen and recognized for their art and work. An interesting point of view by Anne-Laure Jacquart (photograph) : here (in french).

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